Review of Aurelia on XBLIG: Try
Probably the most L337 angel of 2D sidescrolling you’ll ever play. Fo’ realz, dawg!
This game is a traditional 2D side scrolling platformer that I feel would not have been too displaced on the Genesis. In fact, it seems to be designed for those of us who played the “racier” console and miss its quirky character games. All it needed was some copy touting the superior graphics due to “blast processing” and my semi-time warp would’ve been complete.
Aurelia is a beautiful, well rendered angelic-warrior who has to carry out missions given to her by God. God has a personality much more in keeping with Zeus than the Christian deity. You move the main character from left to right and kill things with her sword or thrown magic. There are coins to collect for points as well as vials to restore health/magic and change the type of magic you throw. The controlled character, Aurelia, can jump, double jump, swing her sword, and throw magic. When on the ground her sword stabs. When in the air her sword slashes downward. The blue magic is Holy Flame which shoots a single thin haduken at chest height. The green is Fairy Dust which is a double star burst at waist height. The yellow is Heaven’s Light which is 4 twirling arcs that come out in a cone fashion. Items can be overlooked in some of the more colorful stages as the palettes are similar and feel unnecessarily limited.
Enemies are predictable and have no real AI for the most part. Magic bursts emanating from them, however, do seem to try a little harder to kill you. None are plentiful enough to be worrisome but you do have them screen-scroll-respawn rather inconveniently at times. The larger ones have slightly more detailed animations (jowls and fat jiggles as they march back and forth) that the artist in me appreciates. Background graphics range from the eerie, detailed floating skulls whose eyes follow your progress around the screen to random paint splotches standing stationary behind the moderately detailed platforms. The music is ever-present, thumping and ultimately forgettable.
I am nowhere near as good at platformers as I once was and this one feels like it has the same limitations as when my black controller only had 3 buttons and a D-pad. Timing can be somewhat sketchy. I’m not sure if it’s my own ineptness or actual lag with the controls where sometimes you get that same “off by a pixel” miss or success you’d get with the Megaman series. Being unable to swing the damn sword upwards sends me into a fit of rage sometimes. I am also irked by being unable to duck/crouch or slash the sword while standing still on the ground or shoot magic while jumping in the air. And guess what. Only one life. W. T. F. BBQ!!!111!1!!! That kind of difficulty curve seemed fine to me back when I was good enough to beat Earthworm Jim but that time ain’t now. Also, the generation of health potions by killing enemies seems either low or non-existent.
I couldn’t figure out if there is any real point to changing the magic. All three seemed similarly useless to me most of the time so I tried to stay with Heaven’s Light as much as possible. Some help screen clarification on the magic types beforehand would’ve been greatly appreciated. Speech is text boxed and L337… or stereotypically ghetto. In the first five minutes of the game God literally says that he’d like to “tap dat ass” and then lolz. Yes, God lolz. I suppose this is supposed to be just as endearingly quirky as Bubsy, Toejam & Earl, or Sonic but it just reads as stupid and unnecessarily juvenile to me (yeah, shut your trap out of touch old lady…).
I get motion sick sometimes while playing games with movement in too many directions. Getting through the stage with the moving paint-splotch backgrounds that had circling floating skulls with moving eyes was torment for me. Especially when I had to jump. Which was often due to the number of platforms and enemies.
Despite my f4!L!n6 and inability to finish the game, I found Aurelia enjoyable and a good throwback game. I give it a Try. See if it sparks the same sort of wistful memories of all day gaming with siblings and friends for you that it did with me. At only 80 points, this game seems worth a buy if you like a bit of challenge.
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