by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
A classic dream is one where you’re flying above everything and everyone else, but what if you could actually do that? Developer Forgotten Key has teamed up with publisher Daedalic Entertainment to bring you AER, a game where you can turn into a bird at will. The aim is to give the player that experience of flying, and the team has been working hard on getting that feeling exactly right.
AER is a third-person exploration adventure where you play as Auk, a girl who is on a pilgrimage to become an AER Priestess. Along the way, she explores this world in the clouds both on foot and on the wing. Auk’s rare gift is that she can turn into a bird, allowing her to be one of the few who can reach the most remote places in her flying-islands homeland. Dark forces called the Old Gods are threatening the world, and it is up to Auk to help protect the world from the encroaching shadows.
To do this, she must visit ancient shrines scattered throughout the landscape. These mysterious shrines have the spooky memories of people who have been killed by the Old Gods and are now frozen in time around them. To get to these shrines, Auk must run, jump, and soar her way around the world. When in bird form, you can flap your wings to go higher, and otherwise you glide gently around, and it seems to control rather intuitively.
This surreal world is enhanced its graphical style. Despite featuring low polycount textures, AER is visually very appealing due to the use of colours and many beautifully designed environments. There is a light, dreamlike sense attached to the way everything looks as well as the movements of the main character. From the faceless characters, to the pink polygon stags and the ethereal music, everything in AER is designed to immerse you in this strange place.
The developers stressed that this is a game centered around gameplay and the way the movement feels. If exploring a world in the clouds and revealing the beauty and dangers that lie within it appeals to you, then keep an eye out for AER coming some time in 2016.