Music soothes the savage beast or so the saying goes. Sometimes it also slays the savage beast. That’s the premise behind upcoming RPG RPG AereA from developer Triangle Studios and SOEDESCO Publishing. As a musician myself, my initial interest in the game came from a Playstation Blog post and I was instantly compelled to dig deeper. What I found was a game that seemed simple on the surface but upon further look had something to offer for every kind of player, and its unique musical theme was consistent, well conceived and not just a gimmick.
Developed by: Triangle Studios
Published by: : SOEDESCO Publishing
Release date: June 30th, 2017
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
- Enjoy the beautifully hand-drawn music themed graphic style
- Experience the story to find out what happened to the floating island
- Play as 4 different characters, each with their own unique set of abilities
- Fight 9 unique bosses, inspired by a specific musical instruments
- Explore multiple islands with a wide variety of biomes, enemies and puzzles
- Switch to local co-op to form a team with up to 4 friends at any time
Story & Setting
In the game you will be exploring a music filled world called Aezier, which is a floating island that was broken into pieces during an event called The Great Separation that separated the land into 3 different islands. The islands themselves were held in a state of balance by 9 primordial instruments which now have been stolen, causing chaos.
You play as a disciple of the Great Maestro Guido, creator of the primordial instruments, and it’s you and your party’s mission to restore the balance and bring peace back to the land. The world as expected is very musically themed, from the environments, to the creatures and its inhabitants.
The gameplay of AereA unfolds as a top down/isometric Action RPG. You will be tasked with making your way through the scattered islands, completing quests, solving puzzles, defeating bosses and ultimately discovering the truth behind the islands, while you work to recover the 9 instruments.
The party based element of the game pits you in the standard party roles just mixed up a bit. You have your traditional tank, as well as your rogue, mage and gunner. But naturally they are musically themed.
Your sword and board player is Jacques the Cello-Knight, who occupies the hard hitting melee class, and will serve as tank and protection for the entire party. Wolff is the Harp-Archer, which is the game’s ranged, rogue type that makes use of evasive actions while attacking from a safe distance and making use of the environment. Jule, the Lute-Mage is a control based, area of effect caster who attacks from range with powerful abilities, and in a bit of a wrinkle for this class, has good survivability. Finally, Claude the Trumpet-Gunner is the ranged firearm combat specialist who makes use of acrobatics and fast movement to cannon blast enemies from a distance.
Every one of the classes can be improved by collecting music sheets to unlock new skills as you level up. The knight can be improved along the lines of things like increasing the defense power of the entire party for a period of time. The archer can be upgraded to fire a variety of different modified arrow types. The gunner can similarly fire a variety of different types of shots and spreads to cause serious destruction. The mage can unlock a variety of new spells and abilities to use in combat. These are all clearly designed to suit the role of the class and compliment the party gameplay.
There are a bunch of different items you can acquire along the way, from consumables that restore your health, to projectiles, elixirs and crystals. Your equipment and instruments can all be upgraded with attributes that have different effects like augmenting your damage. The plentiful vendors and numerous options for upgrading equipment add an extra layer of depth that belies the game’s seemingly simple nature. You may not be min maxing an MMO build, but there’s going to be some decisions to be had here.
The world you will be exploring is a fantasy setting of different types of biomes. The island of Spirel was once known for its farmland but after the disappearance of the instruments has now become a desert with lava filled caves. Liethel was once the most populated region in the world, and now is dotted with ruins. The landscapes will be filled with the kinds of creatures you would expect from fantasy lore, but with some musical wrinkles and are designed around the party based gameplay. Players will also encounter various traps and puzzles in the world. The different classes will be able to combine their abilities to solve these puzzles when playing as a party. Parts of the game are procedurally generated and there will be numerous side quests to undertake.
The bosses themselves are looking to be the centerpieces of the experience and hammer home that musical theme. Every boss is based on a specific musical instrument, and the music you will hear when fighting this boss will feature that specific instrument as the lead. This changes the fight from a basic battle to an immersive musical composition that reinforces the theme. Hands on gameplay of these portions have resulted in a lot of positive player feedback regarding how engaging this combination of music and art direction is. Spider bagpipes huh?
The game features local co-op for up to 4 players, bringing back the party days of getting together with a few of your friends in someone’s living room or basement and playing couch co-op until daybreak. It also makes it an approachable game to play together with a close one on your couch and it’s musical and colorful nature makes it approachable for those not entirely familiar with the RPG genre of game, without skimping on the depth of which there is plenty.
AereA looks like a delightful game aimed for all ages and tastes, whether it’s those looking for a unique musical romp or those with some young ones in their lives. It’s 4 player local co-op is a couch friendly option and solution for who gets control of TV time, and has enough depth for a seasoned RPG gamer to find something to dig into, while giving younger ones or more casual players, their first taste of the RPG genre. With RPGs growing increasingly complicated, it’s important that there are jumping in points for people new to the genre and that seasoned roleplayers like us are giving them their attention.