AER: Memories of Old review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Here?s the thing about AER: Memories of Old: as a game, it?s pretty middling. It asks players to fly around a fairly empty world, searching for clues and, occasionally, finding a dungeon in which you have to solve a multi-stage puzzle. None of it is bad, necessarily, but given how sparsely-populated the world is and how few and far between those puzzles are, it?s certainly not good either.

And yet, if pressed, I think I?d recommend checking it out. Not too enthusiastically, of course: like I just said, it?s pretty lacking in terms of stuff like fun gameplay or clear goals. At the same time, however, what AER lacks in the focused gameplay department, it more than makes up for when it comes to pointless wandering and exploration.

How good is it at that aspect? So good that I?m not even using ?pointless? in a pejorative way. In fact, I almost mean it as a compliment. AER is great for when you just feel like turning a game on and exploring the world: not in search of anything particular, but just moving around.

Because, as iffy as it is in most other respects, AER is second-to-none when it comes to its core mechanic of flying. Playing as a shape-shifting girl named Auk, you?re able to jump off any of this game?s many floating islands and just soar. There are no pick-ups to be found, no ?flight metre? to keep an eye on, no complicated controls: Auk just flies through the sky without a care in the world.

Admittedly, AER might have been a little more enjoyable if she?d had some clear purpose for flying around her world, or if the sights surrounding her were a little more breathtaking. I mean, they?re certainly not ugly, and there are points where you might even say that AER is stylish. But there?s nothing breathtaking, and if you go in hoping for that, you?ll be letdown.

But if you go in looking for a game that won?t push you too hard, that?s perfect for when you just want to shut your brain off and float, then it?s hard to think of anything better. AER?s successes are somewhat modest, but that?s really all that they need to be to make it a game worth considering.

Daedalic Entertainment provided us with a AER: Memories of Old Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: B-