AereA is a musical-themed action RPG from Soedesco.
You can select from a quartet of the Great Maestro Guido’s disciples, grab your magical musical instrument and set out to restore harmony to the world.
AereA immediately struck me as an action RPG for the younger generation. It has a more ‘cutesy’ look, less of the detail and a more accessible stance on the genre dominated by titles like Diablo 3.
After a brief introduction, you'll find yourself with a choice of four characters: Wolff the Harp-Archer, Jacques the Cello-Knight, Jules the Lute-Mage and Claude the Trumpet-Gunner. Each fits into a pretty familiar role, so if you're used to a certain class you'd probably find life a little easier if you go more for what you know.
After meeting up with the great Maestro Guido, and performing a few start quests, you'll find out that your home world Aezir has been split up into pieces and you'll have to set out to reach the boss protecting each realm to recover the primordial instruments and return peace and harmony to the world.
You'll find quite a simple, dulled-down stance on action RPG, which works both ways to make AereA unique, but equally disappointing. I'm quite a big fan of titles like Diablo 3, not so much for the initial slog but the leaps forward to collect the greatest gear, exploring dungeons, taking down bosses and hoping for RNGesus to drop me some sweet new loot. AereA, however, seems to miss this part, because Loot is minimal and there's no variation on weapons, just basic upgrades.
The lack of any extra 'loot' does detract from the ongoing quest leaving just the story as the main incentive to keep playing. You'll also find a distinct lack of information about what's just been dropped from the crate you've cracked open, meaning it's often Russian roulette when deciding whether to use up health potion to free up space in your limited inventory.
As far as ARPG's go it's not a bad story, and the musical influence continues throughout which maintains a unique approach on an otherwise dark genre. Don't fret, though, because there's still plenty that you'll recognise. The A-Z of dungeon worlds from sewers, forests and magical teleports are all in place, as are a wide variety of enemies including the standard rats, spiders and all beyond.
After a few hours with AereA, you'll be well on your way to saving the world. However, I encountered numerous glitches and collision detection isn't the best. Maps are sometimes a little difficult to navigate so that you'll find it annoying when a room full of enemies respawn because you took two steps out of the wrong door before returning to take a new direction.
Graphically the more cartoon style will appeal to younger gamers but it's nowhere near the quality we've come to expect from next-generation consoles. Characters too often look fuzzy, and while the backgrounds and surroundings are generally well made, it all looks a little too last-gen.
The sound is generally decent with cheerful tunes playing along at all times, but I found a few too many of the background songs quite irritating.
AereA certainly isn't a bad game, but older fans of Diablo, Victor Vran, Van Helsing, Torchlight or anything in between will find it disappointing. It's worth remembering that the majority of dungeon crawlers aren't really suitable for younger gamers so AereA finally finds ground to make it a worthy purchase if you've got younger gamers around you.
While I wouldn't dream of playing through it again by myself, I'd more than happily enjoy a few hours playing it with my children.
Thankfully at £34.99 AereA isn't bad value at all, although if you're over 16 there are far better options. Those with families or siblings will find Aerea a decent paint-by-numbers Action RPG that fills the void of approachable titles while maintaining an acceptable quality throughout.
AereA won't surprise ARPG fans, but it will provide a gateway into the genre for younger players.