As a guy whose life is deeply entrenched in music, I expected AereA to be the perfect melding of my two favorite worlds: RPGs and music. After hours and hours of what feels like wasted time, I’m sad to report that AereA fails not only to blend an RPG with music, but fails to succeed on either front.
Now, when I say music, I’m not talking Guitar Hero or Rock Band. It’s a game based around magical instruments that I think are meant to stop the world from ending–I gave up on trying to understand the story about six hours in. Neither the instruments nor their powers were interesting, and the music was very forgettable. Anyway, AereA is a dungeon-crawler consisting of solo-play or four-player co-op. There is no online play. There is one shield-and-sword character and three ranged characters. None of these characters are fun, but not because of their abilities or play styles.
This game is too easy. AereA feels more like “baby’s first RPG” before anything else. Only one time was I concerned with progressing in the game. Every single battle, including the bosses, were a breeze. I don’t know about you but when I play RPGs, I’m looking specifically for a challenge.
The art style, coupled with the lack of difficulty, makes me think this game was especially made for children. Not that that’s a bad thing–it just feels that way. That feeling aside, I’m actually quite a fan of the art. It’s cute and feels like a fairytale.
As an RPG, the game is quite interesting too, albeit simple. AereA has two leveling systems: one for your character, which allows you to level up things like health and one for your instrument, which allows you to unlock special abilities and more. Every time you defeat a monster, some music notes are dropped. These serve as the game’s XP, if you will.
Beyond that, there’s not much too this game. You’ll be given a fetch quest, which leads to a slow crawl through a dungeon and when you finish, you’re awarded. You’ll repeat this loop over and over until you unlock the mission that allows you to fight one of the game’s nine bosses. The bosses in this game are no challenge at all, although they are a delight to look at. After defeating one, you’re awarded a new instrument to help you save the world.
It wasn’t until the very last boss that I felt the game push back in any way. Seemingly out of nowhere, the last boss’ difficulty spikes to annoying degrees. All it took was three, sometimes two, hits to kill me and it wasn’t until the final boss that I learned that if you die, you must restart at the beginning of the dungeon. Going through these maze-like, boringly-designed dungeons was a slog once–a second time had me pulling hairs from my head.
Each dungeon essentially consists of you finding a switch, using that switch to open a door that leads to another room with another switch, and so on. Eventually, you’ll open up a portal or entrance to the boss room.
To make matters worse, this game is littered with bugs. Multiple times, I was booted out of the game. Sometimes, my character would go into an attacking frenzy, something I was unable to stop without quitting the game. He would attack and attack, thus preventing me from interacting with any objects such as the door I need to pass through to continue forward. Other times, I found myself unable to open a door. Again, I’d have to quit.
There’s really not much more to say about this game. It isn’t good. In fact, it’s quite bad and easily one of the most boring games I’ve played this year. Stay away from it.
A copy of AereA was provided by SOEDESCO Publishing for the purpose of this review