AER: Memories of Old (Review)
Small teams can do big things, So at this point in videogame history, it’s no big surprise when good things come out of small studios. And this was my initial response to AER: Memories of Old when I first played it. I had (arguably unfair) expectations for greatness built up in my mind that went unfulfilled. Not to say that AER is a bad game—it’s still worth playing for a lot of reasons I’ll get into.
AER: Memories of Old was made by Forgotten Key: a team of five out of Sweden. It started out as a team of four students of the Blekinge Institute of Technology. Over the course of five years, this team set out to create an open world game with a heavy focus on exploration. The studio mandate is to create atmospheric games, and they achieved that.
AER is set in a beautiful world with gorgeous illustrations. The hexagonal character design makes for graceful AI interactions and kinetic movement throughout the gameplay. The stylised, airy environment creates an immersive experience with its sunset hues, dark, claustrophobic caves, and crystaline-fantasy caverns. It creates the feeling of warmth and cold progressively as you move throughout the different regions. You feel exactly the way you should in each space, from the sunny, friendly homestead (those baby sheep that follow you around with hearts over their heads made me squeal with joy), to the frost-bitten cave of the Bear that made me physically shiver when I entered it. Although the details were sporadic and spaced out, the ones found were eye-catching and made me want a closer inspection.