Developed by:Examu Published by:ATLUS Genre(s):
  • Fighting
  • Platform:
  • Sony
  • Cost:$29.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1-2 (2 Online) Release date:November 19, 2013 Reviewed on:PS3

    AquaPazza: Aquaplus Dream Match

    There are a lot of great games that never make it to this side of the world. For years gamers have been going to great measures to import these titles; some even go as far as modding their consoles or changing their location in PSN/Live in order to access a foreign digital store. That’s why it’s great to have publishers like ATLUS who not only do all the heavy lifting in terms getting these games stateside but also helps in introducing gamers to new experiences.

    One of these experiences comes in the form of a fighting game called AquaPazza: Aquaplus Dream Match. Originally released back in 2011 in Japan, this 2D fighter features 26 characters from various Aquaplus titles including Utawareumono, Tears to Tiara and so on. If those names mean nothing to you, think of it like SNK’s King of Fighters series but with the styling’s of a BlazBlue or Persona 4: Arena. Now you can imagine that with so many characters from different games ADM’s story would be a little…odd. And you’d be correct. The gist – an unknown character tries to make a love potion to get every man to fall in love with her. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and everyone goes crazy. The only way to fix things is by battling a series of opponents leading up to a final confrontation, her defeat hopefully turning everything back to normal.

    The story is a bit on the awkward side even for an anime fighter. Still, this isn’t an issue; the story is more or less a means to an end. Getting everyone together for a big brawl is the point. Knowing this, Examu made sure to offer a slew of gameplay mechanics and a varied cast resulting in a rather deep fighting game.  Going back a second – AquaPazza includes a cast of thirteen playable fighters and another thirteen partner characters. The partners are used similar to assist characters in other titles; they can be called out mid match to unleash an attack to extend your combos or set up for super moves. So far, everything seems balanced and the flow of combat is fast and furious. Speaking of flow, a mechanic called the Active Emotion System offered a way to keep the fights fast paced.

    There are three emotional states that the characters can be in during a match. At the start both fighters are at normal. Being offensive and rushing down your opponent will change your character’s emotion to high, granting a 10% damage boost to attacks. On the other hand being overly defensive will put your fighter in a low emotion state, dropping their defense by a whopping 30%. On a grand scale this isn’t new as other fighters have used similar techniques to force players to actually fight one another. At the same time though, it does help the overall flow of matches.

    AquaPazza: ADM doesn’t bring much new to the table when it comes to game modes. In fact it’s pretty standard. There’s the story, arcade and score attack modes we’ve grown accustomed too over the years. Standing out though is the training mode with is record and playback system. Let’s say you just lost a close match and are confused about what went wrong. The game will allow you to replay up to 30 seconds of gameplay; you basically recreate the situation to try and figure out how to better defend yourself. Another notable feature was the ability to change your character or partner without having to go back to the character select screen. Whether you’re a fighting game fanatic who spends a lot of time training or a novice who wants to try out multiple characters, the quick swapping of fighters is truly a benefit.

    While I did like the training mode, I wish there were a tutorial of sorts that would have just covered the mechanics utilized in AquaPazza. Anime style fighters tend to be very difficult to understand if you aren’t familiar with what they are based on. There are sample combos and partner moves but it isn’t enough. It would be easy to get lost in Aquapazza way of fighting. I mean, one character fights with a bookshelf for crying out loud. Beginners will need to be cautious before jumping into matches.

    When it comes to battling friends online, AquaPazza isn’t as competent as I’d like it to be. Once in a match, things fared well as the netcode is pretty solid. Unfortunately, my problem had to do joining matches. For some reason the game will tell me that a lobby was full even when it wasn’t. Multiple refreshes later, the lobby would still only have two people but say it was full. At first I thought that everyone was hosting private matches, until I randomly was able to join a room that was “full” previously. If you can get in to a game it is definitely stable but unless you really want to play online, I suggest you grab a friend and stick to playing offline.

    AquaPazza: ADM is a solid fighter as far as mechanics go. Outside of a select few features and a slight learning curve, it feels like most anime inspired fighters though. The same goes for its visuals – graphically it doesn’t impress. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks good. It’s just that, at a glance it would be hard to tell what game it was as nothing stands out. While I may recommend more established fighting titles over this one, AquaPazza is still certainly worth playing (especially with its low price point).



    Aquapazza is a good fighter. It has tough competition within this genre though.



    The game features decent visuals and a nice art style. Basically, what we’ve seen in other anime



    The music isn’t bad but it isn’t memorable either.

    What's New:


    I wish there was more new elements worth noting.

    Replay Value:


    AquaPazza is a good fighter and overall that’s the most important thing. Though better online play would help in this regard, I can see people coming back to this game.

    Final Score:


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