Monday, June 13, 2016

The Aetherlight - Online Game Review

Title: The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance

Created by (taken from here): Scarlet City Studios

Scarlet City Studios is a small New Zealand-based gaming studio with an epic goal: to take the greatest story ever told and re-tell it for a digital generation. Established in 2012 to advance the historic mission of a postal Sunday school ministry, Scarlet City took the grand tale of the Bible and reimagined it as a steampunk, allegorical story that would be entertaining, educational, formational and creative. With the launch of The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance, the studio’s ongoing mission is to tell great stories, nurture genuine innovation, and foster rich encounters. For more information, visit

About the Game (taken from here):
Once a beautiful land, Aethasia is now covered by a sickly pervasive fog that corrupts everything it touches. But all is not lost. Rumors are spreading of a fledgling Resistance, who have the courage and audacity to try and restore Aethasia to its former glory, and to reinstate The Great Engineer back to the throne of Aethasia.

And that Resistance needs you!

I received this game for review from BuzzPlant. I only received the first episode/chapter/part but I did not complete it. There are two people that played it, my son Brayden (who is 5 turning 6) and myself.
Since this game was for children who could read, I had to play with my son when he played, but I also played by myself several times. Both of our opinions are scattered throughout this review.
My son Brayden has been playing video games since before he was 2 years old. He started playing Xbox (even if he wasn't holding the controller correctly.) 

 Once he got the hang of video games, he can pretty much play any system now. He can play Xbox 360 and One, Playstation 3 and 4, Wii and Wii U, Computer, Ipad, Phone etc. He is pretty well versed in the way that games work, even if he cannot read yet. He can pick up pretty easy sight words, but can't read anything yet. When we first started up Aetherlight, I realized that this was a game for kids that could read and understand. Their target audience isn't displayed anywhere on the site, but from playing it I would say that 8+ would be the audience for this game.

You create the character/account for you child online. Then you can sign into your parent account to view their account and control their online interactions. I like that you can turn off the chat (there is no reason for my 5 year old to chat online) and you can see what they are doing. They also send you emails as your child progresses through the game. These emails contain information that I didn't see in the game. They explained things in a more descriptive manner that made way more sense that what they tell you in the game. I knew things about the game that I wouldn't have known, by just playing it. Which I thought was very interesting. They expanded on topics in the game, gave scripture and different things for you to talk about with your child. This was a very cool aspect, sometimes its hard to talk to your child about a game that you are not playing. With these emails you can stay in the loop and even hint to things that can happen further on in the game. ;) Earning you a greater level of cool. Making you essential to make this game make sense.

Brayden started up the game and it took him about 15-20 minutes to truly figure out how to game worked. The game starts up and it gives you a little bit of backstory, and then just throws you into it. You aren't show how to control the characters, or where your toolbars are. The progression in the beginning is slow and arduous, having to watch several things happen. They try and introduce your HUD to you, but it's not laid out in a very eye catching way. When they introduce the top left hand corner where people will talk to you, my son got stuck for a few minutes. Wondering why he couldn't move anywhere. Because of his age, I did have to walk him through the beginning of the game. It had an interesting setting. Aethasia is a downtrodden land that is kind of steampunk-esque. You are a part of a revolution that you don't really understand but support for some reason. Once you can leave the beginning part, then you can start to fight.

The fighting style is pretty simple to catch on to. Again, there isn't much explanation. They just kind of expect you to know what to do. You have to click on the colored spot for it to actually hit the enemy. You have a few weapons in the beginning and they also introduce clothing. You can change what you are wearing, and then you can pick up things to change the colors. (Don't really understand that, you don't get a description of things when you pick them up. I've always just accidentally used the color changer item to change the colors)

 When you win battles you get chances on the gears to win different objects. These are essential because you do not find lots of places to pick up items. You need these resources throughout the game, but they are scarce and hard to find. You would think that the resources would regenerate after 45 mins -1 hour, since this is a game that they expect children to play online with their friends. But in my experience the resources would not show up again until the next day.

You also receive missions throughout the game. This gives you some direction about where you need to go. But some missions my son would get stuck on for awhile, because it wasn't clear what you had to do. There were some that I didn't even understand. When you start the game you get this mission to paint a new sign, but no direction about how to get the paint. You can ask several characters where to get paint, and where to get the colors. After several attempts to figure out how to paint the sign, I am proud to say that I figured it out, but my son would never have been able to get it. It didn't even make sense to me. I didn't get it until I took all of my items and just kept dragging them onto the paint, until one of them worked. >< 

You could see several people online, and they would be running around battling. They were different levels, and in different parts of the game. When I would try and ask people to help me with certain parts of the game, they would agree. They would go to follow me to the area that I needed help in, we would be in the same spot of the loading screen. I would load to the next area, and then they wouldn't be there. My theory is that they did load to that part of the game, but because we had different missions completed we were not able to see each other. They had several versions of different locations, this made it hard to see other people online because we were at different parts of the same storyline, but in the same locations. I'm not sure if that makes complete sense, but basically it made it hard to play with people online. They push a lot about playing online with friends.

Once you get up past level 5 as well, the enemies get harder. You are up against 2-3 enemies every fight. If you are by yourself, you are outnumbered and easily defeated. I found it easier to battle alongside people, when they were in the same area together. I was trying to advance in the mission, but I kept getting killed by groups of 3 robots and I could never get anyone to help me. It was quite annoying.

All in all, the game was a good play. My son likes to go back and just fight the robots. He will go around with people online and join in their fights. You can call for help (people can see it if they are walking by your fight) and they can join in. 

I have gotten stuck in the story line, and I need to level up more before I can move on. It's going to take a lot of work, the aether meter keeps resetting when you go into the game, so you have to keep filling it up. In my mind, they expect this game to be like World of Warcraft, but safe and for kids. This is a game that they want kids to play when they get home from school every day. I think it was a easily constructed, pretty game. Not for first time players, because you need to know what you are doing. Enjoyable nonetheless, we are happy to have been asked to play this game and review it! The characters were fun to get to know, and the world was exciting to run around in. Check it out for yourself! 

1 comment:

Nora said...

I appreciated your detailed review and all the pictures. I appreciate your insight because you and your son are experienced gamesters.