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AER: Memories of Old

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 6 - 2019

A relaxing journey across a fractured world.

 
Video games have every mood covered. Sometimes a player may want excitement, rushing towards some overpowered enemy, or maybe running away from some unimaginable terror. Or they may want to test their skill, pushing machine to the very edge of disaster, or proving their superiority in the mental arena. However, there are times when the player may just want to sit back and relax, taking their time to explore and uncover some mysteries. AER: Memories of Old, recently ported to Switch by Daedalic Entertainment and Forgotten Key, is one of those games, giving the player a wide open world and the perfect means to explore it.

 


 
Players take on the role of Auk in a world that is broken. By broken, I actually mean in pieces, with little islands floating around and seemingly unreachable. However, it is at the very start of the game that the player discovers they are able to simply jump into the air and transform into a bird, revealing one of the most enjoyable flying experiences to be found in video games. From this point onwards, there is nowhere the player cannot explore.

 
The flying really is a joy in AER. The player is able to swoop up and down, picking up speed as they quickly cover ground moving from one island to the next. There is so much freedom to the movement, it really does seem a shame to come back to ground and return to human form. However, there is a core mission to follow here, and although the player is able to wander off and explore as they wish, this already broken world still needs to be saved.

 
To this end, the player will need to visit three different temples and collect pieces of an artefact. Auk is given a magical lantern as their main tool in the upcoming journey which can be used to activate or reveal certain objects. The temples, along with other areas found when the player is exploring the world, have some very light platforming and puzzle solving, which usually just boils down to activating some switches, and so will not cause the player to sweat. The length of the game is also quite short, especially if the player chooses to simply make their way straight to the temples and get those pieces, but this fits in with whole laid back feel of the game.

 


 
Of course, the whole experience can be extended with a little exploration. There is not a huge amount to do in the world, but it is still very pretty to look at, and the flying remains so much fun. The main draw here will be in finding out more about the history of the world, and this can be done through using the lantern to get glimpses of the past. There are also a few NPCs to find, who are quite free with offering information, and scrolls or wall carvings to fill in the blanks. It’s not really exciting, but when a world looks this beautiful, why wouldn’t you want to explore?

 
It is true that one of the highlights of AER are the visuals. The game looks stunning with its bright colours and low-poly graphics. Despite the game being a few years old now, having released on other platforms a while ago, AER looks very current and perfectly suited to the handheld nature of the Nintendo Switch. Also bringing the world to life is an incredible soundtrack, with music that seems to follow the actions of the player as they soar through the skies or explore dark caverns. AER is a nicely polished game.

 
As a relaxing experience, AER really does hit the spot. The problem is that for many players, this simply won’t be enough. AER doesn’t quite match up with certain other exploration games in terms of how it pulls the player in. There is plenty of additional history to be found in the game, but it will only appeal to a certain type of player. Most players will simply not care and head straight for the main quest. And this will bring to light the largest of AER’s sins, the ending. It ends, and that is it. It is all quite abrupt and unsatisfying, which is likely to upset some players. So it may be the journey rather than the destination that is important, but I would have preferred something more than this.

 


 
AER: Memories of Old is a chilled experience that will happily while away a couple of hours for those wanting a break from the action. The game could have done with a better ending, and perhaps a little more to do in the world, but with stunning visuals and sound, and the best flying to be had, AER: Memories of Old is a great fit for the Switch and worth checking out by anyone who needs an action detox.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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