Justice Playthrough #37: Aerannis

Almost, man. Almost.

Page 12, Game 5: Aerannis by ff

In the side-scrolling Aerannis, you play a rebel in a matriarchal man-free corporate dystopia. You’re part assassin, part warrior, and you’re here to kick some ass. Sneak around! Shoot things! Jump! Distract those guards! Grab ’em when their backs are turned and shoot ’em in their stupid guard faces!

Everything about this game is SO CLOSE to working that I want to round it up to awesome … but I just can’t. The combat is ever so slightly too clumsy to be exciting, and is just as likely to be annoying. (Why can I only shoot in the same plane as me? Why can I not aim above me, or below me? When the shit hits the fan, why is it so hard to shoot things that have gotten all up in my face?) The platforming is just a bit too sloppy to really feel kinetic and engaging. (Sometimes I can grab that ledge, sometimes I can’t. Sometimes, the only way to tell what’s grabbable is to launch myself at it and see what happens.) The stealth kinda works and is very heavily dependent on using available terrain, but that’s fine; I’m less enamored of how certain sections MANDATE stealth, and impose an arbitrary loss condition on you when you fuck it up.

The story feels close to engaging me without ever quite managing to do it; I’m multiple hours into the game, and still hazy on who I am or who I’m fighting against. The missions can be a bit opaque, and leave a lot of ambiguity about just what the hell I’m supposed to do next. (The final straw was the one that admonished me to go explore an area I’d just “opened up,” presumably by means of my recently-acquired speed boost. Sorry, lady, I have no idea what you’re talking about, so if I pick this back up, I’ll just blunder around at random until I stumble across some plot.)

This game looks and feels very professional, at least on the surface. But something about actually playing it gives me the impression that it was a few more rounds of refinement short of being what it actually could be, and that’s a shame.

It’s not exactly a game I can recommend … but not one I recommend against, either. It does more or less live up to its description as “A stealth-action metroidvania”, so what the hell, if that sounds exciting to you, it may be worth a look. Or maybe not.

But will it compare with:

Page 30, Game 3: Touhou Fan Game Jam Black Lives Matter Collection by CopperChihuahua

“A collection of Touhou Fan Game Jam games donated to itch’s Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality”

Sounds like another bundle within the bundle — bundled specifically for the bundle! So many bundles!