Aero's Quest: Puzzle-Platforming in the name of love

If a psychopathic genius kidnapped the love of your life and turned you into a high-tech cyborg, what would you do? That is the central premise behind Aero’s  Quest, a 2D platformer that brings the best out of the puzzle genre. Developed by Ravenseye Studios and published by Soloweb N.V.,  Aero’s Quest puts players in charge of a bubbly young hero named Aero who embarks on a perilous quest to save his beloved Ariella from the clutches of the evil scientist Andraus. To succeed, he must traverse a plethora of trap-infested levels, and overcome the fiendish puzzles that stand in his path.

The first thing that impressed me about Aero’s Quest was the energetic music accompanying the menu screen. It sets excitement levels high and raises anticipation as you launch the tutorial. The tutorial introduces you to several important game features: The timed aspect of the game, the different power ups, and the basic controls-which can be executed via controller or keyboard. The aim of the game is to reach the end of each level, where Ariella and her drone buddy are waiting to be rescued. They are both locked within a cell, which can only be unlocked if you step on various switches and activate them.

Aero’s Quest does an excellent job preparing players for the journey ahead, and offers visual and audio cues to alert the players when things are happening. Crisp and clear instructions come just in time, as the game announces the name of one of the five exciting power ups you can collect, or the precise moment you’ve opened a cell. These instructions are shown on-screen and come with a booming voice over, preventing players from ever feeling too confused.

After getting the basics down pat in the tutorial, the actual levels to explore include forests, volcanoes, glaciers, and a fungal city world. The artistry of the backgrounds, while cartoonish, is also beautiful, something which I felt rang true for the character design as well. In each world, players have just 50 seconds to reach their destination, or the time abruptly ends, forcing them to start the level from the beginning. Without any checkpoints, this was sometimes quite frustrating, but the level of difficulty was never too daunting.

Aero’s Quest kept me consistently entertained with its falling blocks, crazy enemies, and awesome teleportation machines, with the only minor letdown being that you can get stuck in some areas with no way out. My favorite thing about the game, however, was the morbid sense of humor used in the design of Aero’s gruesome yet wickedly funny death animations. Oh, the things we would do for love!

Aero’s Quest is currently in development and slated for release on PC, Mac, and Linux systems, and possibly coming to next-gen consoles as well. If you like easy to pick up platformers that stimulate both your brain and your heartstrings, then this game is for you.

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