Aery – Dreamscape Review
Fly through people’s deepest desires as a bird. And, no, Aery – Dreamscape isn’t an adult game.
Because it turns out everybody’s deepest desires are things like “be a pirate”, “visit the moon” or “get out in nature”. Not a single level begins with the phrase “hey, you know that girl from Friends?”
Maybe that would have been a better game – its not for me to judge – but it would have been a different game.
This one is supposed to be relaxing, taking you through a colourful dreamscape as a semi-calming voice says not very interesting things.
It works, up to a point. But it quickly becomes clear where that point is.
Aery A Problem
Pick a level from an office-themed overworld, then be taken into one of the worker’s dreams. You do this by flying as a bird, collecting tokens which reveal an additional sentence of story. Each level has between about 20 and 30 tokens to collect. Then you’re done.
The story is basically non-existent. You hear one guy – it’s the same voice regardless of character (including gender) – talk about how exciting nature is. Or what an awesome life it is as a Viking.
It’s meant to be background. It’s designed to not have you think very much about it and they succeeded there. If you could think about it, you’d stop playing.
Some of the stories are strange, as though written from the perspective of children. One guy talks about his mom cleaning his room, another about having to do homework. This gives the middle-aged office workers a whole new slant.
The controls are fine, but travel is a little slow. The giant maps take an age to explore and you can’t always immediately see the next token. An arrow marker would help with that, and would make it a far more relaxing experience.
Not being able to find a token leads to the game’s biggest problem. If you clip anything in a level that isn’t a token, you’re magically transported to the beginning of the level. This is extra frustrating when you haven’t actually hit anything, it has just glitched. It can take minutes to get back to where you were and – surprise, surprise – it clips again, and you start right at the beginning.
As well as being long, the maps are lifeless. They look fun but there’s little reason to explore. You’ll see everything as you travel. This becomes more frustrating when you realise you’ve lost track of the next token.
There’s also an odd camera issue when you’re rushing. It warps the edges of the screen. This made me feel a little sick at times.
Graphics and Sound
The visuals are a kind of faux-PS1 kind of look, and it works quite well. It certainly suits the colourful nature of the game, and at times it can be quite pretty. Other times, not so much. But that’s the nature of the style.
On the whole it works pretty well, but there’s one level in particular which just didn’t work at all. That wasn’t so much because of style, but because it was broken. Objects popped in and out of existence on a whim.
The music is probably the stand-out part of the game. It’s pretty good, and definitely on the more relaxing side.
Aery – Dreamscape – Conclusion
Aery is not a great game. The stories don’t hold your attention, the worlds – while colourful – are lifeless. But it’s not necessarily trying to be that kind of experience.
Instead, it tries to place itself as a “relaxer”. And for that it works well enough.