Welcome to our ool. Notice there is no "p" in it.
Some games make you laugh, some games make you cry, and other games just confuse the hell out of you. If it's the last category you're looking for, I proudly present a wonderful (I wish there was a better way to convey sarcasm in the written language) little game called Aqua Aqua. The name's so confusing, you have to say it twice just to understand what's going on.
Okay, so the first thing you need to know is that it's a 3D-puzzle game similar to Wetrix. In fact, it's largely the same game. Simple enough, right?
The next thing you should know is that there's a story. Why is there a story to a puzzle game, you ask? Dear reader, I have absolutely no idea. In an attempt to keep the confusion to a minimum, I'll just give the abbreviated rundown of the plot. Water fairies vs. evil monsters. The end. Any more information than that and I'm sure I would have lost you all.
Now since we all love the water fairies and hate the evil monsters (because fairies = good, monsters = bad), our mission is to save the little patch of Earth the fairies call home. To do that, players must build up the earth on the little fairies' land, being ever so careful not to let any of the rain spill over the side.
Like many puzzlers, objects fall from the sky and players just have to deal with it. In Aqua Aqua, all kinds of things drop out of the sky. Water pieces need to be dropped in valleys and fireballs used to evaporate the lakes provide points. Ice cubes freeze the water and bombs just blow stuff up. The monsters also jump in once in awhile to mess things up. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?
According to the manual, "Uppers raise the land and form hills and mountains...downers can be used to lower hills and mountains." Uppers and downers. I think this adequately proves that whomever designed this game did so whilst wrapping their lips around a large pipe and inhaling deeply.
The game has three modes of play and some training levels to start you off. Initially, you'll only be able to play the Quick mode (basic game), but once all of the training exercises are complete, Story and Versus will be unlocked.
Like any other red-blooded gamer, you'll start off with the training. Things are very easy going and the teacher fairy tells you exactly what to do. While the training is very cut and dried, the control is definitely the opposite. Since any gaps you leave on the map will result in lost water, pinpoint placing of your objects is critical. The control is very loose, making it difficult to put pieces exactly where you want them.
However, even with this problem, you won't have too much to worry about. I know I didn't. Apparently I didn't have much trouble at all. At least that's the idea I got when the " I just passed the game" ending credits rolled after a mere hour or so. Four levels and it's over. Five, if you pass these levels with a Master rank. Whoo hoo. Great for those occasions when you're waiting for your TV dinner to get out of the microwave.
The other strange thing about the game is the condition for victory. To complete a stage, players must survive for a certain amount of time (which isn't shown onscreen) and make it through three monster attacks. This is especially strange if you've never looked at the manual and wonder how the heck you just passed that level.
The only things that aren't very confusing are the graphics and sound. Aqua Aqua shows off clean and colorful visuals along with decent sound. Very solid all around.
Like all other puzzle games, Aqua Aqua is best when played with a friend. A good multiplayer game beats the bizarre Story mode hands down. It just makes much more sense.
It all comes down to how bad you want a puzzle game. Being only the second puzzler for the Playstation 2, I'd choose this one over Fantavision. Unfortunately, that's not saying much. If you really want a challenge, do yourself a favor and buy a Rubik's Cube.