Aquaria is the best-looking two-dimensional game ever made. It uses four different layers of depth to make it seem three-dimensional, it has dozens of beautiful particle effects, and it has a large variety of interactive wildlife. The animation is also quite topnotch. You won't find a single jarring effect or animation anywhere.
One of the most beautiful areas you'll find will be in the Veil, one of the later zones of the game. The sunlight effects, above-ground wildlife, swarms of smaller fish, and large air bubbles are placed perfectly to simulate a functioning ecosystem. It's gorgeous from one side to the other and is a masterpiece of visual design.
Aquaria's sounds aren't that far behind. Each effect works beautifully with the setting and clearly communicates its purpose. If you wanted, you could figure out what's going on in any area of the game with your eyes closed. Incidentally, this does produce a challenge for the daring, as there is one area of the game where you can't see anything at all before a certain point. It's quite fun to go in there and try to figure out where to go by the grunts from your character and the sounds of the nearby wildlife.
The music is even better. Each major zone and character has its own theme song, and they're all beautiful. You might even find yourself listening to a new song instead of playing the game at times. The music fits the different areas quite well and is never jarring.
With all of that, is Aquaria worth your hard-earned money? As a piece of art, yes. As an entertaining game, yes. As a lengthy trek that will keep you entertained for weeks, not necessarily. It is actually quite short and can be finished in around ten hours if you don't take the time to explore every nook and cranny. It also is priced higher for the Macintosh version than for the PC version, which is quite a pain. However, if you want the best ten hours (twenty for the completist) of entertainment you've had since World of Goo, Aquaria is definitely worth the $30.
Pros• Easy to learn
• Beautiful sounds, music, and graphics
• Extremely entertaining
Cons• A little short
• Cheaper for PCs