Defining AER: Memories of Old is not easy. The typecasting to which most commercial games tend to submit does not respond the same when the independent market is approached. What is AER then? You could say that a mix of walking simulator, flying simulator, platforms, puzzles and even small-scale sandbox . So, without anesthesia.
When you think you are facing a new Journey, suddenly there is an Eagle Flight from Ubisoft, the best Tomb Raider puzzles or the Ratchet & Clank platform. This symbiosis of concepts overwhelms and clashes with each other first, with the feeling of being lost in a sea of doubt and not knowing what to do. It makes you want to leave the command -from experience- and the game advance by itself, but here lies its magic: once the unique game mechanics that this AER has are assimilated: Memories of Old, the journey of almost four hours that has before it is wonderful .
Because AER is everything and is nothing, like its protagonist, Auk . A world consumed by “emptiness”, a concept that is used as a perfect metaphor for a materialism that does not fill the spirit and where it is necessary to find inner peace. Be a better person learning from the past to correct the present and not affect the future.
All this allegory to the material world is mimicked with what is the very staging of the game. Forgotten Key, developer studio, dispensing commands and even radars . The screen is diaphanous and we only have before us the own Auk and the world that we have to explore. Does anyone need more? In addition, it is addictive.
With the same button we jump and change between being a person or a bird, while with another we light the lamp to illuminate the darkness that covers the earth. And that’s it. The game is full of messages and teachings in each cave, in each nook, in each
corner. Only a few texts will take us out of that screen without indicators, although, as already pointed out in previous paragraphs, this is also their handicap .
Journey, for example, was a well-orchestrated walking simulator thanks to its more than visible linearity. However, in AER we are released
(literally) in a world that can be traveled from end to end without really knowing what to do . In fact, and this is a curious anecdote, the first puzzle we made was one of the last ones in the game. Novel choice, of course.
All these sensations are also internalized in the game thanks to its colorful and colorful graphic section . With marked polygons, it is committed to a living palette that emphasizes the little that remains of humanity on the planet. In fact, the darkness is barely present inside the caves, where the light of the oil lamp is the counterbalance in the scene itself .
This game of light and shadow, of imposed masks where nothing seems what it really is, transmits an aura of magic at the same time as mystery. Fear for what is to be discovered, but also the unknown in case what will come is as beautiful as what we left behind. It is not easy to achieve this in a visual section at this point in life, and AER: Memories of Old achieves it with ease and determination .
Likewise, the soundtrack also accompanies the production at all times and adapts very well to what appears on the screen . In this sense, it is undeniable the references that it takes from ThatGameCompany and its last two great works: Journey and ABZU. Knowing how to mark the tempo with the playable concept is one of the fundamental elements of every title, as much as history accompanies gameplay. Minipunto for AER also around here.