Developer: Triangle Studios Publisher: SOEDESCO Platforms: Steam, PS4, Xbox One Mode: Single-Player, Multiplayer Genre: RPG Currently available on Steam; PS4 & Xbox - June 30th 2017
“AereA is a music-themed Action RPG in which you play as one of Great Maestro Guido’s disciples and explore Aezir; a floating island that was broken into pieces. Your mission is to find and return the nine primordial instruments to restore balance and peace to the world.”
By: Mitchell Cole
AereA is a new RPG game from Triangle Studios & SOEDESCO. An RPG is a dime a dozen in the indie market so what makes AereA stand out, if it does at all? Gamers will choose between four musical characters. Play as Wolff the Harp-Archer, Jacques the Cello-Knight, Jules the Lute-Mage, Claude Trumpet-Gunner, or team up with your friends in local co-op. Collect Music Sheets to learn new skills and customize your weapons to your play style. Music is a strong influence in AereA.
Triangle Studios hit some numbers right in a few of the RPG ‘musts’. The very feel of AereA is a classic JRPG-vibe albeit a light JRPG. Graphically, AereA has some beautiful backgrounds and backdrops that help lend to a light-hearted adventure. Character design is not as smooth as its backgrounds but still good. Characters will battle throughout various levels or ‘biomes’ while leveling up both the character and their musical weapon. Each character is based upon a specific musical instrument, each with their own unique abilities. Players can choose between mages and brawlers, far-shooters or up-close. Controls are solid in Aerea. Game characters respond as needed and switching between items or powers works well.
While the story started slow, eventually the story picks up to a degree that becomes mildly interesting as you progress. Not only is this your standard save the world gig, but you also have to save the world through music. Players will quest to find 9 ‘Primordial Instruments’ that helps keep the land afloat in the air. While the story is never a quality like that of larger RPG’s, it’s serviceable and in some areas interesting.
The absolute selling point for AereA has to be the music. Each moment of AereA is filled with melodic, orchestral sounds that fit into each part of Aerea’s world. For a simple game as this, it’s a testament just how much the music will draw you into the RPG spirit. A true Square-Enix comparison! The sounds are appropriate to the game and never drown out that beautiful soundtrack. I enjoyed every bit of the soundtrack and found myself becoming quite endeared to the music. The music of AereA helps convey a sense of adventure or sadness whichever the moment calls for.
A Struggle For Balance
It’s easy to spot AereA’s chief issue…BALANCE. From the very beginning whichever character you choose will have a SIGNIFICANT advantage over enemies. Doesn’t seem it was intentional, but this game is entirely too easy, almost making AereA aimed at younger children than RPG fans. Puzzles are simple, boss patterns are predictable, and WHY OH WHY does it take only 1-2 hits to destroy basic enemies yet takes 3 solid hits to destroy a crate??? Never was AereA a true challenge as Triangle Studios almost guides you through every biome. It isn’t until about halfway that I found myself using a character’s special abilities.
Another issue I had trouble overcoming was a twitchy/lagging camera. Throughout much of the game, as your player is moving along the screen, the camera will sometimes lag just a fraction behind, leaving your character walking too far ahead and not centered into the screen as you may come to expect from an over-the-top ISO RPG.
A couple of issues that were made include the exclusion of an overall large map and a lack of an item menu. Instead, Triangle Studios opted for a meager mini-map and a story menu board only. Players cannot hold more than 4 items. It took a long time to realize what each item did. A menu with stats, items, AND the storyline would’ve been nice. Although, muliplayer is an option, this review does not go in nor review any aspect of that section. But if this game was super easy for one-player, it stands that it could be a waste of time for you and your friends. Unless, the devs add some difficulty…
Story: B- | Graphics: B- | Audio: A | Replay: C- | Controls: B
Overall, AereA is a small RPG that hits a lot of musical notes but also falls flat in a few important areas. Triangle Studios is looking into a patch to provide more balance but so far, on Steam, the update did nothing to alter the difficulty. If AereA fixes the childishly easy balancing, then this game will add more to its overall value. As it stands, AereA is an average RPG that could be better. SOEDESCO is marketing AereA as a new IP in a new series. Let’s hope that Triangle Studios learns and makes some needed adjustments so that AereA can stand at the top, with the rest of indie RPG’s. This was an enjoyable game (for the most part) with a lot of promise.