An obvious labour of love that finally provides a full release for one of the best looking 2D arcade games ever made, although it'd be wrong to paint it as a lost classic in terms of gameplay.
Clockwork Aquario is here. 30 years late, but soaked in old-school style. Westone Bit Entertainment’s final release would not win any awards for originality, but offers a short, fun, and attractive journey to the halcyon days of the ’90s arcade renaissance. The package on offer is a little thin, and the price will be a tad high for the average player’s taste, but important work has been done by publishers ININ Games and Strictly Limited — here’s hoping they will be rewarded in kind.
That such a project (so inspired by the love of retro) goes ahead is always a joy. The game itself blames certain imbalances in the difficulty curve and becomes somewhat short, but it is undoubtedly agile, friendly and direct, in the style of those arcades that stole the fourth decades ago, without it "hurting" us to empty the wallet.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Clockwork Aquario is a restorative labour of love 27 years in the making. What’s not to like?
Clockwork Aquario is a miracle of preservation, but that doesn't make it a game for everyone. Arcade fans will welcome it, but others will find it difficult to continue playing after finishing it the first time, and the scoring system isn't particularly creative. In any case, the low price should keep even the merely curious happy.
Review in Italian | Read full review
There isn't much to say about Clockwork Aquario. It's a side scrolling game. It doesn't stand out, looking good and having solid controls doesn't make it a must play. While Clockwork Aquario is a fun game, it's price of admission doesn't make it a must play for anyone other than a diehard 90s arcade fanboy.
Clockwork Aquario is a product of its time. The short game length and high difficulty are similar to its 90s counterparts. Unfortunately, due to this, there aren’t many reasons to revisit the game after playing through the meager number of stages. The score-based gameplay is a fresh twist and makes for an addictive platforming experience. Gaining multipliers and working out routes is fun whether playing on your own or with a partner. Even with its beautiful, chunky pixel art and vivid backgrounds, the game’s shortage of content and high price, make this a forgettable re-emergence rather than a celebrated return.
Clockwork Aquario is an old-school and colorful arcade game which sticks to its original roots. Developed to be a coin consuming experience, its shortness will only be forgiven by those willing to perfect their score. Simple and still quite fun, Clockwork Aquario is more valuable when shared with a friend.
Review in French | Read full review
Clockwork Aquario was made for a very specific crowd of people, by an incredibly passionate team. Obviously a short and simple arcade platformer like this isn't going to be a smash hit today, but there are still plenty of people out there who clamor for old-school '90s arcade bliss. If you're one of those people, then Clockwork Aquario is the game for you. It's short and easy, but fun and beautiful. An arcade classic that was almost lost to time, and I'm so happy that it wasn't.
Clockwork Aquario has been a long time coming, but it was definitely worth the wait. An obvious labour of love, this ill-fated arcade gem has been improbably recovered, restored, and reassembled, and it never feels like anything less than a carefully unearthed treasure that's been polished until it shines. It won't take long to beat - and it shouldn't, because a good 30-year-old arcade platformer is supposed to be short and sweet - but what the game lacks in length it more than makes up for in entertainment and raw creativity, with stages pitting you against everything from mechanical flying fish to a gigantic egg-dropping robo-penguin. It's the sort of game you come back to again and again because you want to rather than have to, and we feel lucky to have it.
On the one hand, I can say Westone's arcade "treasure" was worth the wait when viewed as a piece of gaming history. But, as an ININ Games published release in 2021, not as much. Once the warm fuzzies wear off, you're left with a short game with little replay incentive due to a lack of online leaderboards. Combined with a lack of both standard and extra features, I'd wait for this $19.99 release to get a sizable discount unless you're an arcade fanatic who has someone readily available for two-player co-op.
Clockwork Aquario is a fantastic action-platformer that blends quick-moving playable characters and enemies alongside an inventive attack strategy.
Clockwork Aquario is a very short 2D platformer that may or may not be worth your time. It’s a fascinating play knowing how long it took to release and it looks great but you’ll quickly experience all that it has to offer.
Clockwork Aquario is a great title if you are looking to be transported to the arcade from your house. It's bright, colourful, and has a fun co-op mode so you can share the experience with a friend. If you have a Switch this is a title to check out!
The arcade roots of Clockwork Aquario are proudly on display - for better or worse. While it proves to be a fun side-scrolling romp, it is also far too cheap and short for its own good. This time capsule is still worth a go, but even the staunchest side-scrolling fan should be aware of what they’re getting into.
The five stages have a high score element, but if you're in it to explore the levels, beat the difficulty modes, and romp around it all with a friend, there's still not a lot to do here. I'm happy I can say I played Clockwork Aquario, but outside of supporting game preservation, I can't say it's something you need to drop everything and play. It's cute and fun, but more as a curiosity than a game to keep coming back to.
Was it worth the wait? Absolutely; a restoration project of this magnitude is worthy of note, if nothing else — but when the final game ends up being a lot of charming fun on top of all that, then yes, it most definitely was worth the wait.
There's no denying how wonderful it is that a long-lost arcade gem was completed and released nearly 30 years later and Clockwork Aquario certainly provides enough frantic fun that you'll come back whenever you want a quick fix of over-the-top retro action.
As a game, Clockwork Aquario is a clearly dated product that would have little room in the modern world, now extremely bloated with daily released games, something that couldn't be conceived back in the day. However, it's a valuable historical piece from a time that feels nostalgic, and still inspires people who develop and create games nowadays.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Sadly Clockwork Aquario offers little challenge and can be completed in next to no time at all. Once the game has been beaten for the first time everything is unlocked and the only thing left to do is look at a rather nice gallery or try to beat your own high scores. If there is one element that saves Clockwork from being forgotten for another thirty years, it is it’s co-op mode. While the levels stay the same, save for a few extra baddies, the frantic experience of simultaneously playing with and against Player Two is the genuine highlight of the game.