Game Review: AER: Memories of Old
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

3 of 5 stars
I grabbed this game on discount yesterday because I liked the idea of having a character who could fly. The game world is set up so the land is composed of a bunch of small, floating islands. You play as a shapeshifter who turns into a bird so that you can explore those islands. That game dynamic is very fun and I was happy with the experience.

The story line of the game is that you're on a pilgrimage to visit the three temples of your world. Mostly it seems like the story is just a series of scrolls dispersed throughout the world that you can access to basically learn the history and philosophy of the game world. The gist is that humans were greedy, a megalomaniac king tried to become a god, and the world was broken (literally). A priestess in touch with the animal spirits led a group of people into the sky and made a deal with three immortal beings to help her guard the world from the void that had poisoned the human's hearts.

Beyond the novelty of flying there wasn't a whole lot of depth to the game play. Each of the three temples contains a series of puzzles that eventually lead you to one of the immortal beings. After talking to all three, the door to the tower in the center of the map is opened and you can head there for the endgame. The entire game, taking my time and enjoying the exploration aspect, took maybe five hours. You could probably do it in two if you rushed through.

My biggest criticism for this game was the ending. Not only did it not feel particularly resolved . . . the entire ending is done in cut scene. You don't actually *do* anything after walking through the final door. There's a little running along a path and a few speech interjections from your guide, but the player has absolutely nothing to do at the end. I feel like there could at least have been one final puzzle to let the player feel like they were engaged rather than just watching a movie.

I'm not sure this game has any real replay value, but I do think I'll revisit the world when I just want the relaxing fun of flying around. The graphics are minimalistic (blocky polygons) but enjoyably whimsical, and the islands offer a lot of beautiful diversity that are fun to explore so long as that's all you're expecting to get out of it. There's also a nice soundtrack that matches nicely with the relaxed exploration vibe. I'm not sure how much this game costs when not on sale, but it was most definitely worth what I paid for a few hours of laid back entertainment.