Aqua, also known as Aqua — Naval Warfare and just Naval Warfare on Steam, is a straightforward twin-stick Shoot 'em Up developed by Games Distillery of Bratislava, Slovakia. It was published by Microsoft for Xbox Live Arcade on May 19, 2010, and later by Just a Game GmbH for Steam on May 25, 2011.
It's an Alternate Universe where much (which is to say, even more) of the world's surface is covered by water. This world is in the throes of an industrial age, though one with more advanced tech and flamboyant aesthetics. Great sea battles between ironclad warships are the order of the day. There are several principal world powers in play, such as the Emperreans, the Gotheans and the Samureans. As the game begins, a war has just concluded between the Emperreans and the Samureans, with the former as the victors and about to throw a celebratory parade.
The player assumes the role of Emperrean steam-cruiser Captain Benjamin Grey, a snarky Officer and a Gentleman. Together with perky Chief Engineer Polly Edison and assorted crew, Grey uses his small, but fast and heavily-armed warship to put the hurt on the bad guys.
In addition to the story-driven campaign, the player can engage in one-shot quick battles or races either alone or with a friend in local co-op.
Aqua - Naval Warfare provides examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: A few of the primary weapons delve into this, such as the Cruiser's "Reflector" Weapon, which fires giant spinning blades that pinball between enemies.
- Attack Drone: In effect. You can visit "Squadshops" to equip yourself with a squad of four small support vessels, with varying abilities. They can given specific orders, such as attacking or defending a mission-critical objective.
- Fighters: General purpose attack ships.
- Siegers: Deal heavy damage to turrets and large, heavy ships, cannot accurately track smaller ones.
- Healers: Repair any friendly ship in range, including themselves. Armed with a small, weak gun for defense.
- Sonar: Can detect incoming enemies, spot submerged submarines, and jam enemy missiles. Armed with the same gun as healers.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Emperrean Ironwalls and Gothean Battleships both have formidable side armor and attacks, but are vulnerable from the front and rear. More then once, you must escort the former.
- Booby Trap: A few levels have you navigate narrow canals filled with obstacles, such as retractable Spikes of Doom, shifting walls of razor blades, and fields of sea mines.
- Bottomless Magazines: On your primary weapons.
- Damsel in Distress: Edison, very briefly.
- Deflector Shields: The Gothean "Invader" cruiser can put up a shield that absorbs your attacks to heal itself, while the "Guard Invader" has one that reflects shots back at you.
- Do Not Run with a Gun: You can fire continuously while moving, but doing so drastically slows your ship, so know when to do so and when to nimbly evade incoming fire.
- Character Customization: Visiting a "Warshop" allows you to switch ships, and configure weapons and upgrade load-outs. Upgrades include things like increased fire rate or armor, and effects of like upgrades stack.
- Collection Sidequest: Most levels have some hidden collectibles to find in the form of shiny golden helm wheels.
- Crate Expectations: Often contain Power Ups.
- The Dragon: Gothea's Vanderbolt.
- Elite Mooks: Red trim on a Gothean ship denotes a more powerful variant of that ship type.
- Escort Mission: Several times throughout the campaign, you must escort Emperrean Ironwalls or defenseless cargo ships. There's enough of them that it's a common complaint about the game.
- Exploding Barrels: Occasionally found in the canals, where they can be shot to destroy barriers.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Emperrean is obviously Victorian England, while Gothea is Tsarist Russia.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Your ship can equip a flamethrower. This is also the schtick of the Gothean "Dragon" Cruiser. When destroyed, they leave a patch of corrosive fuel on the water which will damage your ship if touched.
- Gatling Good: The three controllable ships each have access to a Gatling gun as a primary weapon.
- Gentleman Adventurer: Grey has shades of this, as does his old friend Goodfellow.
- General Ripper: Emperrea's Admiral Alderdice appears to be this, as he does not realize the real threat when he orders the fleet into action against Gothea. He turns out to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. Goodfellow let him on why Grey went rogue, and in response, he brings the whole damn Emperrean fleet in for a Big Damn Heroes moment, holding off the Gothean Fleet while Grey fights Cerbera.
- Healing Factor: Gothean "Guard Chariots" regenerate their health.
- In the Back: Gothean "Vanquisher" Cruisers have a nasty cannon that can shred you from the front, so its best to attack them from behind.
- Limit Break: Each controllable ship has a different one, charged up by collecting blue energy orbs from destroyed enemies or crates. The Speedboat zaps enemies with a high-damage Lightning Gun, the Cruiser summons a rocket artillery strike, and the Gunship gets air support from a gyrocopter.
- Mad Scientist: Cerbera, a rare female example. She likes to create Cyborg Sea Monsters.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Gothea's Admiral Borrosilov has hints of this.
- Nice Hat: Goodfellow's safari hat, Borrosilov's ushanka.
- Oblivious to Love: Edison, it seems.
- Oil Slick: Gothean "Oiler Hulks" can create these, which severely slow your ship if passed through.
- One-Hit Polykill: The Gunship's "Dominator" cannon fires shells that can penetrate through multiple foes.
- The Paralyzer: As opposed to standard explosive mines used by the other ships, the Gunship can drop stun mines.
- Pirate: The Corsairs, first fought immediately after the prologue. They appear to be in cahoots with Gothea, as their small, swarming ships appear throughout the game.
- Power-Up: Pickups include health, torpedo and mine ammo, as well as the occasional new weapon or upgrade.
- Recursive Ammo: The Speedboat can use a torpedo that splinters into several smaller ones, spreading out over an area.
- Sea Mine: You can drop these in your wake to deter pursuers or wall off an area, but beware, as smaller enemies can do so as well. Either type homes in on nearby targets. Friendly mines are gray, enemy ones bright yellow. Large fields of them are occasionally encountered as an obstacle.
- Sea Monster: Aquarius Serpents, giant ocean-going worms that can devour ships whole. Keep moving to avoid their attacks. The bosses, Cerbera's Biotica experiments, are also these.
- Steam Punk: Your ship is a steam-powered, triple-paddle-wheel-driven speedboat. Most of the other Emperrean ships also use paddle wheels, while Gothean ships have a piston-wheel setup that makes them look like ocean-going trains.
- Travel Cool
- Was Once a Man: Borrosilov, after Cerbera gets her hands on him.