Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

AereA

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 26 - 2017

A musically-themed ARPG.

 
Developed by Triangle Studios and published by SOEDESCO, AereA challenges four musical students to save their school, and the world, by gathering a bunch of magical instruments and fighting monsters along the way.

 
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In AereA, players take on the role of a student under the tutelage of Maestro Guido in a musical school. The balance of the world has been disrupted and players will discover over the course of the first few missions that the Primordial Instruments, a collection of magical instruments that are responsible for maintaining balance, are lost and it is down to the students to return these instruments and save the world. So far as stories go, it is not the most original, although the musical theme is used very cleverly throughout the game to give it a more unique feel.

 
Another place that the musical theme is used to great effect is with the playable characters themselves. AereA has four different characters that the player can choose from, something that teases at the fact that the game includes local co-op for up to four players, with each taking one of the four different characters. Anyway, each character represents a different class, with warrior, mage, archer and gunner available. The twist is that they are not your classic archetypes, as the warrior uses a Cello and bow as sword and shield, the archer uses a Harp as a bow, the mage uses their Lute to cast spells, and the gunner shoots with Trumpets. This is obviously no ordinary musical school.

 
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The different characters are beautifully represented on screen, and the way that they use their instruments in battle is great. In fact, the whole visual side of the game is very well done, with a softness and the use of bright colours making the game quite inviting. The environments are varied and there are a nice selection of adversaries to battle against, with the bosses that are based on different instruments being a highlight. There is a young feel to the game, with a low level of threat throughout, but that fits in with something that I will talk about later.

 
Where would a musically themed game be without a magnificent soundtrack? AereA really hits the mark here, with music to die for. The soundtrack is great and worth listening to outside of the game, which is handy as the soundtrack is available separately.

 
When it comes to the gameplay however, AereA manages to hit more than one bum note. A lot of the problems come from the controls, which are optimised for use with a controller. Due to the isometric view and the fact that ranged attacks work by firing in the direction that the character is facing, playing with the usual keyboard/mouse combo is more frustrating than it should be. Playing with a controller is much more precise, but there is still a certain amount of hit and miss that doesn’t feel fair. Obviously, playing as the warrior makes things easier, but three of the characters are mostly ranged, so it drastically reduces the players options. With the game soon coming to the consoles, it does feel that the PC gamer is an afterthought in this respect.

 
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So, the player will be charged with quests throughout as they move the story forward, but most of these quests are uninspiring fetch quests. There is a fair amount of backtracking and players will find that once they enter a level, they will have to complete it to get out, which is annoying if you accidentally start the wrong level.

 
The other big problem for most gamers, although not all, is that the game is really easy. This is what I was talking about in the game feeling “young”. There is very little by way of challenge in the game, most enemies are easily taken out with one or two hits, and even the bosses are fairly straight forward. The characters level up through the game and quickly become plenty powerful enough to deal with anything the game throws at them.

 
When you combine this lack of challenge with the colourful, pretty graphics and the couch co-op, which is a rarity in PC games of this type, it really does suggest that AereA is aimed at the family gaming market, perfect for sitting down and playing with younger children. There is nothing wrong with this, and indeed playing in co-op is great chaotic fun, but it does limit the audience.

 
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AereA is a game that both looks and sounds great. For the family that games together, AereA manages to hit the right note. However, this will more apply to the game when it comes out on consoles. For the average PC gamer, control issues and lack of challenge will cause problems, and there are plenty of other ARPGs out there. For a great soundtrack and co-op fun, consider AereA. For the single player ARPG fan, it would be better to keep looking.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 



 

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