This visually stunning game is challenging, but worth the effort.
Summary: Lumenox Games took three years to finish developing this game, focusing on fluidity and graphics.
“Aaru’s Awakening” is a video game that has the potential to be incredible. Over the course of the game, players have the chance to fight off monsters made of molten lava, traverse mountains made of crackling electricity and take on deities of varying sizes, power and wonder. Players will also die about 12,000 times in the process.
The primary problem with this game is the difficult controls. The playable character, Aaru, has the capacity to do things such as smash through solid walls, teleport and power-jump through the air. These are all pretty standard things to find in 2D-platform games, but for some reason they are incredibly difficult to pull off perfectly in this game. Randomly placed checkpoints add a relief factor to many levels that would have otherwise tested the patience and sanity of many players.
Beyond the gameplay mechanics being frustratingly challenging to master, this game is quite good. The graphics are lovely and the atmosphere is both mythical and ethereal. There is plenty of lore provided to the player through various narrations.
The level designs are clever and purposefully puzzling, quickly evolving from simple run-and-jump levels to frustrating run-and-jump-and-teleport-while-breaking-down-massive-barriers-and-trying-not-to-fall-into-spike-pits-or-get-eaten-by-a-lava-monster levels. This allows for huge amounts of time spent trying to decide how to get through a single part of one level.
Earlier levels afford more time to stop and look at the scenery, while later levels add the risk-factor of moving monsters that need to be avoided. Although the game keeps you moving, and offers rewards for completing levels quickly, there are a lot of times when the backgrounds are so intricate and detailed that it is difficult not to stop and stare.
The game has the appearance of being entirely hand-drawn, which adds a beauty and intimacy to every single level. There are endless details in the backgrounds and in the character, Aaru. Visually speaking, the game is truly stunning.
Aaru himself is quite an impressive protagonist. Appearing to be some sort of hybrid of a wolf and an eagle, he soars through the air with grace and takes down barriers with ease. He is the champion of the god, Dawn, sent to restore balance to a crumbling world. A fun aspect of the game is watching Aaru’s character movement, observing how his head follows the mouse around the screen and the way he shuffles around, bounding rather than walking and leaping into incredible parabolas of gravity-defiance.
“Aaru’s Awakening” took three years to develop and is the first game to be released by producers Lumenox Games. The company consists of only eight people all of whom are either artists of programmers and are based in Reykjavik, Iceland.