Platform: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4
Developer: Triangle Studios
Release date: Out now
Tl;Dr: A good premise, but just doesn’t deliver.
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Sadly, I was quite disappointed with AereA. When I saw the trailer for the very first time, everything seemed right up my street. It’s a music themed game; players take control of warrior bards as they fight evil and save their world using music. To me, this conjured up mental images of musical combat, a beautiful song unfolding as each attack adds another note to the glorious and unique soundtrack. Boss battles would be walls of sound, where you and your musical warfare would break through the barriers to bring the song back to the world. That unfortunately was not the game that I played; instead I was greeted by a sub par RPG experience that really did not meet my expectations.
The main thing that did get to me about AereA, is that it could have very easily been re-skinned and the game would not be changed at all. Aside from the musical themed visuals and the fact that the game takes place in a warrior bard-like school, the musical connections end there. The trailer that I placed above lead me to believe that the game itself would be far more musical based than it really was; not a rhythm game per-se, but something akin to a musical RPG. I know that is not the best analysis, but is the image that was conjured in my head.
To be fair to AereA, I played it single player, so I am unaware if playing the multiplayer would suddenly make the game good, although I doubt it. The game is fairly simply set; players choose one of four warrior bards, each with their own special play style. Then they get sent into multiple different levels; as they fight, enemies collect in game currency and find their way to the end of each stage. Well, at least, it would be simple if the game worked.
Despite the fact most enemies die in literally one or two hits, if you actually want to target them, then you’re going to have to work at it. The default attack is by default assigned to the left mouse button, but where you click does not have anything to do with the direction of your attack. Your character will only attack in the direction they face.
It is a huge problem that you have to literally turn your character round to face the target of your next attack. In most RPGs similar to AereA, enemies are attacked by a click of the mouse; this click of the mouse will change the direction of which your character faces.AereA has been designed in a similar manner, albeit without that ability. When your character moves, they instantly turn to face the direction that they are going, and thus, when you attack, regardless of where you click, the character attacks in the direction they are moving. This jumbles gameplay and makes it that although enemies die in one to two hits, actually landing an attack becomes a trial.
Also, pictured above is a boss battle. I did hope that perhaps I would find something new in these battles, like large enemies that unleash wave upon wave of attacks that need to be dodged. I was not enjoying my time with AereA and hoped that maybe the boss fight would give me something new to hold on to. Unfortunately, AereA did not deliver. The first boss I faced, the Bagpipe Spider was rather lack lustre.
This slow, lumbering monster was far to easy to outmaneuver; I feel that even with the difficult combat, I was able to run circles around it. As the fight continued, I encountered the mother of all glitches. The boss monster got stuck on a wall, and was then unable to move. Literally meaning that it could not attack or even feebly attempt to dodge my clumsy attacks. Removing any semblance of a challenge to this fight. I tried to reload my save and fight it all over again, but once more the same glitch greeted me.
AereA disappointed me; it greeted me as a brilliant concept and something truly unique for me to play. I hate to admit it, but aside from the concept that had me really interested in playing this game, I could find little else in AereA that I could praise the story was nonexistent the graphics were sub par and it just was not the game it could have been.
- Warrior bards!
- Music is their weapon!
- An awesome concept
- Soundtrack is lacking
- Combat is poorly designed
- WHY WAS THIS ADVERTISED AS A MUSIC GAME!?
Family Focus – AereA
AereA is rated PEGI 7/ESRB E 10+. The game is relatively kid friendly, no major violence. There a few bugs to squash but nothing too bad.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code of the game provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.