This past weekend I helped run a local geek convention, the IGD Expo. The Independent Game Developers Expo is a convention focusing on local developers showcasing their games. The expo was held in the West Monroe Convention Center, in northwest Louisiana. It was our first convention that my friends and I have ever put on. Although there were some things we need to improve on, the convention was a success. I had a ton of fun talking to vendors and developers. One of these developers was Warped Core Studio, creator of Aqua Lungers. Aqua Lungers is a straightforward, yet intense couch co-op game, that really took me by surprise while at the convention.
The premise of Aqua Lungers is simple: gather as much gold as you can, prevent the opposing players from stealing your hard-earned loot and fill up your chest. But while you dive into the deep, enemy players can sometimes be the least of your concerns. You need to watch out for the several different types of monsters trying to eat you. Your heart will race as you avoid schools of deadly fish, giant monsters and other players as you try to bank as much gold as you can to win. And controlling your character is everything.
During my sessions with the game throughout the convention, I noticed that the controls and movement were very well done. I never felt like the game killed me, but that I had made a mistake that led to my demise. Everything felt very responsive in terms of controlling your character while you searched for gold. Your main controls consist of a jump, that also lets you propel forward underwater, an attack button, and a charged attack. The charged attack can be very useful to either get away quickly or land a devastating blow to an opposing player. The weird thing about the charge attack is that the game doesn’t tell you it exists, the developer had to show me. Considering how important this ability is, it should definitely be in some kind of tutorial.
After you get comfortable with the controls, it doesn’t take long to start really enjoying the game. Playing against three other players (totaling four players per game) can get pretty wild. I found myself in a panic most of the time trying to avoid players, and monsters all while trying to collect as much gold as I could. You will die a lot in Aqua Lungers, but you can always catch back up. It is a great feeling to exact revenge on an opposing player after they’ve killed you and stolen your loot.
From what I experienced there are quite a few maps with different layouts and environments. Some settings have ice which causes you to slip and slide, making banking your gold a bit more difficult. Another area may have molten hot lava that kills you instantly if you step in it. Some maps are set up for more of a PvP feel, to encourage players to go after one another.
There are also several different types of monsters you encounter throughout the game as you unlock different levels. The cool thing about the monsters is that once you unlock a monster you can choose to play against that monster on any map. All of this variety is certainly adds some flavor to the game to keep it from getting too stale.
Aqua Lungers has a simple concept and really gets it right in terms of mechanics and controls. It isn’t a game that will take the gaming world by storm but is definitely a game that will provide you with hours of fun. Especially if you are looking for a couch co-op game to get into. You can play the game solo against the monsters, but I do think Aqua Lungers could benefit from online play. This could pave the way for tournaments and what not to really give the game some longevity. Aqua Lungers is on steam early access right now.