Aeon Drive is the latest from developer 2Awesome Studio and publisher CRITICAL REFLEX. The game combines that of an action-platformer with speedrunning elements to form a rather unique experience. Not only that, there’s a fairly decent story attached to all that action. You play as Jackelyne, a young space ranger from another dimension, whose ship crash-lands into the city. Stranded on an unknown planet, Jackelyne has to use her abilities to explore Neo-Barcelona and brave its many dangers. You’ll dash, jump, and slide through the streets while you collect the drive cores she needs to repair the ship – and save the city from impending doom!
Starting with the art style, Aeon Drive takes its inspiration from the world of cyberpunk. Mainly, the environments have that futuristic, techno feel, but with a hint of grime and dirt. While the graphics might have a sort of retro feel to them as well, the art isn’t as pixelated as it would be on 8-bit or 16-bit styles. This is a more modern take on retro. All in all, the art is very good, very colorful, and very alive.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward. For each level you’re presented with, you basically need to get from that starting point to the endpoint within a 30-second timeframe. That’s where the speedrunning aspect of the game comes into play. 30-seconds isn’t much time at all, but Aeon Drive does introduce the use of drive cores. When you collect enough, you can use them to add extra time to your time limit. Four cores equal 5-seconds added to the clock. That makes things much more interesting as you need to decide whether to risk time to extend it, or just try and go straight to the finish. I’ll just say that the extra time really helps.
Another gameplay element that is neat is the use of a Teleportation Dagger. This dagger is throwable and lets you reach areas that are higher or farther than you could normally jump. It also lets you bypass energy barriers and squeeze through tight areas if you want to get to the other side. It’s a really useful tool but requires a lot of practice to use properly.
And that takes me to the controls. For the most part, the control scheme is not too difficult to learn. You’re mainly using the Y, B, A buttons along with the top right shoulder button for sliding. Y is for slashing, B is for jumping, and A is for your Teleportation Dagger. While all fairly straightforward is the timing and use of the Teleportation Dagger that makes this game tricky. Coordination is key here so practice using the dagger because throwing it and using the teleport can be tricky. It’s probably the hardest thing to master in the game.
While Aeon Drive can be played primarily as a single-player game, there is also a multiplayer mode where you and three buddies can experience the world of Aeon Drive together.
Anyways, Aeon Drive is a very interesting game. While the combination of platformer and speedrunning is nothing new, Aeon Drive finds new ways to make it interesting. The art is really good as is the use of the cyberpunk theme as well as the audio that accompanies it. Gameplay is solid, though difficult at first and there’s definitely enough challenge here to make things even difficult for seasoned players. With that said, Aeon Drive is a great pickup game for your library if you love unique platformers and speedrunners.
Aeon Drive is available now on the Nintendo eShop.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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