When I was 6, my parents bought me a Super Nintendo. I didn’t know much about video games back then, but I knew that after Nintendo’s Game Boy I wanted the SNES. Sure enough, I got a European SNES for my birthday with some games to go with it, including Stunt Race FX and Super Metroid. Stunt Race FX eventually got reconsidered as a “gem” from the SNES era years later, but I remember I didn’t like it much back then. I did love Super Metroid, and even if the challenge was a little too hard for a six year old kid, I got away convinced that games like Super Metroid were the ones I liked. In the years that followed, I played Super Metroid on an emulator (somehow, I lost my original SNES cables) with a much better understanding of its plot, and all the Metroids that were released on the Game Boy Advance (Fusion and Zero) Game Cube and Wii (the Prime series). I even went through that pain that was Metroid Prime Hunters for the original DS. I loved Metroid.
At the same time, I tried to explore other offerings from the genre that Metroid and Castlevania nurtured. That meant going through Symphony Of The Night on the PSX, and other less inspired titles for Nintendo’s GBA. But I loved the so-called “Metroidvania” games — characterized by large maps with areas that you have to explore and unlock through upgrades to your main character, 2D side-scrolling, crazy hard boss fights and generally decent plots — so I kept playing.
As I grew up and got a job, I found to have less time for gaming. I bought a Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 but never really got to fully enjoy them. In fact, I’ve only recently started to get back into portable gaming thanks to iOS devices and a Nintendo 3DS, which I acquired last week (but more on this in another story). So it was with a mix of curiosity, excitement and, after years of non-playing, apprehension that I approached Aquaria for iPad, a porting of a popular, award-winning PC game. Would a Metroidvania game for iOS still hold up to my old expectations and renewed interest for multi-touch based adventures and puzzles? (more…)