Clockwork Aquarioby Mikhail Dec 15, 2021 | 1 Votes | 71 Played | 0 Reviews 10 rate Clockwork Aquario is an unfinished retro platformer completed by Strictly Limited Games with the help of the original developers. Step into a vibrant fantasy world in conflict where three characters attempt to take out Dr. Hangyo, who has ambitions to take over the world. Be treated to outstanding art and the ability to play with a friend! Play Now Similar Games Played
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There were many retro platformers in the past, but the games that stood out the most were, of course, the Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and Kirby. These are timeless classics, and their popularity never waned, considering they’re still Nintendo’s core franchises. However, the SNES wasn’t the only console back then; SEGA was in the market with their Mega Drive and arcade system game boards.
Clockwork Aquario would have been fondly remembered as a timeless platforming classic if the original release on the SEGA System 18 had pushed through. If we had played it back in the day, it would have been up there on the pedestal alongside the abovementioned classics. Unfortunately, the platformer was canceled due to poor response and the rising popularity of fighting and 3D games. However, thanks to Strictly Limited Games and the original developers at the now-defunct Westone studio, the game earned a new lease on life and is now available on the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch.
In a nutshell, this now-finished platformer is similar to its peers of yore. You’ll go through multiple stages, fighting the minions of a supervillain bent on taking over the world. Most of the game’s charm lies in its vibrant pixel art graphics and gameplay, which was ahead of its time.
So, should you add Clockwork Aquario to your list, whether or not you’re a retro gamer or otherwise? Before you decide, let’s check out what it has to offer:
Clockwork Aquario’s story doesn’t take the front seat. There are no cutscenes or anything similar. Nevertheless, its tale centers around the three playable characters: Huck Londo, Elle Moon, and the giant robot Gush. They’re teaming up to fight against the robotic forces of Dr. Hangyo, an evil fish-like scientist with ambitions to conquer the world.
Clockwork Aquario’s gameplay is a standard retro side-scrolling platformer geared towards players in arcades. You’ll move across levels left-to-right, dealing with countless enemies along the way. To defeat them, you can jump, slap, headbutt, or throw objects. All the adversaries are aquarium-themed, and they range from giant, fish-like robots to clams that shoot fireballs. The characters are built differently, but there’s little difference apart from their respective sizes and hitboxes.
The game does not present a lot of creative platforming options, although there are countless obstacles along the way, like fish that suddenly dart towards you like rockets and clouds that let you bounce like you’re on a trampoline. The game also focuses on making you scramble for points, and you need to obtain as much as you can. You can get this done by destroying the balloons scattered across various levels, beating enemies, and gathering dropped gems. Earning a certain number of points will also net you an extra life, which is necessary given that two hits will kill off a character.
Before you can enter the game’s vibrant levels, there are several game modes to choose from, which are Easy, Normal, and Hard. The main difference among the three is the number of credits or retries; they have three, five, and nine, respectively. This aspect gives an arcade feel, accurate considering the game looks like something you’d play in your friendly neighborhood game corner.
The boss fights in Clockwork Aquario are a lot of fun, thanks to the variety of challenges they hand out. They’re not that difficult, but they can make you think. For example, one of the bosses requires you to throw objects at them to take out their shields, leaving them invulnerable to other projectiles and slaps. However, due to the constrained nature of the levels, you’ll almost always get hit and/or lose a life or two. In this case, one of the best opportunities to take out a boss is to slap them as many as you can during your invulnerable phase, which happens when your character respawns.
Clockwork Aquario is solely a single-player game with almost no online functions. However, one of the best parts of this game is that you can play with a friend or loved one via couch co-op. This means you can enter the colorful pixel art world together and even go as far as finishing the game.
Presentation is where Clockwork Aquario excels. The overall art style stands out, and if you see this game in a long line of arcade machines, it is the one that will catch your eye. To add to this, the original score by Shinichi Sakamoto is truly fitting for the era the game was supposed to be released. The game also runs fairly well on a base PlayStation 4 with zero framerate drops and other visual issues.
Overall, Clockwork Aquario would have easily become an arcade and platforming legend if released back in the day. Its visuals are nothing short of outstanding, while its overall gameplay (especially the boss fights), presents concepts well ahead of its time. In any case, it can be considered a lost classic, and we recommend adding it to your gaming library.