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Rating: 4.2/5 (121 votes)
Comments (49) | Views (5,516)

Scramble125AquanautMhmmm. Do you smell that? That's a hot new release fresh out of the Nitrome oven. This one smells like adventure, so grab your wetsuit and let's dive to the ocean floor!

Aquanaut is a game of underwater exploration that puts you in the driver's seat of a small submersible pod on a mission to discover hidden treasures. Using your mouse, click and hold to guide the pod around a colorful undersea world. Navigate through dangers of the sea, up and around rocks and structures and, with a steady hand and a little luck, you will find the treasure chest at the end of each level. As an added challenge for additional points, collect coins and gems scattered around the levels to increase your score.

The dangers that stand in your way are the plentiful sea creatures that inhabit the world. Ranging from puffer fish — that rhythmically expand and contract, often blocking your path — to some very smiley starfish, these enemies will damage your pod with every touch. At your disposal is an unlimited stash of depth charges. Press [space] a drop charge that will go off in three seconds or when it comes in contact with an enemy, which ever comes first. Most enemies take multiple hits to destroy, but will drop precious coins and valuable gems. Just be careful not to get in the way of your own charge, as they, too, will damage your pod.

The tide also plays an important part in your adventure. Depending on the stage, the water level will rise and fall in certain areas, occasionally exposing small islands or areas that your pod can roll across, albeit slowly.

Analysis: I love games that involve underwater exploration, and Aquanaut serves up a hearty dose of this type of fun. As usual, Nitrome delivers graphically with stunning pixel art and fantastic water effects. Everything in the game, from the water line as you get near the surface to the coral lining the rock boundaries, all fits very well. The enemies are drawn in a familiar Nitrome style, and yet are fairly widely varied as the game progresses. After a while, though, the levels themselves tend to blend together because there isn't much variation in the level decor.

The gameplay in Aquanaut moves at a comfortable pace, improving on the somewhat sluggish movement from both enemies and player-controlled characters that we've seen from Nitrome in the past. In fact, I often had to slow myself down as I was blasting through the levels and slamming into enemies with little regard for safety. Needless to say, this isn't an effective strategy; around level 6, the game's difficulty ramps up and demands a lot more finesse. With this difficulty comes more frustration, and it begins to seem like three hits isn't quite enough to get through these later levels. Making good use of the depth charges becomes essential if you wish to make it to the high score table. But the reward of just finishing each level was enough for me.

If you've played Nitrome's games before, you will find some familiar elements as well as some welcome additions and improvements. If you've never played a Nitrome game before, Aquanaut is a great place to start.

Play Aquanaut


lol I was already wondering what Nitrome were doing with their time since the last release. Underwater has always been a great theme, and the game plays very smoothly. I don't think I will be able to bear the music for more than seven or eight levels, though. Nevertheless, this game looks (and feels) so inviting that I just might forget that I really have to work all afternoon.


^ Do you think it's possible they don't have control over when they release a game? The copyright on it says last year.

AndrewBagel February 14, 2008 10:16 AM

I liked it. I love the Nitrome style of games, and this didn't disappoint. However, I did find that 3 hits were too few to make it through the later levels.


One of the more 'adventure-ish' games I've seen from Nitrome, its underwater graphics are really what sold it for me though.

Great review!


As soon as I saw the cute faces of pufferfish and starfish, I was happy :)

(With all that time off, there is probably going to be another barrage of games :))


Could the music BE more irritating?

Horrible soundtrack aside, the game looks fun. Unfortunately it runs really really choppy on my machine, and I cannot understand why.


I really like this game, its got that Nitrome charm to it. I do wish that Nitrome started releasing sequels to games like Skywire and Feed Me


I'm not a big fan of Nitrome games, but I like this one. They seem to have fixed the two major problems I've always had with their games: sluggish controls and inaccurate collision detection. Both are spot on this time around.

I'm not very good at it yet, but it is still fun.


Groogokk & baba44713: I liked the music, personally. It reminded me of the music in the older games. In order to understand WHY you thought it was horrible, please post WHAT was wrong with it. In fact, I'm listening to it right now, as sort of background music.

st33d: I wouldn't be surprised if they typed it in by mistake, or copied it from another game released in 2007. I know I'm still writing 2007 on a lot of stuff. :) I may e-mail Nitrome and point it out.

t001: I totally agree. I've been waiting for a Skywire 2 for AGES. I even checked their poll for possible sequels, and it said Skywire was the most popular choice. I'm surprised that they made a Hot Air 2. I don't know about you, but I had a lot of trouble with the first one. The second handles a lot better, and it isn't as easy to pop (I also found that the fan moved your balloon a little slower in Hot Air 2).

