Role playing games, as of late, have been really going the extra mile to create a unique experience for players. Titles like the celebrated Final Fantasy XV now implement an open world theme to a title that was typically known for its traditional turn based gameplay, while the more western RPGs like The Witcher III allow players to pretty much create their own adventure on the fly with an exceptional narrative to back it all up. It’s not very often however that you come across an action-style RPG that implements music into its gameplay mechanics, but Soedesco decided now would be a great time to introduce it. AereA is nothing like your typical action rpg because unlike your conventional weapons like the sword or bow and arrow, characters now wield instruments that come with their own unique spells and abilities. This unique charm is what makes AereA stand out among the rest of the cast, and is Soedesco’s first original IP which we believe has hit the right notes.
What to Expect
AereA uses the classic isometric view like you find in titles like Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics, but instead of moving your characters in blocks you instead can roam around freely and deal with enemies as you see fit. Everything within the game revolves solely around music, more specifically classical music, which is quite fitting and actually makes the experience feel somewhat tranquil. You don’t have to be a fan of classical music to really enjoy the action within AereA, since there’s so much to experience within the game that everything just blends seamlessly. The visuals aren’t groundbreaking by any means but they provide a distinctive charm that gives AereA its own appeal due to everything being hand drawn. As with any other action rpg, expect there to be lots of battles and that you’ll be working together with your team to take down bosses and other pesky enemies that stand in your way.
You star as one of great Maestro Guido’s disciples who is given the task to explore the world of Aezir, a mysterious floating island that has been broken into many pieces. Your mission is to go on a journey to find and recover the nine primordial instruments to restore balance and peace to the world before it’s too late. With this task in mind it’s now your duty to discover more behind the mystery and uncover the truth behind this floating islands.
AereA has a very unique approach to role playing games as we stated earlier because typically, you don’t find many titles out there that utilize music in a way that blends really well with everything that’s happening around you. Of course we had the classic titles like Eternal Sonata for the PlayStation 3, and that game is still one of the best JRPGs we’ve played to this day. However, while the two may share similarities in the form of music and pay homage to notable classical music artistry, AereA comes with its own original scores by Deon van Heerden who’s known for his work in Broforce and it all just sounds beautiful. If you’ve played Eternal Sonata then AereA should definitely be a game worth considering because it’s truly a musical adventure that doesn’t disappoint.
As we mentioned earlier each character that you can play with comes with their own unique abilities, which you’ll be able to take advantage of during battles. You have Wolff the Harp-Archer, Jacques the Cello-Knight, Jules the Lute-Mage and Claude the Trumpet-Gunner. As you wander around trying to collect items you can’t help but just take a break for a minute and listen to the soundtrack, because it’s so relaxing to listen to. We played for hours on end and never grew bored of the background music at all–which is great. A lot of the time when you play any type of role playing game, the music can either make or break the entire experience simply because it’s what you have to listen to all the way through the game. With AereA, we felt at ease as we raced through forests and dungeons solving clever puzzles and defeating bosses. Speaking of bosses, to be honest we felt that they weren’t all too challenging and weren’t willing to put up a good fight against us. It was a little bummer in a way but on the bright side, each of the bosses were really cool because they all took the form of musical instruments. We haven’t seen anything like that in any role playing game we’ve played in the past few years and that’s honestly such a breath of fresh air, since it’s so easy to run into the pattern of copying an already established formula and creating a bland experience.
AereA is by no means bland at all and while the puzzles weren’t all too challenging either, the rewards you receive from successfully solving them was a plus. Once you’ve dabbled in the single player side of things, AereA comes with a local co-op feature where you can play with up to three other players in a fight to save the world. We thought this feature was a great addition because it reminded us of a more light hearted version of Gauntlet Legends, but with instruments as your tools for destruction. Not too many role playing games allow you to team up with friends to tackle the game but AereA allows you to do so, and in a very fun and interactive way. This adds a lot of replay value overall because with friends it adds a new element of excitement, since you all can share your experiences in the moment and talk through strategies on the fly. If there was an online co-op implemented at a later date that would really help boost the game in a major way also, because then it would allow you to play with just about anyone at anytime.
Not everyone will truly enjoy AereA because perhaps the visuals aren’t appealing enough, or as we stated earlier, the challenge may not be as satisfying and we can’t argue with that. Not every action role playing game will appease everyone, but one thing is for certain is that AereA is a truly unique experience that’s at least worth trying once. You may not fall in love with some aspects of it, but you’ll truly enjoy the musical adventure and appeal it provides. Plus, it’s always nice to try out new things once in awhile instead of running straight to that AAA title just because it’s well known. AereA reminds us of those small mom and pop shops that not too many people know about, but when you experience it for the first time, you realize you’ve been missing out on something special. All the big names seem to follow a formulaic pattern in their approach to gameplay, but AereA tries to dive into new territory while still providing that very solid action role playing experience. You may look at it and think: “Hm, these visuals look very childish,” but perhaps that’s what’s so attractive about it, the appeal is colorful and youthful while still retaining a robust experience without diminishing anything.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Overall we had a great time with AereA, and despite its shortcomings with a lack in challenge it wowed us with the implementation of music to create a truly distinct gameplay experience. Shooting fireballs with with a Lute never felt so fun and we only wish it lasted a bit longer so we could dive a little deeper. If you’re experienced with action rpgs you could probably finish this game in about 10-15 hours, but if you’re just diving into the world of role playing it may take you a little longer. Be that as it may AereA is short yet sweet and creates a very melodic experience that will stick with you for a while after playing through it all.
Great musical score by Deon van Heerden.
Pleasant visuals which are hand drawn.
Creative and unique which make AereA stand out in a good way.
May be too short for some.
Enemies aren’t too engaging and don’t provide enough challenge.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Well that about does it for Aerea! We hope you found this review to be insightful and perhaps give you a better decision as to whether you should pick it up or not. We definitely think you should grab it and try it since the price tag isn’t too steep, and as we mentioned before grabbing 3 of your friends to play with only makes the experience more enriching. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Discord to know more about Honey’s Gaming, along with Twitch to know when we go live. Let us know how you feel in the comments below and if you’ve already dabbled with AereA then give us your point of view, we’d love to hear about your own personal experiences!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!