By: Uma Smith
If you’re falling asleep from the lack of challenge from today’s games, then it’s time to be “awakened” by Aaru’s Awakening for both the PlayStation 3 and 4. Prepare yourself as you enter into a mystical land on a quest to reshape the world. As we step in, we shall see if this title truly is worthy.
It can initially be quite confusing to grasp the control layout, which steps away from the traditional button control scheme. The jumping, teleporting and charging commands do feel a bit awkward, but once you get used to it, you will find the decision to be pretty good.
However, the true test lies with how much patience you have. So the game does potentially fall in danger of losing its audience on account of the difficult default controls. Thankfully, you have the option of making your own configurations.
Graphically, Aaru’s Awkaneing has a nice style to it with the hand-drawn art designs. You get plenty of well-defined colors arranged in a painting fashion. Complementing well with the visuals is the ambient soundtrack that sets the mood effectively. It is a shame, though, that the sound effects do very little to leave much of an impression, especially when they can grow to be repetitive and annoying at times.
Aaru’s Awkaneing takes place in Lumenox, a world that is facing the threat of the night god overpowering the gods of dusk, dawn, and day. In response, the god of dawn sends out a beast by the name of Aaru in hopes of defeating the night god.
This character that you play as has two abilities: teleportation and charging. For the former mentioned ability, Aaru simply fires his soul, destroying any enemy in the way, and teleports to where it ends up stopping.
The game plays out like a 2D platformer with no lives. This is very important since you will be dying frequently. Throughout the levels, there are various checkpoints that are useful since it’s basically death trap galore here. You will need mad skills and reflexes to get through the game.
As such, Aaru’s Awkaneing can be very unforgiving and therefore quite frustrating in terms of its difficulty. When you complete a level, which are pretty short in length, there is a medal granted based how long you took. While this kind of helps to extend the longevity of the game, players may be discouraged from revisiting the levels once completed if they happen to skim by with luck.
Aaru’s Awakening consists of 19 stages as well as five boss battles. The battles themselves are made up of environmental puzzles where you will need to teleport to the glowing targets displayed in a variety of colors. Getting to all the targets will grant you access to the next area with another puzzle sequence to complete.
By successfully destroying the targets, you will in turn perform a special attack or add more obstacles to the boss. It’s a nonlinear approach that does take some time to get used to, but it can also be quite satisfying.
While it offers a unique premise and solid gameplay, there is nothing else that really accentuates the game. There is fun to be had, but the game can be pretty short while the challenges can lead to a lot of hair-pulling madness. Still, if you have the perseverance and strength to carry on, perhaps getting yourself on the featured online leaderboards will keep you engaged.
Aaru’s Awakening will definitely keep players on their toes when considering its gruesome challenges and initially awkward controls. But if you take into account its artistic visuals and some unique gameplay, this 2D platformer could be just what you need for your console.