Aeon Drive Gamescom 2020 Impressions
Aeon Drive is a speedrun action platformer set in Cyberpunk Barcelona. Speedrun is the important word here since your goal in this game is to reach the end of the stage as fast as possible, finding the best route while trying to stay away from enemies, deadly falls, obstacles, lasers and the like.
I played the early Alpha version and I can say that for this version, the game is pretty much very cool as far as design goes. The mechanics are well thought out, the visuals are very well made and the stage design has a couple of routes that you can take to get to the end faster. The guys at 2Awesome Studio know what game they want to create and they have the skills to do so.
We are in a retro-futuristic Barcelona and our hero Jackelyne needs to retrieve faulty pieces of dimension-bending machinery in order to preserve the space-time of the universe. This reminds me the premise behind A Hat in Time for some reason. I hope there is some kind of story between the stages in the future because from what I played, there’s nothing that connects me with the character or the setting. The stage design reminded me of The Messenger and Celeste, you have the city in the background and you, the obstacles, the enemies etc. are in the foreground.
The special touch in this game is that you have a timer that pushes you to finish each stage as fast as possible, which got me in a couple of stressful situations (I think I finished a stage with only 1 second left). You also have a teleportation dagger that you can throw through lasers or walls and you can teleport to the destination. The tools to make you the fastest Aeon Drive(r) are there. I would like a button to cancel the teleportation dagger though, some times my hand slips and the dagger doesn’t go where I want it to go.
The game of course needs some polish, especially in the controls. You can’t cater to speedrunners without having precise and responsive controls. If you want them to blow your mind with their skill, you need to give them the tools to do that. Personally I would like the jump to be a bit more responsive, the moment I press the button, I want the hero Jackelyne to immediately jump.
The wall jump also needs some fine tuning, sometimes I would easily wall jump a wall, the next time my character would not respond to my button presses and I would slide down the same wall. There are also some jump pads in the stages that throw you in the air. You need to jump on them, else you just go through them without being propelled. It would be better if, the moment you touched that pad, it would fly you to the air. Trying to move/jump back and forth until the pad registers what I want to do is stopping my momentum.
All in all, this early Alpha is a pretty good indication that the devs know what they want to do and know how to do it. If you like similar games like The Messenger, Celeste and Katana Zero, definitely keep an eye on Aeon Drive. Did I mention that the game also has a darksynth/cyberpunk soundtrack? And it’s awesome?
YouTube trailer here: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrobXDQMEJM
Wishlist on Steam here : //store.steampowered.com/app/1252240/Aeon_Drive/