A hundred fish and other aquatic life-forms sit patiently in a bubble at the
top of the screen with lots of water. At the bottom await giant carnivorous fish
hungry for a free meal, with only a small opening of safe water. And between the
top and bottom are various configurations of ground and other perils waiting to
impede your progress. Your goal in Aqua Panic is to blast holes, create walls,
and eliminate threats to allow your bag of marine critters to flow into the safe
water. This is essentially a puzzle game where you can add and/or remove
The key is that the water inside the bubble of fish is what will carry them
to the ocean below the lubrication if you will. There is only so much water
and its not hard to pool your aquatic friends at a dead-end. Awkwardly, youll
have to press the fast-forward button or wait as everything drains to safety
once youve made your path.
It sounds simple enough, and it probably could have been, but the control
scheme sinks this games attempt to be addictive. You have to steer up and down
the screen using two fingers, double-tap to use your items, touch your items in
the corner to switch, the start button is in the opposite corner, and you have
to execute all of this or the fast-flowing critters will die if you dont act
fast enough. The tip to follow is that you would need to sacrifice item
placement accuracy in order to allow yourself ample time to work down the trail
you are making. Worst of all, the menu navigation is a pain - I managed to
un-intentionally delete my saved game (only four levels in thankfully).
The controls are the only thing holding this game back from being something
better. As a puzzle game it has solutions and options, and as the player you
will be eager to solve each level and get the most out that you can; such as the
coins and getting all fish to safety. But where a good iPhone game has you point
and push without a ton of effort, this game stresses you to juggle the controls
and items on top of solving the puzzles. And working with water, there is a bit
of a grey area as to the exact flow and nature of your work as in what you
expect to happen may not happen which doesnt at all help cement this games
efforts of having rock-solid gameplay.
This game is a huge download. That is due to the graphics being very sleek,
the amount of levels to play, and at least the two intro videos. It is
impressive that blasting a hole under a huge pool of water will cause a bigger
splash below, attributing to the good physics of the game. Curious there is no
running soundtrack it makes the game seem a little hollow and lonely.
In the end, Aqua Panic was an ill-fated attempt to do something new that
didnt quite hit its intended notes. It may have been an ambitious project that
was rushed, and even if the controls were fleshed out, the appearance and
atmosphere of the game seems off-key. This game is a decent catch, but there are
bigger and better fish in the sea.
Final Rating: 76%