Aaru’s Awakening – What We Think
In Aaru’s Awakening, you become a mythical creature traveling through the dangerous world of Lumenox. This challenging platformer centers around its mobility mechanics; the ability to dash and teleport will be in constant use as your main keys to completing each stage. Mastering these will determine whether you will be playing a short and sweet game or banging your head against a wall for hours.
In a short tutorial you will be introduced to your only two tools. Your dash can be directed with the right stick (if you are using a controller) and also has the ability to bash though some barriers. A key feature not told to you but that should be kept in mind is that dashing also resets your falling inertia; this is very important, as your other tool as mentioned is a teleport.
Like in Portal, after teleporting you retain your momentum. However, unlike Portal, you don’t pass through a gateway but instead fire a bullet, then trigger when you want to blink to its position. If you are falling and need to teleport over a bed of spikes, retaining your momentum can be a bit of a bad thing. This is where the dash’s resetting your momentum can both save you and lead to some rather fancy maneuvers.
At first your default jump feels sluggish, but after you get the feel for your options of movement, you instead feel powerfully adept at traversing the game space. This is where Aaru shines the most: its platforming and core mechanics both feel good and effective in getting you to where you want to be in a timely manner. Every level is compact in its presentation, so there is no needless travel time between puzzle to skill jump to reflex test. Each test of skill is paced well enough that you have a moment to glimpse at what is coming up with enough time to react properly.
Drawn and Quartered
The levels themselves, and all the art for that matter, are gorgeous. Everything is hand-drawn and animated in a glorious colored pencil style. Each of the four zones has its own personality and hazards; every set of stages is themed for the times of a day, starting with the tutorial in Dawn, then on to Day, Dusk, Night, and back to Dawn again. Without spoiling too much, Dawn has twisting beds of thorns, for example, and Day has scorching beams of radiant light.
At the end of each set of four levels is a Boss, also representing the time of day. Defeating bosses has you killing a few sparse enemies by teleporting into them–shooting a bullet at them and then tele-fragging on top of them–and completing a set of extra difficult challenges in an order that you may select as you please.
It is short, but it is very well built. It has some replayability in a decent time attack score table that matches you with your Steam Friends. But if you value your game time, keep in mind that a skilled player can complete it in less than two hours. Others might fare longer, around the four-hour mark. Regardless of its price point, it is still worth a play, and as such a recommendation from me.
Watch the trailer for Aaru’s Awakening below:
Watch HappyWulf’s Gaemplay Video Review of Aaru’s Awakening below: