Review: AER: Memories of Old

Taking to the skies.

Console: Nintendo Switch

During the 2021 Indie Spring Sale, I had some Gold Points to burn before they would expire. I used them to buy Toree 3D and, after some searching on the EShop, AER: Memories of Old from developer Forgotten Key. The idea of a game that is, essentially, a cross between a flight simulator and The Legend of Zelda appealed to me and the game looks pretty too. So, how is it? t's nice, but it's not as good as I'd hoped it would be nor as it could've been.

Let's dive in.

In Aer: Memories of Old you play as Kau. She's a young shapeshifter on a pilgrimage across the floating set of islands and rocks her people calls home. Her pilgrimage quickly turns into something much more when the mystical lamp that lies within reacts to her presence and the mysterious stone pillars pop out of the ground and destroy the cave. It's now up to Kau to not only finish her pilgrimage but to also get to the bottom of what exactly is going on and save their little floating world while she's at it.

Flying through the sky.

There is not a lot of detail in the characters or the world, none at all really. I mean, the characters don't even have any facial features beyond hair and a nose. While a bit weird at first and clearly harkening back to an era of gaming I was not a part of, I actually found the graphics to be very charming. It fits the game well, the designs of the characters are still distinct and it gives the game an identity beyond its flying mechanic.

The game's atmosphere is also something noteworthy It's very calming and very relaxing. The music has a very 'zen feeling. The lack of any combat in any way, shape or form also very much helps to make this game a very calming and peaceful experience. There's also no combat to speak of in any way, shape or form, punctuating the calming atmosphere. The graphics are a surprising help in this. I don't have any clear way to explain them, you really need to them for yourself to get a good picture, but the closest I can come is to call it coloured wireframes.

With all of that said, the game is also very shallow. There's really not much to any aspect of the game aside from flying and exploring the world. Said world is disappointingly empty. I can see the developers put some effort into it. For example, scattering statues of the guardian spirits throughout the world even if they don't have any impact on the plot. However, while there are a good amount of islands, the vast majority don't have anything interesting about them and are just plain empty.

The story is also barebones. Around 90% of the very light story is told through optional lore. The lore, just like the game temples, can be found and read in any order. This makes for a story that wasn't much already but is made less because so much of it is miss able and/or is confusing because you miss pieces and/or find parts of it out-of-order.

Auk, our protagonist.

To be fair getting things out of order helps the game with its sense of freedom but I got the distinct impression this wasn't the developer's intention. At the very least, they didn't implement it properly. Dialogue of characters doesn't take the player doing some things out of order into account, which can lead to confusion of what exactly you need to do next.

Conclusion

AER: Memories of Old is, as I said earlier, a mixed bag. Flying around is a lot of fun and the entire experience is very calming, from the soundtrack to the visuals. However, it's also very shallow. There's just not much to this game and lacks any replay value. I wouldn't buy AER: Memories of Old at full price, but if you can find it at a discount, I'd say it's worth a shot!

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