AQUITE is an underwater block-matching game and – as you can probably guess – the object of the game is to match three or more blocks of the same colour. In AQUITE you have three columns of blocks going through both screens, as well as two (or four) blocks to the side. You push these blocks into the main columns which in turn will push out two/four blocks out onto the other side. Controls are simple: D-pad to move up/down, A button to push the blocks in place and the R button to swap the colours round.
As you collect points from matching colours more float up from below and the little diver dives down until he reaches the bottom. In ‘Endless’ mode this will simply start the next level (without stopping the gameplay, like in most puzzle games) however in ‘Interval’ mode it will trigger an extra phase where you have to make a certain shape to complete that level. There are 10 levels in ‘Interval’ mode and the game keeps a record of the best time and combo chain for each block type (1×2, 2×1 and 2×2).
You also have a “timer” of sorts to contend with. A band of blackness (signifying a lack of oxygen) will slowly fall down the screen and obscure the blocks (if you’re desperate you can still mash away at the hidden blocks and hope for the best). Once this reaches the bottom – which can be prevented through getting points that will restore some oxygen – then it is game over.
There are two special blocks: a “null” block that can’t be matched but will change to a colour if you match adjacent blocks and an “item” block which will restore all oxygen if you match three of them, although you have to wait until they turn to their flashing square state to use them. These can also be seen through the darkness so you can save them until last minute.
Each button press and combo made makes a sound, creating a musical experience. It’s cool at first but when using it on the default settings it does drown out the very pleasant background music – I would recommend turning down the sound effects to hear more of the lovely music. The graphics are also simple, yet pleasing, creating a dreamy – yet frantic – experience. To compliment this is the nice – yet pointless – aquarium mode which lets you look at some nice artistic fish.
AQUITE is reminiscent of the underwater music game Electroplankton and has some kind of surreal feeling about it. Underneath this is a solid, though not ground-breaking, puzzle game. It won’t last for ages but it is aquite nice experience while it lasts.