Speedrunning has been an integral a part of the gaming neighborhood for many years. Individuals may lean on glitches or exploits to ‘break’ a recreation, however usually it’s merely a case of studying the mechanics, in and out, to nail down probably the most environment friendly route from A to B. Aeon Drive is all about speedrunning; that’s its hook, and it is a good one.
Going down throughout the cyberpunk setting of ‘Neo Barcelona’, the sport stars Jackelyne, an area ranger who’s on a determined race by town to seek out the drive cores to repair her ship. Armed with a sword and teleportation dagger, you need to information Jackelyne by an unlimited number of ranges, all of which sport differing routes with their very own benefits and downsides.
Racing by the degrees is sort of sufficient as it’s, however the recreation instantly encourages you to maneuver as shortly as attainable by implementing a 30-second timer in every degree. If the timer reaches zero, then it’s recreation over and also you’ll want to begin over (an insignificant inconvenience due to the small scale of the degrees and the zippy loading speeds). Fortunately, to offset the countdown, you’ll be able to choose up egg timers scattered all through the degrees; when you’re fast sufficient and handle to select up 5 in a row, you’ll be able to activate their energy and instantly add 5 seconds again onto your timer. Appears like a small, insignificant enhance in principle, however if you’re just some toes away out of your finish purpose, these additional seconds make all of the distinction.
Whereas the supporting narrative in Aeon Drive is merely a distraction at finest, the gameplay showcased right here is an absolute pleasure when you become familiar with all the things. There’s a little bit of a studying curve at first; you’ll have to grasp leaping, sliding, swinging your sword, and chucking your teleportation dagger on the right time as a way to keep any semblance of pace and momentum. It’s quite a bit to absorb, however as soon as every mechanic lands and turns into a easy a part of your muscle reminiscence, you’ll be dashing by the phases with ease.
The teleportation dagger is in the end what units Aeon Drive other than different speedrunning platformers. Primarily, you throw it at any wall inside vary by tapping ‘A’ alongside along with your supposed course on the analogue stick, and it’ll keep locked in place till you faucet ‘A’ once more to teleport over to your dagger; type of like a futuristic grapple hook. Utilizing the dagger allows you to bypass obstacles like lethal lasers and bottomless drops, but it surely additionally provides an unimaginable feeling of momentum, significantly if you handle to throw it in simply the suitable place on the proper time, letting you successfully skip a great chunk of the stage in a single fast movement. It’s extremely satisfying.
Though Jackelyne is fairly nimble on her toes, she’s however extraordinarily weak to enemy injury and obstacles. Getting hit simply as soon as sends you proper again to the beginning of the extent, so not solely do it is advisable to full every stage within the quickest time attainable, however you additionally have to do it in a single good run. Naturally, it’s very important that you just be taught every stage just like the again of your hand when you’re to climb the web leaderboards, together with the location of enemies, the optimum place to throw your dagger, whether or not you’ll be able to soar over a very lengthy hole, and lots extra. The replay worth right here is clear, significantly when you’ve bought a aggressive, compulsive nature.
Visually, the sport is completely lovely, too, with attractive pixel graphics displaying a great degree of element within the ranges and their respective backgrounds. There’s little selection with the general aesthetic past completely different color palettes, however we’d argue that something extra would threat distracting from the gameplay. There’s a little bit of added customisation to Jackelyne’s personal color palette — primarily for if you play within the non-obligatory multiplayer mode — however there’s little incentive to decide on a selected color when you’re enjoying by yourself (we frequently went with the yellow-haired possibility; she appears like a Tremendous Saiyan, okay?!).
Talking of multiplayer, the story mode lets as much as 4 individuals play by the sport in co-op, with a further PvP mode pitting you towards as much as three native opponents. Sadly, native play is the one possibility in the mean time, however on-line play is on the best way by way of a future replace. The excellent news, although, is the sport’s efficiency is just about flawless whether or not you’re enjoying by yourself or with buddies, with rock strong body charges and minimal load instances all through.
Our ultimate shout out goes to the sport’s glorious soundtrack. The cyberpunk vibes are evident within the music — which bears greater than a passing resemblance to Purturbator’s work — with sweeping synth notes and booming bass traces. It’s actually nice stuff and an ideal accompaniment to your good, second-shaving runs.
Aeon Drive isn’t fairly up there with fashionable platforming classics like Celeste, but it surely’s fairly darn shut however. Whereas its narrative received’t win any awards, that is merely a supporting backdrop to the implausible gameplay on supply. Bolstered by strong efficiency and minimal loading screens, racing by the degrees feels exhilarating as you soar, slide, and teleport your approach by the maze-like environments. With a web-based leaderboard to fulfill your aggressive nature and added multiplayer in addition, Aeon Drive is a speedrunning triumph that completely deserves your consideration.