When I first started discussing the GDC and all of the trappings of gameatopia it brings to us, I mentioned that the IGF is one of my favorite elements of the conference. We get an opportunity to see some of the lesser known options out there and see talent that is often overlooked on game sites like mine, that focus on MMOs and tier one games.
So I read the news, Aquaria, won the big prize and I went over to check the game out. Turns out I can't play it because it isn't released yet. I am mildly pissed off that an award has been given to a game that doesn't exist in meaningful terms yet. Sure it's set to release this spring, but this award should be reserved for a studio that has actually created a product that is currently marketable.
Aside from my frustration over the nature of the award this year, looking at the very limited screenshots and game play video currently available, I just don't see any reason why I should give this game a second look. I see some innovation with regards to their approach to fluid interface and the casting actions; graphically the game is pretty but any game focused on a 2d engine in today's market is running with scissors, and in the end, it looks basically like Super Mario Brothers crossed with Metroid or something.