From Triangle Studios comes AereA, an action RPG that takes the formula made popular by such games as Zelda and Torchlight and wraps it all into a Classical musical theme. While the rage is all about online games these days, and there are many online games that you can play for fun or games for real money, AereA is a throwback in it that it’s an offline ARPG through and through. This is our AereA review for the PC.
A Classical Story
As a disciple of the Great Maestro Guido you must unravel the mysteries of the floating island, Aezir. Find out what happened to the world and return the nine primordial instruments to restore balance and bring peace to the world. Sounds plain, simple and too familiar?
You play out this story as either Wolff the Harp-Archer (ranged class), Jacques the Cello-Knight (melee/tank class), Jules the Lute-Mage (magic ranged class) or Claude the Trumpet-Gunner (ranged with acrobatics). Additionally, you can team-up with your three of your friends in local co-op mode.
As you travel around Aezir you collect Music Sheets to learn new skills and customize your weapons to your play style. You’ll also collect “Clefines” which are used as currency to buy items and upgrade skills.
And the Band Played On
There are two types of experience points in this game, character XP and instrument XP. When enough XP is earned either will level up and then skills can be acquired by allocating Tuning Points (TP). Character TPs are distributed automatically while instrument TPs need to be applied manually to standard RPG attributes; attack power, vitality, defense power, accuracy, and ability. Using special skills requires a resource called “rhythm points”, akin to mana in traditional RPGs.
The game is played in a two-thirds, top-down perspective. Default controls are WASD where mouse buttons fire a primary action and a secondary action. The mouse wheel chooses a skill. The game also supports a generic gamepad controller, but a PS4 DualShock controller worked just fine. The UI refers to generic controller buttons, e.g. A, B, etc. and standard colors, that sort of lined up with the DualShock. Sadly, the control scheme is not configurable. The game allows you to save progress in one of three profile saves and also has an auto-save feature as you change zones, etc.
One nice feature the game has is an optional, versus forced, tutorial and some nice help screens. The tutorial itself is woven nicely into the start of the story.
Same Old Song and Dance
Trudging through linear dungeon-like levels you’ll bust pots to collect “Clefines”, boxes to collect items, etc. Along the way you’ll encounter traps, e.g. timed ground spikes, environmental threats, and so on. Things like metronome levers and music energy altars open locked doors. Music energy altars are essentially boxes, i.e. the music energy source, that need to be picked up and dropped onto a marked “altar”, these music energy sources are timed and if not moved within said time limit disappear and return to their original spot.
The Bad Notes
One complaint is that like any other RPG of this type, exploration is key, unfortunately mobs seem to respawn when you re-enter a room/screen. Most mobs aren’t terribly difficult to defeat but they tend to feel more like an annoyance versus fun as they impede faster exploration.
The game has only four inventory slots which is a bit cumbersome in a game that encourages busting pots, wooden crates, etc. There are also no tooltips for dropped items so you have no idea if what’s on the ground is worth burning a health potion in your inventory just to pick it up.
AereA isn’t a bad game it’s just not an “anything new” game. The cartoony graphics and artwork are well done and highly detailed in some areas, especially the backdrops and the soundtrack is superb, it just feels like too much “been there, done that”.
Editor’s Note: This was reviewed on the PC with a code provided by PR.