AeternoBlade has proven the biggest workout my thumb has received all year. It’s an action platformer that falls short on almost every category, and sadly doesn’t do much right. I really wanted to enjoy AeternoBlade, but a plethora of problems held me back.
Now, you can’t really judge a platforming game on its story, but since its there and you’re forced to watch the numerous short dialogue sequences, it must be discussed. Freya, a young woman who lived in a village that was destroyed by an evil spirit that goes by the name Beladim, is seeking revenge. You are seeking to exact your revenge by ways of the Aeternoblade, a powerful sword that has time altering abilities. This leads to a completely predictable and overall boring story-line for the game. I felt no reason to care about the characters and it became routine to just glance over the lines to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important and then mash the x button to skip. The dialogue is there to tell you what to do, but doesn’t do it well. For example, in one of the levels I was reading the dialogue and all of a sudden it stopped and I had to start playing with no idea what to do. It took me an hour to figure out where I needed to go, and was extremely frustrating. The story of AeternoBlade is boring at best, and honestly just gets in the way of the actual game.
Sadly, the actual game isn’t much better. When the game begins, you have two basic inputs; a jump and an attack button. From there you run, kill a couple enemies, run again, kill a couple enemies again, and so on. This is the diminutive base for all of the other attack modifiers to jump off of which made me nervous. In most platformer action games, you are given at least a heavy and a light attack for combos. However in AeternoBlade, everything is based around the square button. Running up to enemies for 6 hours and mashing the square button over and over again gets incredibly boring in a short amount of time, believe me. Thankfully, throughout the progression your blade becomes upgraded with time powers. By the time you get all of them, you can rewind time and set certain points to warp back to at any time. Again, these go underutilized in combat and the game’s only hope doesn’t save it from becoming a grind very quickly.
The only other combat depth that is provided are collectible relics that you can attach to your character and gold orbs that are collected from enemies. The relics are found by defeating enemies and are dropped at random intervals. They add basic stat boosts like increased attack, more mana to use your time powers and so on. These are cool but don’t really add much to the fun of the game and drop way too infrequently. The gold orbs are translated into an in-game currency that you can purchase character upgrades and new attacks with. The character upgrades are simple like the relics but the move menu adds an illusion of depth that is very deceiving. You can purchase an assortment of new attacks that are nevertheless still all attached to the square button. Also, the dash attack which is necessary to help defeat most enemies is hidden in this menu for people to find. The confusing UI and false depth made it frustrating to even browse the menus.
I’ve been talking about the repetition of the attacks in this review a lot, but it carries on to other things as well. All of the enemies in the game are reused for other levels. You might fight the blue knight in one area and then fight the slightly harder black knight in another. It just tacks on to the already grindy gameplay and weak story that plagues AeternoBlade from the beginning.
But giving credit where credit is due, some things about the game made it fun to progress. At the end of every world, there is a boss to fight. All of the bosses were very well done and had extremely fun attack patterns. I would always look forward to the boss battles because they added a lot of spice and interesting variants to the gameplay. Another thing that keeps the game interesting are the puzzles that are dispersed throughout the game. They make you use the time mechanics to get up a platform or pass a locked door, for example. They were fun, got you thinking, and were great to break up the large combat sections of the game.
The art in AeternoBlade definitely won’t win awards but isn’t that bad either. My problem with it was the large differential between certain aspects of the game. The main character had an astonishing amount of detail and looked wonderful while some of the other visuals did not. The ground and the backgrounds usually didn’t have much texture and threw me off occasionally. Other than that, all of the enemies and characters looked great, I just wish there was more of a consistency in the graphics. The music, however, is something I can’t compliment. Playing out of the speakers on the Vita or into headphones the game sounds really metallic with low audio fidelity. The actual music that’s playing isn’t very good either. It’s bland, forgettable, and oftentimes I would just turn on a Spotify playlist instead of listening to the game audio.
The saddest thing about AeternoBlade is that it’s a good idea. The time traveling mechanics work great with puzzles but fall short in the combat. Also, the game gets repetitive very fast, and becomes a grind almost instantaneously. The story doesn’t help the game get any more interesting either. AeternoBlade is very easily forgettable, and will sooner or later be grouped with all of the other failed metroidvania ideas.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Fun puzzles.
- Cool boss battles.
What I Dislike:
- Extremely repetitive.
- Boring combat system.
- Weak story.
- Poor music quality.