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If it's not possible for a video game to be perfect, The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is as about as close to it as we're ever going to get.

For clarity's sake, I should probably define what I mean by "perfect," since my statement is sure pique the curiosity, and maybe even the anger, of many who may read this. For me, a perfect game is one that is as engaging and enjoyable as it is long. Save for two slightly annoying boss fights and a bit of tedious back-tracking, The Aquatic Adventure has this quality in spades. Not only is the game basically and under-water Metroid - my favorite game of all time - but it's a blast to play that never wears out it's welcome. 

Let's break the experience down to determine whether The Aquatic Adventure is right for you.

For my Explorers - Players who enjoy exploring the game's world to find adventure and treasure:

As I mentioned earlier, The Aquatic Adventure is like playing Metroid in an underwater setting. Instead of directing a superbad space warrior through a hostile planet, you instead control a spaceship turned submarine through a new Earth completely submerged under water (more on why later). As such, you will be equally rewarded and challenged based on your decisions to explore the world around you. Traversing the submerged Earth, you're likely to come across power-ups for your space ship turned submarine. These power-ups will be necessary to help you win battles against some of the most creative bosses I've seen in all of the exploratory adventure games I've played to date.

Just like Metroid, you'll also be given the freedom to tackle some of the challenges in the order of your choosing. Even if you choose a path that leads you to encounter a boss who outclasses you, you may still be able to win if you are good enough at shooting and moving to evade enemy attacks. This is an excellent display of robust design and programming allowing the player to affect the world the way they choose versus being forced to explore the world the way the designers wanted them to. I noticed when I was playing that I did several bosses out of order. The beauty in this scenario was that when I finally made it to the bosses I'd unintentionally skipped, they were a cake-walk to beat. It really gave me a sense of empowerment to know I had bested several bosses before I was supposed to be able to.

You'll be pleased to know the game's save points also double as fast travel hubs--a feature that really brings the Metroid formula into the next generation. Unfortunately, there's no good way to know where you are supposed to be going. So without good memorization skills, you may spend a good amount of time lost, trying to remember or figure out where to go next. 

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human Review

For my Action Junkies - Players who enjoy fast-paced, exciting action:

I feel like we shouldn't have to talk about "tight controls" in 2016. Developers should pretty much have that aspect of game design mastered. Fortunately, the controls in The Aquatic Adventure are not only tight, but they're masterfully designed to add challenge to the game's combat. I found it particularly interesting that there was no real combat outside of boss fights. I enjoyed this concept in practice because it never lets the game wear you out fighting the same enemies over and over again as you traverse the abandoned Earth. The good news is that is that in boss fights, you will have to use every maneuver and skill your ship can handle to fight, survive and win. This formula makes for an excellent balance between peaceful exploration and chaotic warfare. 

The fact that I got murdered multiple times in each boss battle and kept coming back for more while never losing the smile on my face, should serve as a testament to how well YCJY designed the action in The Aquatic Adventure. I can only think of two boss fights that were a bit more difficult than they should have been. But, even that minor frustration didn't deter me from wanting to continue playing the game after multiple losses. 

For my Bookworms - Players who love a good story:

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is the epitome of what I think video game storytelling should be. There were no arduous cutscenes, no overblown cinematics and no dialog sequences to make me want to gouge out my eyes as with most titles released after 1995. Here, we are treated to a narrative mostly told through the dark and dire world you're forced to explore and survive.

I'm very thankful that they avoided the Hollywood approach made popular by games from the Playstation generation of gaming. For those of you who prefer a bit more narrative flavor, don't worry.  You'll find holotapes strewn about the Earth designed to give you more backstory - in 140 characters or less thank God - about what's happened to Humanity since you left earth thousands of years ago on a space expedition to find a new livable world for your people. 

For my Audiophiles - Players who love a game's music and sound production:

Not only is The Aquatic Adventure's soundtrack absolutely gorgeous, it perfectly fits the mood, tone and setting of the different zones you'll spend time exploring. There's a mixture of nostalgic sci-fi synths meshed together with dreary minor chords to sell you on just how hopeless your situation is. But, the producers also found room for more upbeat sounds to hint to the player that there may be hope yet for the human race. The Aquatic Adventure employs an excellent use of sound that's better than most games I've played in the last few years.

In The End:

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is a masterpiece combining the joy of old school play with new school conventions. It's a must play if you, like me, often miss the simple joy of playing video games made during '80s and '90s.

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human

Developer: Why CJ Why
Publisher: YCJY Games
Genre: Exploratory Adventure
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