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    Aaru’s Awakening: Review

    The planet Lumenox’s four deities Dawn, Day, Night and Dusk have lived in perfect balance for centuries, a balance struck after a great war between them. But when Night starts getting greedy, wanting more time in control, Dawn releases an ancient warrior beast to save the day. Aaru, Dawn’s champion, must run, jump and teleport through a host of levels to save the day.

    Aaru looks a bit like a genetic mishap involving a bear, a bird and an ant-eater. But the character fits in perfectly with the game’s bold, hand-drawn visual style, so the fact that I sometimes couldn’t tell his head from the other end wasn’t too much of a problem. The visuals are truly impressive, and the developers Luminox (wait, isn’t that the planet…) let their art-freak flag fly here.

    They just didn’t spend much time thinking about the game dynamics. Principally, it’s controlling Aaru that’s the game’s weakest link. He has no sensible, quick attack; attacks can only be performed by teleporting. This problem is made even more frustrating by the fact that the game demands a level of accuracy that the controls simply do not allow for. It’s a clumsy affair, leaving the player spending most of their time dodging enemies or getting frustrated by what feel like cheap deaths.

    There is a puzzle aspect to Aaru’s Awakening, and this is probably the strongest part of the game. They won’t fry your grey matter, but they are balanced enough to be challenging without being impossible to solve.

    Ultimately, Aaru’s Awakening fails to strike a balance between looking good and feeling good. It’s visuals are really wonderful and beautifully themed, but without solid, enjoyable game play to back them up, the whole affair descends into being style over substance.


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