Aeterna Noctis doesn’t waste time with a grand opening telling the player of two souls forced to battle for dominance and everlasting balance till the time ends. You are thrown into the shoes of the King of Darkness, who has lost this time to the Queen of Light and now must—once again—regain his strength to fight her for the rule of the world. We love epic tales of power struggles here at Honey’s Anime, and Aeterna Noctis really grips you initially with the wonderful presentation and story of this bizarre world. However, does the gameplay match the excellent story, or does it fail to be as grandiose? We shall find out in our look at Aeterna Noctis!
A Queen and King Caught in a Loop
Taking control of the King of Darkness, players quickly discover what type of warrior this “man” is, and how he grows tired of this endless cycle he’s been forced into with the Queen of Light. The story for Aeterna Noctis is hands down the selling point for us as we love the narrative and lore scattered throughout the world, and learning more of this painful conquest both rulers have with one another. Sadly, this is where our love for Aeterna Noctis begins to wane, as the gameplay is both compelling and extremely frustrating.
Difficulty Doesn’t Always Mean Joy
Aeterna Noctis copies the difficulty challenge found in games like Dark Souls and Castlevania—where lots of themes are taken from—and runs wild with it. Combat is quick and engaging but often makes you want to throw your controller into a metal crusher as you deal with enemies who can be extremely cheap. It doesn’t help that attacking enemies causes knockback—which will throw you often off platforms—and can really be annoying in some later segments. Combat, though, is only one part of Aeterna Noctis. There is a focus on platforming, and that is where we really get frustrated.
Jumping and platforming in Aeterna Noctis feel like dancing on a floor that’s tilting sideways. We love the Super Meat Boy inspired moves you need to pull off to avoid pitfalls and flying spikes, but still felt a lot of segments were a bit unfair. You will gain powers and abilities that make movement easier as you advance, but they still don’t remove the cheap deaths from random acts you need to perform. Aeterna Noctis can be a bit overly cheap, and that will detour a lot of gamers away.
Retro isn’t Always Best
Retro games are often the biggest inspiration for a lot of modern-day indie titles, and you can certainly see that in Aeterna Noctis. However, the retro concepts in Aeterna Noctis aren’t always pleasant. Knockback—which we mentioned a moment ago—isn’t a fun gameplay element, and that, alongside the extremely tough platforming in Aeterna Noctis, ruins the overall experience. Some gamers might find it fun—especially retro enthusiasts—but we think some of these mechanics could have been removed to attract more people.
Aeterna Noctis will appeal to those who love Castlevania and hard-as-nails retro platformers, but that will also turn many gamers away. We loved the story and visuals, though!
Do you agree with our thoughts on Aeterna Noctis or feel differently? Let us know via the comments below! And for even more game reviews and news, keep stuck to our everlasting hive here at Honey’s Anime!