Playing through The Ancient Quest of Saqqarah - yes, that's right, the one with the monkey - as my casual game of the month. Have completed two temples on the first difficulty level so far. Really hate the temple of bast. And not only because the game's female archetypes seem to only come in 'madonna' and 'whore' :)
In Aquaria, have found the kelp forest, sections of which have slightly fewer things trying to kill me. Found my 'first' turtle, which surprised me as I knew I'd found one before... but it looks like that was yet another bit of exploration which was wiped out by a Stupid Pointless Death at some point early in the game. So I trundled all the way back to my home cave (and checked on the chest of bubbles I'd managed to find in a completely black offscreen area) to 'find' the other turtle. Then wanderered around to check out the bits near my home cave that were still showing up as unexplored on the map... and had yet another stupid pointless death. Sigh.
I think what bugs me is that it's exploration and happiness specifically which are dangerous. If I'm in a hurry to get from point A to point B (and know roughly what path I'm taking), I can generally outswim and outdodge most monsters in my way, even those firing projectiles. But if I'm going "Oo, look, a big snail!" and pausing to take it in, or crawling every nook and cranny for stuff, I have to kill everything that moves or die myself. Which wouldn't be strange in some settings, but feels weirder with all the pretty around me.