Aquadine is a joyful and entertaining journey through a mythical and mysterious town. It features a cast of endearing characters with distinct personalities and solid backstories. The story takes place in a town based on mermaids and magical stories, so water themes are prevalent in almost every aspect of the game.
Aquadine begins simply enough when we meet Ciel, a tour guide in the fictional city of Aquadine. As you progress, you will discover that he is hiding a few secrets behind his cheerful demeanor. During the playthrough, you can select one of four character paths. Your route options are “a helpless idol – Elisabeth, your childhood athletic friend – Cameron, a cheerful redhead – Diana, and a distanced cat lover – Anya.”
The main characters each have developed personalities and their own unique problems. It’s refreshing to see them work through their personal issues in such a way that you become emotionally invested. The entire cast appears in each route, which is fantastic because they complement each other so naturally.
Music and visuals
Aquadine’s art is remarkable, and there is a plethora of it to love. Normally, the characters draw the most attention, but for me, it was the backgrounds. There are so many different locations and tones in each. They are extremely thorough, with just about all the small ones incorporating the water theme to some extent.
The design of the characters is fantastic. Throughout the route options, the character’s artwork was sweet and pleasant to the eyes. The only concern I had about the character sprites was the animations when they were talking. It was unsettling at first because they jump around a little as they spoke. I got used to it over time but I hope there was an option to turn it off.
Furthermore, a few characters appeared aesthetically out of place, but this was not a deal breaker. All of the characters are clearly differentiated from each other but sustain a certain appeal. Even the supporting characters had various visuals, and some even wore different clothes to stand out even more.
Another important aspect of the game was the music, particularly the intro theme. The soundtrack, like the rest of the game, was pleasant and perfectly suited to the scene at hand.
The game itself is somewhat short; sadly, finishing all of the routes took about ten hours, yet it was still a nice experience.
There was also one route that clearly needed more storytime to form out the characters.
That route starts off with a lot of important backstories, but by the end, several questions were either unaddressed or didn’t have a fair settlement. One of the most common routes is the longest, which took me approx three and a half hours to complete. When finished, you get to choose between four different protagonist routes, each taking approx two hours. Thankfully you don’t have to take the same route every time. Simply select the path you want to take next from the menu. There are no good or bad endings in this visual novel; simply choose the character route to play.
Aquadine is a fantastic journey with a charming group of characters that melted my heart. While there were a few minor issues that could have improved the experience, they did not serve as a distraction from it. The whole story is packed with hearty and emotional moments that allow you to be involved in this joyous tale.