You know what it feels like to find an old, yellowed sci-fi novel from the 70s in a second-hand bookstore, with some shiny planet on the cover along with a strange creature, alien? If you love that vibe, you might be interested in climbing aboard Aquamarine’s spherical, seafaring hull to explore its mysterious, dream-like planet.
Aquamarine is a beautiful turn-based adventure that follows a woman astronaut who crashes into an underwater world. She must survive by researching and coexisting with the local ecosystem, and eventually find her way home. It’s slow-paced; everything you do is turn-based, with movements consuming your survival party fuel and your own energy as you search for more resources and your crashed ship. In between, you’ll grow your own food and upgrade your party with mods that allow you to explore deeper and deeper. Meanwhile, Aquamarine’s ocean ecosystems will react in both subtle and fine ways to your choices, changing the environment as you live in them.
Aquamarine’s art style and sound look like they’ve been pulled from a comic book or sci-fi cartoon… maybe because that’s exactly what inspired creator Patric Fallon when he form it for the first time. In 2017, Fallon is an unemployed music journalist teaching himself hobby game making using Unity video tutorials and lots of practice on small projects. During that time, he and his then-partner became enamored with the work French cartoonist Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud – made Fallon realize that there aren’t many or any games like Moebius’ work (Sable has yet to be announced, Fallon notes).
So they started making one with Aquamarine. Of course, Moebius wasn’t the only source of inspiration. Fallon tells me he’s also been inspired by the whole ’70s and ’80s sci-fi vibe: French filmmaker René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet, Studio Ghibli’s original films like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and synth musicians like Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. You know, the whole used book vibe I mentioned before.
“It’s really the entire paperback package of that sci-fi novel and the dusty vinyl of the first synth music and the comics,” Fallon asserts.
His partner eventually left the project, making Fallon the only full-time member of the Moentic studio, although he worked with a number of contractors including composer Thomas Hoey on the show. past few years. Aquamarine ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter in 2018, the failure of which Fallon says left him with mixed emotions. He’s happy that Aquamarine is in such an early state that when Kickstarter happens, he can use the extra time and space to reflect, complement, and improve it dramatically.
Aquamarine official screenshots
But Fallon says it’s also a curse.
“Kickstarters, it’s no secret, are super hard to get up and running and I basically did it myself. My partner helped with some of the art, but in terms of management, preparing and promoting it, that’s all me. Letting it fail is really, really hard.”
The Kickstarter failure made Fallon realize he needed to move out of his expensive Brooklyn apartment and back home on the West Coast. While there, he began gardening, an activity that eventually inspired him to add a horticultural feature to Aquamarine.
“This game is about someone who has suffered a loss and who has a big goal to achieve, and who has to grow in different ways to achieve that goal. And that really impressed me. about growing something in the garden… Doing it is really therapeutic and really just a nice change of pace from life in Brooklyn, New York, to having a small backyard garden. my own in the mountains.”
Aside from the garden, another major system that Fallon could succeed at in the extra time is how Aquamarine’s options and ecosystem work. Throughout Aquamarine, you will have to choose how you interact with the creatures and environments you encounter. Would you kill a potentially dangerous creature you’ve never seen before? Do you approach a mysterious cache of resources or leave it alone? Those choices will affect you and the environment in permanent ways because, notably, Aquamarine only has one save file at a time and automatically saves as you continue. So unless you want to completely reboot, there’s no going back or saving scum for “better” results.
And music is also adaptive. It does what you do, with composer Hoey deconstructing his own compositions and rebuilding them to create different versions for different world states, rather than just repeating different tracks for different regions.
“The feel of the game is meant to be cold and slow-paced and not necessarily relaxing, but definitely something that you can sit and think about, and so I wanted to counter that with,” Fallon said. the weight of the choices you make. “And so if you decide to kill a creature for one reason or another, I don’t want it to just be something that happens and then you can go back and undo it. That’s the choice. the choice you’ve made and the effects of that choice will be visible.It doesn’t make any sense to me that you can do it as many times as you like, and you’ll be able to jump back and forth and change the state of all. You are here.”
I’m still slowly going through my own alien adventure in Aquamarine, unsure of what it means. I’m growing a small hydroponic garden and I’ve come across some cute, weird water creatures that don’t seem to do any harm, even though I’m keeping my distance for now. I’m not the best at resource management, but my small team does their best to keep me safe as I continue through the depths in search of my crashed ship. Aquamarine, like the art and the films and novels that inspired it, is doing a wonderful job of enticing me with its beautiful mystery and I can’t wait to go deeper.
Rebekah Valentine is an IGN news reporter. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
https://www.ign.com/articles/aquamarine-mysterious-aquatic-adventure-70s-sci-fi Aquamarine is an underwater mystery adventure for 70s sci-fi lovers