Gotta go fast…
Welcome to our review of the super fast action platformer Aeon Drive.
A sequel to 2017’s decidedly different Dimension Drive, will the story and gameplay translate into the world of platforming? Watch on to find out.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS and welcome to our review of Aeon Drive, a brand new side-scrolling romp from developers 2Awesome Studio. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and don’t forget to subscribe for more on all things gaming every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it…
I’ve tried to make a habit of checking out a lot more indie games this year (and if you think I’ve missed any bangers, please let me know in the comments below), so Aeon Drive has definitely been on my radar.
This side-scrolling platformer sees you take the role of Jackelyne, a space ranger from another dimension who ends up crash landing in the cyberpunk setting of Neo-Barcelona. You’ll have to navigate through various stages in order to recover all the drive cores necessary to save the city and finally make your way home.
It was only very recently that I found out Aeon Drive is a direct sequel to the 2017 vertical space shooter Dimension Drive, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a drastic change of genre! But would the series adapt to the world of platforming, and with an emphasis on speed running and fast paced action, is Aeon Drive worth checking out? Watch on to find out…
Well on the surface, it’s your classic 2D action platforming affair. You’ll have to run, dash and slash at various enemies and obstacles as you traverse branching levels. Although there’s nothing at all wrong with this, in fact it controls remarkably well, and the different ways you can beat each stage does add some nice variety, it’s nothing we haven’t already seen before.
But what really sets Aeon Drive apart from its contemporaries is the 30 second time limit imposed on each level. This makes everything feel more tense; each moment counts and tricky jumps and incoming enemies feel all the more foreboding. Although you can pick up time capsules that will grant you an extra 5 seconds, even these won’t grant you much of a reprieve, and you’ll often end up resorting to instinct over careful consideration.
I found the timed nature of the stages super addictive, and although the developers claim every stage can be beat without using any time capsules, I’m fairly sure you’ll need some strong focus-inducing drugs or indeed witchcraft to pull it off!
And that’s because for the most part, Aeon Drive is bloody difficult! There’s a steep learning curve which might put off more casual players, and failure, iteration and experimentation are all part of the experience. Fortunately you can adjust the difficulty in-game, but even then it’s going to take keen reflexes and a lot of patience to prevail. But it isn’t half satisfying when you finally succeed.
As someone who hasn’t had much exposure to the previous story in Dimension Drive, I can confirm that it’s absolutely not necessary to catch up on. The story in Aeon Drive is there, but is very much optional and nothing about it feels essential. In fact, in a game with a more arcade-y style like this, it felt more superfluous than anything, and it neither added to or hindered my enjoyment. It’s there if you fancy it, but not really worth collecting every scrap of lore.
On the other hand, one thing everyone will be able to enjoy is the visuals, which are very nice. I’m probably biased as I’m a sucker for pixel art, but the blend of retro stylings with a modern twist is a treat for the eyes. What’s more, anyone familiar with the fine city of Barcelona will recognise some interesting takes on The City of Counts. And even if you’re not too clued up on the real life city, you’ll be very well acquainted with each level as you tackle them over and over (and over) again!
In my opinion, Aeon Drive is the perfect palette cleanser game. It’s an absolute joy getting to grips with the mechanics and rhythms of the gameplay, and it’s designed from the ground up to be played as fast as possible. I don’t see myself sitting down for many more extended sessions, but I’m certain I’ll be diving in for a quick round or two between more hefty titles.
But what did you think of Aeon Drive? Please let me know in the comments below, I love reading your thoughts. And while you’re there, please consider subscribing for more video game content every week, or visit upsidedownshark.com to find out more about everything we’ve got going on.
But until then my name is Tom, this has been UDS and we’ll see you next time.