Aeon Drive Review | digital escapement

Aeon Drive is a game of 2D platforms speed-focused like Celeste, only with a few added downsides that muddy the otherwise satisfying gameplay.

Aeon Drive is developer 2Awesome Studio’s 2D platformer about speed and flow, following titles like Celeste and Dead Cells. Jack, the protagonist of Aeon Drive, has a handful of mobility options that can work together in interesting ways to speed up or slow down a run; however, they don’t always feel as tight or flowing as they should. For the most part, Aeon Drive is a fun, fast-paced platformer that offers replayability and fast-paced racing potential, but its controls, story, and design sometimes present obstacles to player enjoyment.

Aeon Drive’s story is more of a framing device than an actual narrative. Jack and his robot companion VERA escape from their dimension to escape a galactic war and reach “our” dimension. They are pulled into Earth orbit and land in the cyberpunk city of Neo Barcelona, ​​which VERA quickly realizes is near destruction thanks to a chain reaction caused by unstable dimensional pulses. To save the city, they must collect all six, but they only have 30 seconds before they go critical. fortunately, VERA can create a small pocket of time to extend this time.

In the game, each stage has a 30-second timer to complete it, and Jack has plenty of tools to help him do just that. First off, Jack is nimble and has a sword that allows him to quickly dispatch robotic enemies, who are more of an obstacle than a threat. There are also small dimensional units scattered throughout each level that will extend the time by 5 seconds for every four collected, which can often be the difference between success and failure. His most important tool is VERA itself, as Jack can throw it to different locations and teleport there, destroy enemies, and bypass certain obstacles like laser walls.

Jack moves well for the most part, but he definitely has a few hiccups here and there, like inconsistent detection that sometimes makes wall jumping a gamble. Throwing VERA is as frustrating as it is satisfying, as there are times when Jack has to throw VERA directly at her to break through a laser wall, but there isn’t enough post-teleport cooldown to avoid landing comfortably on said wall. Wall. However, using VERA for horizontal and diagonal movement is nice, and after a few successful teleports it will naturally put players into a really satisfying state of flow.

In later stages, VERA is used in more interesting ways, such as solving door and switch puzzles. While many of them were excellent, a variety of these puzzles presented a major headache, which were switch puzzles that required VERA to stay on the switch for a door to open; teleporting to him would simply reset the player. While most of the stages had alternate paths to keep it from going excruciatingly wrong, one stage in the final level was impossible until after playing with the controls he realized there was an entrance who can call VERA back instead of just teleporting to her. . This was especially frustrating because this specific mechanic was never introduced in the tutorial, but was absolutely necessary to complete the final levels of the game.

Aeon Drive is a solid experience with nuanced mechanics. The biggest areas where the game struggles are, thankfully, in the small details, like a lack of cooldowns and forgetting to include a mechanic in the tutorial that thankfully hasn’t hindered gameplay so far. at the very end. With its comfortable three-hour playtime, native speed racing leaderboards, competitive mode, and charming personality, Aeon Drive is definitely worth checking out.