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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Clockwork Aquario review: 30-year-old lost arcade game finally gets to shine

This side-scrolling platformer is a lost game from 30 years ago.

The colourful arcade title was never released back around 1992 despite being made and is now finally getting its day in the sun thanks to developer Inin Games.

They have lovingly given the original studio Westone title some airtime and a spruce up on the Nintendo Switch and PS4 consoles.

And the minute you boot it up you get that nostalgic Sonic The Hedgehog vibe straight out of the Megadrive’s heyday.

The game is a simple but tough 8Bit side-scroller featuring three selectable characters – Huck Londo, Elle Moon, or the giant robot Gush – in colour-filled levels.



The levels are full of vibrant colours

The levels are full of vibrant colours

You’re instantly immersed in the 2D action as you face a host of baddies.

There’s no hand holding softly-softly approach like in modern video games, this is ‘press play and battle’ as your hero jumps around the screen bopping baddies on the head or punching them in the face.

The graphics are, as you’d expect, very blocky by primary colour-driven but there’s a real cuteness to the character and level design giving it a Wonderboy feel.

Large character sprites, beautiful animations, vibrant colours – it’s exactly the button-bashing game you can picture yourself playing in an arcade a generation back.

And the intuitive gameplay is equally as simple – jump, punch, move left to right.

But it all melds well together and when you get to a big boss battle, which is often enough to entice you back to the game, it all gets a bit Cuphead, frantic and deadly.



The game has a lovely characterisation and cute feel

The game has a lovely characterisation and cute feel

The visual bombardment is complemented by an amazing lively and upbeat digital soundtrack by Westone legend Shinichi Sakamoto.

Clockwork Aquario never got to shine when the 3D fighting games took over in the early 90s.

But now, with the boom in interest in classic games really taking off, it will finally find its own niche audience.

Is it an amazing game changer for today’s consoles?

No, of course not.

Is it a fun classic side-scroller that’s worth £17 of your money?

Yes, if you like or liked these games and want something both fresh and classic all in one joyous colour bundle.

VERDICT 3/5

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Linda Davis
Interested in history.

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