Like lemmings, but with fish, is how Aqua Panic was first described to me. That's not entirely the case the fish don't move on their own, but with the flows of physics-based water, and tools are used by the cursor, not the fish themselves but it still has that same puzzling gameplay that can have you pulling your hair out as the levels get tougher and tougher.
The basics of the game are simple: the fish are suspended in a glass orb above the level, you need to get them to a specific place at the bottom of the level, an area cordoned off by some markers. Put the fish anywhere else in the water, and they'll be devoured by the giant fish-eating sharks. Save enough fish, and you'll proceed to the next level. The fish don't move by themselves, but just follow the flow of water, filling up pools and obeying gravity. So, control the water, and you control the fish.
To make the water do what you want, you're given a series of tools to play with the flow. Blowing holes in the terrain, creating walls out of plants, and more. You also need to watch out for any enemies along the way like sharks that get woken up when they're touched by the water, though these can be taken care of with harpoons.
Things start out deceptively simple, but soon you get to terrain that you can't destroy, valves that need to be turned on and off, fans to activate contraptions, and before long you'll be pulling your hair out as the puzzles get tougher and tougher. If a puzzle gets too hard, you can use one of a limited number of things called 'jokers', which allow you to bypass the puzzles. Though you only get a few, by replaying the puzzle and solving it in Freeplay Mode, you earn them back. In Freeplay Mode, you can also use money collected in the levels to purchase new tools, allowing you to complete levels that you might find just a little too hard without just a bit of a push.
If the 80 levels of normal gameplay aren't enough, there's also the Survival Mode to play through. In this, you're given 100 fish and that's all. Any fish you lose in a level are gone for good, so it's an endurance match to see how many levels you can make through before all your fish are gone.
Where the game suffers the most is probably it's presentation. It's been released on handheld platforms before, and it really does show when you look at the graphics and visual style, both of which seem substandard. The fish look more like paper cutouts floating in the water, and the water physics themselves feel poorly done and loose. The music is catchy, but some of it is just a little too catchy, if you get my meaning. Some of it has the tendency to drill itself into your head in some fairly unpleasant ways.
After all that's said, Aqua Panic is a decent enough puzzle game. Though sometimes it feels like there should be more than just one solution for some puzzles, the ability to replay them in Free Play mode with extra tools opens up new possibilities if you want to look for them. It looks quite rough around the edges, but that's not really what a puzzle game is about; the wonky water physics, however, do affect the gameplay and are an issue. But for a fairly cheap puzzler, it's not a bad title overall.