Of all the Japanese indie games that could have been localized, I will never understand what drove Playism to choose the original Neo Aquarium: King of Crustaceans. I will, however, drop to my knees and praise them as new gods of madness – appropriately usurping Cthulhu from his fishy domain – as last year they introduced me to this completely bonkers franchise by tiny indie studio Nussoft. I will never look at a seafood buffet the same way again.
Gone is the wobbly crab-walking, and in is… jet-powered dogfighting underwater, with sardines, armed with lasers?
Normally, an announcement of a sequel would be enough, but here we really had to establish what Neo Aquarium is. In short, it’s a third-person 3D shooter/fighting game hybrid about laser-spitting mutant crustaceans vying for supremacy across a network of customizable reality-bending aquariums. It is every bit as mad as it sounds – probably moreso, as each stage in ‘story’ mode is bookended by some of the most incoherent dadaist rambling this side of Dali’s moustache - and a good bit of fun, too.
Darling It’s Better, Down Where It’s Wetter
So, it comes as a great surprise to any sane human being that there’s a sequel in the works. It was first unveiled recently at Japanese indie comics/gaming event Comiket, but is available for you to try out now in the comfort of your browser window, as the current demo runs in Unity.
I’ll just leave this here. Enjoy.
So, what we’ve got so far is an early Alpha build of the game (V 0.01, to be precise), but it’s already apparent that this is a very different beast from the gamepad-centric original. Gone are the crustaceans, and in are the fish. Gone is the wobbly crab-walking, and in is… jet-powered dogfighting underwater, with sardines, armed with lasers? Well, there’s something you don’t see every day, at least while sober. There also seems to be fully deformable terrain, which is always nice to see. Right now it’s still barely more than a concept piece, but oh, what a concept it is. I’ll be following this one like some kind of freakish aquatic sardine-seeking hawk and hoping against hope that Playism choose to localize it once it’s complete.
As an interesting aside, the upcoming sequel is coming to both Windows PCs and Android devices. Strange, but I don’t think anything about this series is less than mad. Until such time as this is released commercially, you might want to check out the original Neo Aquarium, which is beautifully insane (you can play as a swarm of intelligence-sharing barnacles) and only a handful of your earth-dollars over at the Playism store page.