If you love old-school action games as much as I do then here's one that you'll definitely want to check out; it's the fantastic Aeon Drive.
Some indies are announced that look promising and after watching the trailer for Aeon Drive, I thought it seemed kind of cool. However, now that I've played it, I can safely say that it far exceeded my expectations. So, what is it all about? At its core, Aeon Drive plays similarly to Super Meat Boy in that you run around while jumping off walls and avoiding hazards but there's a lot more to it than that. In addition to taking down enemies with a melee attack and sliding, you can also throw a dagger then transport to wherever it sticks. That mechanic is obviously the most notable and it makes zipping through the elaborately-designed stages a thrilling challenge. You also have 30 seconds to complete each stage but you can collect items to extend this time limit which is actually completely optional so be quick!
Not only does Aeon Drive play wonderfully, it looks incredible, too, with beautifully detailed environments that feature many layers which made me feel like I was in the middle of Neo Barcelona. The only downside is that I wish the different environments featured more variety but that's only a minor quibble. Aeon Drive's audio is top-notch as well complete with awesome music, absolutely spot-on sound effects, and talented voice acting that helps bring the hero Jackelyne to life. It's one great-looking and sounding game! 😄
I can't stress enough how well-crafted Aeon Drive's levels are. Each one features intricately laid-out platforms so you can take multiple paths in order to reach the exit as quickly as possible. In fact, figuring out the fastest route often feels like a puzzle. Will you take a risky path to shave a few seconds off? Go exploring to find a missing diamond? There's a lot to do and many ways in which to do them.
As I whipped through the stages, I often retried to ensure that I was at the top of the leaderboards for every stage so I'm looking forward to when there's some stiffer competition aside from fellow game reviewers; of which, I'm the best, apparently. The fact that there are online rankings is awesome and adds a ton of replay value. Plus, there are even hard-to-reach collectibles such as a diamond in each stage and elusive data cubes that fill out your gallery. You can even cooperate or compete via 4 player local multiplayer so if you have friends who also enjoy 2D action games then this is an excellent title to play with them. There's a lot packed in to Aeon Drive.
If there's one thing that I would add to Aeon Drive in order to make it a truly awesome game, it would be bosses or some sort of similar aspect to help break up the campaign. As it is, you simply traverse the stages as fast as you can. I mean; there is a great deal of variety, especially when you come across new mechanics like trampolines and turrets but something out of the ordinary would have gone a long way to make the campaign more well-rounded. This isn't a big deal, though, because Aeon Drive is still one amazing experience.
If you enjoy fast-paced 2D action games where you try to complete levels as quickly as possible then you'll absolutely love everything that Aeon Drive has to offer. In fact, as it stands, it's one of the best indie games that I've played in a very long time.
- + Excellent blend of mechanics and intricate stages make for exhilarating action
- + Beautiful 2D visuals and great audio
- + Fantastic replay incentives
- - Could use bosses or something similar to break up the campaign
- - Environments look a bit too similar