AquaPazza [Aquaplus Dream Match] is a unique fighting game from Atlus/Aquaplus, produced by Aquaplus and published by Index Digital Media. It is based on a title originally released in Japan only in 2011, and is a new release to the Western World. The game stars anime characters, has all Japanese dialogue and has a unique combo system. Examu, the creators of the acclaimed Arcana Heart series have combined their fighting game expertise with AquaPlus and have added all the characters from the latter’s anime series plus some other franchises. It’s an epileptic mix of scantily-clad young girls, oriental males and all things weird and wonderful, which gives the player a rather intriguing and exciting fighting experience.
AquaPazza is a standard 2D fighting game, and takes place on a 2D scrolling landscape in the fashion of games such as Guilty Gear and the original Street Fighter games. The player chooses from one of the initial 13 characters (although this opens up to 26 characters as the game progresses), then they choose a partner whom they wish to fight with, which then leads into the options screen where the player can choose the color schemes and Mode Select which can be either Normal or Easy.
Once chosen, the game switches to some anime screens where the characters tell the story. Although the characters are not animated, their facial expressions and positions can change with each press of a button as the story unfolds. And it’s a bizarre story that only the Japanese could come up with involving love potions, the need to attract men and pretty much any other zany idea that you can think of. It has your characters battling through screens against CPU opponents in an attempt to wake them from their dreams so that they can go back to reality. It’s all very confusing, and while amusing, does not thankfully interfere with the game-play itself.
Once into the game, it’s great to see that along with some great visuals, the button and game mechanics of AquaPazza are done very well so that even a novice gamer can pick up the game and play very easily. As with all fighting games, moves are carried out by pressing buttons, or multiple buttons, creating combinations of buttons and moving the thumbstick in various directions to move around the screen.
Buttons on AquaPazza are simple to use, there’s light, medium and heavy attacks, along with a button for calling your partner. The game difficulty is set to a medium setting by default, and this seems to be balanced perfectly for when you first pick-up and play the game. The shoulder buttons are used for combination modes, and as in all these games, you can customize your buttons to do as you wish.
The CPU opponents’ AI is very good, and for the most part they will not allow you to button-mash against them. Sometimes, the CPU will throw moves at you that you will not have seen before, and because of this, it makes the player want to learn combinations that they never thought existed. Thankfully, there are combination move screens where players can study the combinations, and learning these moves really does pay off.
There are also a number of game modes available from Story, Another Story, Versus, Training and more. As with all fighting games, the player can fight against human opponents which adds a whole new side to the game, as human opponents are way different to play than computer opponents.
The game plays through eight levels, each with a unique backdrop representing different places and times. Through these levels you’ll be fighting one (or two) of the 26 characters on offer, and each has their own skill-set. There is a great variety of characters and fighting each one will mean you need to learn different techniques for each character. It’s this combination of characters and moves that makes AquaPazza an enjoyable and fun game to play for all everyone.
AquaPazza is a good looking game. The characters and backdrops are all based on anime characters from various worlds owned by the developers, and each one is beautifully crafted with an amazing attention to detail. Character models are well designed and look as they would on any anime or manga, they are also well animated, and everything about the characters looks and acts the way you would expect. The backdrops on the game are just as well designed as the characters, and once the player takes their eyes off the action and actually looks at the backdrops, they can see that not only are they beautifully drawn and designed, but there can sometimes be a lot of quirky things happening that will make them chuckle because they are genuinely funny. AquaPazza is beautiful to watch when it’s in action, colors are vibrant, backdrops and characters are stunning to look at and the entire look of the game flows throughout.
From the outset, it’s obvious that this game was originally an arcade game. It’s loud and screams “look at me” as themes blaze and sound effects make various noises, and that’s not even when the game is playing but when the game is in attract mode! During play, and on option menus the game has some stunning music, the tunes are well thought out and are enjoyable to listen to. The speech in the game is entirely in Japanese, and suits the Anime characters of the game perfectly. Of course, there’s plenty of subtitles for you to read, and they are entertaining in conjunction with speech.
AquaPazza is a great fighting game that pulls out all the stops to make itself look like it’s not a fighting game! From all the cutscenes there’s really no way of realizing that this is one amazing fighting game that can be played by hardcore and novice fighting fans alike. Don’t let the cute anime visuals fool you, there is plenty of depth in AquaPazza, and the game offers plenty to unlock. In addition to unlocking a further 13 characters, the player can unlock movies, art and other goodies from within the game.
AquaPazza is a brilliant game, one which although looks like it will only appeal to youngsters, has plenty to offer everyone. Beautiful game design, graphics and characters, AquaPazza is what every downloadable title should be like.