PS:It's kind of ironic that it's called Hot Air but your craft goes down if you don't move it. Maybe it should be called Warm Air.

Suho1004: Again, I agree. Some of the games are a little slow moving for me, and like I said before, I didn't like Hot Air 1 because it was so easy for me to pop when I thought I wasn't touching anything. But this is definitely a good game. I can't get past the Temple of Trouble though. Call me impatient.


@ Flyinghigh: I find the music way too obtrusive to be enjoyable for a longer time. Now don't ask me why it is obtrusive for me, I'm no music expert.

Yes, the collision detection and the player control are better than in many Nitrome games. Other typical problems remain. One is the uneven difficulty curve (level six, the aforementioned Temple of Trouble, is difficult, level seven is really easy again etc.) and the lack of health refill items.


And I thought it was just me. Yeah, I'm finding the game to be rather difficult, too. And now that you mention it, health refill items would be very nice.


Well, Nitrome seems to be getting better at making games with a reasonable pace (some of them are best described as SLOW) but there's still a way to go.
More than one soundtrack would have been nice.

Did anyone else think that a better name for level four would have been "star trek"?


How do you get past the pink squid on lv.11 without getting hurt?


@ sijapu17: You can...

go over dry land on the rock above the squid.


Finally! A new game from Nitrome! I was starting to get a bit bored with their winter trio of games. I think Aquanaut is a great game... but there are some areas where it could be improved.

For example, it would be quite nice if it took more hits to destroy your submarine, or you were able to get a power up to restore health.

I also think that the difficulty curve is appalling. It might just be me, but I found it got ridiculously difficult very early on in the game, and I'm now completely stuck on Level 9: Tounge Tied. Help anyone?

I can't get past the starfish with all of the jellyfish in front of it, as i cant destroy the bottom jelly...


...Doesn't matter. I did level 9. I decide to just run through all of the jelly fish.


how do you beat lvl 18? its really hard


Just keep trying... took me at least 30 tries... I was already wondering if there was anybody else playing this game for this long (I'm currently playing lvl 19). Your question is not specific enough to warrant a precise answer; there is one thing that I found out, although I don't know if that will help you:
In the second half of the level, three stars shooting upwards may give you some trouble, but you can

hug the wall on the right side, then go down past the star bullets until you come to a kind of dent in the wall. You can stay there safely and smilingly drop one depth charge after the other, finishing that star shooter.


I'm in level 18 too..
How you can go trough the big star in start of level 18??? How??? It's reaaalllyyy difficult level..:/


Just swim straight through, zilgmii, even if it costs you one life; you can save a life more easily later on. That's the way I completed the level, anyway.


Does anyone know how to defeat the serphant at the end?, it is so difficult, or can anyone give me a strategy to help me beat it!




@ Mike: What is a serphant? A serpent? If it is the boss in the last level, why for Christ's sake didn't you use spoilers???

I am still stuck in lvl 19 and not getting anywhere.


I need help with level 19 on when a squid is blocking a path with spikes on each side and the big starfish with the whirlpool


Phew! Made it through - finally.

Some hints for lvl 19:

Still don't expect it to be easy!

Wait a second before you attack the first squid. If you attack right away, the water level is low and you can hardly pass above it.

When going down in the long spiked chasm, position your cursor on the lower left side of your craft (think "half past five"). Avoid sudden movements.

Don't go left now! I've never actually looked in that direction because I suspect it's just a dangerous detour, but you can finish the level if you just go straight on down to the second squid. If you find it hard to destroy in one go, head back around a corner so the guided missiles hit the wall.

Go on down through the two shooting stars, then up again with the bubbles. Yes, we all guessed it, there are spikes waiting for you up there *yawn*. You can bomb the two stars that shoot upwards if you position yourself carefully. The same goes for the diving fish that comes next: Just leave a depth charge on the ledge of the rock, and let the fish come and "pick it up". >:-)

Then go down, carefully bomb another shooting star.

Next is a whirlpool with a rotating starfish. Let the whirlpool suck you in when the path is clear, then inch your way out to the jellyfish. If you proceed slowly, you can go up all the way on the left side of the path.

Haven't seen any squids in a while, have we? Well, here are two more. Don't fight them, just steer your craft upwards very quickly, pass through between them, drop a depth charge to shake off the missiles, and shoot right out onto dry land on the right-hand side.

The end is near. Don't allow your hand to shake now. You must go down a chasm that is seamed with barnacles. No need to worry: I found that if you go at top speed, they don't even hit you once (but maybe that was just luck, if you can call it luck after 50+ tries).

