Aaru's Awakening - PC

Release Date:

February 23, 2015

Also on:

PC Xbox One PS4
6.9

Summary:

The story itself is simple, as most good platformers tend to be. You play the game as Aaru, the title character, a strong champion from Dawn. You are charged with traveling across all four realms of your world in order to conquer the appropriately named Night.


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Posted:
2015-05-05

Jamie_Hall

Writer

PC Games

6.9

Aaru's Awakening on the PC was developed and published over at Lumenox EHF. As a smaller production house, Aaru's Awakening depends on all of the things that smaller budget game studios thrive on: creativity, gorgeous artwork, and intelligent gaming. We love a good 2D puzzler platformer, especially with solid ones becoming so rare nowadays, and we were accordingly excited to pick up this title. We jumped in with essentially no expectations and felt that we were delivered something worth far more than what we paid.

If you are familiar with PC 2D platformers than Aaru's Awakening should probably already give you some reference points to draw upon. A first glance at the title artwork should remind you of the game Limbo, but that comparison isn't completely fair. While Limbo is one of the hallmarks of the genre, Aaru's Awakening does not try to funnel what made the aforementioned film so succesful. Instead it tries to stand on its own and, for the most part, it succeeds on that point. The guys at Lumenox EHF constructed a game replete with personality, depth, and a commitment to user experience. The game relies on exciting puzzles, teeming personality, and wonderful artwork to convey what it is trying to get across.

The story itself is simple, as most good platformers tend to be. You play the game as Aaru, the title character, a strong champion from Dawn. You are charged with traveling across all four realms of your world in order to conquer the appropriately named Night. Night wants to change the world and imbalance everything along the way. You have to stop him. A bit cliche, sure, but enough to get things going. The story itself is amplified by excellent narration in between actual gameplay. The dialogue is intelligent and poetic but not very deep in terms of actual content. No matter, a deep experience is allowed to have its superficial moments.

As is the wont of current gaming trends, Aaru's Awakening is a title that is exceedingly difficult to push through and it makes familiar the death of the main character. Put simply, you will spend a ton of time raging at your controller for being killed off. So make amends with that before you even start playing the game. if you are the type of player to lose a few times and then quit this isn't the game for you. And you will die. Ten, twenty, sometimes thirty times if you are playing on an advanced difficulty. It's just how it is, and it makes succeeding all the more enjoyable.

Aaru has two specific abilities that he uses to his advantage when traveling through these twisted and dangerous levels. His first ability is teleportation. Teleportation doesn't quite work like it does in the movies. YOu are able to teleport when in trouble but it only works on a sliding scale of power. That is to say, you can't use it full blast every time you are in trouble. It's hard to aim where you land and if you over shoot your mark you can end up just as dead as if you didn't use it. Charging works exactly as you'd expect it to and it is his most readily available defense.

Unlock other games that overload you with skills and items, Aaru's Awakening keeps everything simple. You need to master the few techniques that you have in your disposal in order to advance through the game. You are playing a title that rewards precision while harshly punishing sloppiness. Once you do get your technique down you will almost feel like the levels go by too quickly as you skip, jump, hop, and teleport your way to the end. Boss battles are hectic, terrifying, and increasingly hard to fight your way past. Sometimes you'll feel that pure divine intervention allows you to find a way to win.

We have stressed severely the level of difficulty of the game and hopefully that doesn't turn you off. The difficulty, like Super Meat Boy, is part of the charm. Dark Souls does this on a larger scale but we found those same feelings of gritty joy in Aaru's Awakening. The game punishes you and offends you and it says you can't do anything, subtly anyway, so you have to prove it wrong. It worked for us... or maybe we're just stubborn. Thankfully there is a checkpoint system put in place that will keep you from completely losing your sanity. Getting these checkpoints feels like finding a flag in Super Mario Bros -- complete satisfaction and a reprieve from starting all the way over.

The primary campaign will keep you playing for quite awhile as you seek to master your way to a completed title, but that isn't all there is to do. You can compete with friends by trying to break each others records. A timer in the game keeps track of how fast you are playing. This is a little function but it provides some replay value for those of us who are particularly competitive. Again, this game mode is meant for those of us who are advocates for self induced pain, as the game is hard enough as it is much less when competing against a clock.

But perhaps more than the difficulty we must salute the game on its artistic merits. Every single frame is beautifully realized and gorgeously composed. The art itself is wonderfully stylized and we feel like there is plenty of personality in every frame. The trick we found was not to get too distracted by the artwork or else you'd be finding your way to an earlier death sooner than you might like.

Aaru's Awakening on the PC blends perfectly platforming elements with the meat grinder feel of the hardest games we have played in recent years. If you don't mind a little pain with your pleasure than this might be just the game for you. We would suggest this title to most gamers at least once.

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Lumenox ehf

Release Date:

February 23, 2015

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