From the first minute you jump into Aaru’s Awakening you’ll be greeted with a beautifully drawn game that makes you want to explore Aaru’s world. If you haven’t noticed yet Aaru’s Awakening is hand drawn and you can feel the amount of love has been put into making it. You play Aaru who is a mythical creature, a Champion of Dawn and you must guide Aaru through the tribulations of Day, Dusk and Night.
You’ll soon realise Aaru’s Awakening is style over substance which is a shame. Aaru’s Awakening is a fast paced 2D platformer where Aaru is able to jump and teleport across the screen, Aaru can also charge into things to break through them. The levels are short and hard with many checkpoints contained within because Aaru’s Awakening is not an easy game to get to grips with.
Aaru’s Awakening appears to be much harder than it should be which isn’t down to the level of difficulty but down to the controls which feel messy throughout. You can jump, barge and teleport to places or into enemies to beat them but it never feels smooth. You die countless times because the controls make it that way, you should be breezing through the simpler puzzles/platforms but the jumping and teleporting rarely feels intuitive. So due to the constant dying and unhelpful controls you stop caring about Aaru’s Awakening and it’s story as your time becomes more invested into frustration.
Graphically Aaru’s Awakening is one of the best looking platform games you would have seen in a while. The backdrops ooze quality and remind me of Heart of Darkness (that’s going back a while). The lighting effects are excellent whilst it’s easy to spot where Aaru and his teleporting soul is on screen. The only issue with the graphic side of things is that it is sometimes hard to distinguish between what is an enemy/breakable scenery and what is the background. You will find yourself dashing and teleporting into things on screen more through accident than anything else. Musically the score is excellent and really fits in within the world of Aaru’s Awakening.
Besides the jumping and teleporting there isn’t much else to do. There is a medal system in place encouraging you to go back and better your scores but after you pass a level you won’t want to go back because you probably would have died several times. There are no other mentionable modes to play with so Aaru’s Awakening is lacking a lot in terms of variety and gameplay.
Aaru’s Awakening is a decent platformer that looks beautiful when you’re playing but after the first few times you die and the lack of anything else besides jumping and teleporting it you soon become disinterested with what’s on offer. There’s very little for you to invest in, maybe that’s why the global high scores are included to try to give Aaru’s Awakening that one more time feel, but you never feel like it. If I were Aaru I would have teleported into another game like Mario or Sonic because then that would have been a much more rewarding experience. Top marks for the style Aaru’s Awakening but you’ve not got enough substance to make the time spent with you worthwhile.
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