That's it. There's the chest. I finished that level with no life lost ;)

Hints for the final level:

Hahaha, aw come on, you don't expect me to give you hints on that level if you've come this far!

Or do you?

Well, just stay in the middle of the map.

The serpent (or serphant, as Monsieur liked to call it) only has to paths it can go.

Make sure your bombs are waiting for it there!!!11


how many lives does the serpent have


@LALA: Well, I guess

each segment of it has three lives.


I can not get past the crabs on the dry rocks on level 11. Can someone help me


After helping a poster called LALALAND three times and not even getting a "ty" once, I thought I wouldn't post any help for Aquanatut anymore. On the other hand, your name is not lala so...

...have you tried dropping depth charges in the path of the crab, then rolling away? It takes three bombs to kill a crab.


I actually kind of liked the music that plays while you choose what lvl you want. Now the music that plays during the game is awful after losing repeatedly because of the difficulty of the game. I've now come to asscociate the game backround music with frustration. Right now I'm stuck on lvl 18. So close to the end!


I can't get past the grouping of squids and jellyfish right after the big starfish on lvl 18. I could use some help. Please?


Help on lvl 14 puhleassseee? The one with all the jelly fish? Otherwise I reallly love this game.


Nevermind. I finally got it.


...Could someone please help with level 14? If I die once more, I might have to throw my computer out of my window... and I've only got a Mac Mini, so don't think that won't happen!


A Mac Mini? Interesting. Tell us your address, we'll be standing outside, ready to catch it. ;) If you think lvl 14 is unfair, just wait for 18 and 19... Maybe you should order a new computer today, or chain the old one to your desk.

Nah, we don't really want that to happen, do we. Okay, two hints then:

Bomb whatever you can safely bomb. Especially the moving jellyfish. If you're close to the end and still have all lives left, just swim through.

The green gems show you the way.


Thanks! I'll try those things and see if I can finally get through this level!

gregory March 2, 2008 8:28 AM

wow you all are better then me. I am olny up to level 6


Well, I'm still on the jellyfish level, but the tip about

following the gems

is really helping. Oh well. I'm bound to do it soon... I hope! Thanks again, Groogokk.

Oh yeah, has anyone played Nitrome's latest offering, Go Go UFO, yet? What did you think? I thought it was a bit rubbish, to be honest. Bringing out plentiful amounts of games in a short space of time is all well and good. But sometimes I wish that Nitrome would just stop to breathe, a make a really good game, like Skywire 2 *hint hint!*

Love the site, by the way!


Here is my timeline of Nitrome games: Go Go UFO-Twang: New. Pest Control-Dangle: Recent. Space Hopper-Feed Me: Old. Roly Poly-Hot Air: Ancient. I have played every single one of Nitrome's great games, and finished almost all of them!!!!!!!!

gregory March 8, 2008 6:05 PM

never mind i passed level 6 now i am up to level 14


just completed level 19 - FINALLY!!!

but just as i zoomed to the treasure box, i noticed another root, where does that go???


The last level is so hard and boring!!

it really annoys me when i have completed the game except for the last level. this happened for me also with sky wire and space hopper.

it would be better if the last level for aquanaut was fun and challenging and actually able to complete rather than boring and impossible!!

I hope theres a new game out soon, i am almost running out of them!!

Anonymous :) April 22, 2008 7:28 PM

This has been asked a few times but help on level 18 please! I can't get past the million squids!

Gabriel May 4, 2008 10:28 AM

To groogrok:

Level 19

For the part where there are barnacles in level 19, you can simply drop 2 bombs to kill each of them.

To esther:
Level 19

The other path leads to a few gems and a pearl.

Gabriel May 4, 2008 10:48 AM

I have finally completed the game!!!


I am stuck on Jellyfish Heaven (Level 14)

There is just too many!

Visitor June 22, 2008 8:55 AM

Level 14:

Well, Level 14 may be nerve-racking but it's not as hard as Level 16. Just keep trying. If you're in the third room at the top with ALL of your health, just go straight through to the gold.

Visitor June 22, 2008 1:28 PM

Now can anyone help me with level 18 ;-).


I was led here by the "exploration" tag. Under that pretense, as I found myself raping and pillaging the coral reefs, I felt like I'd entered an ultra-lame Heart of Darkness.

Why should I blow up the poor creatures of our world's most extraordinary and threatened habitats? So I can listen to more muzak or collect more crystallized gems of concentrated lameness? And with depth charges! Those are for use against submarines-- subs fire torpedoes. Sheesh.

Anonymous June 11, 2010 2:08 PM

Please help with level 18, how do you get past the second part?


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