The tiny Icelandic developer of Aaru's Awakening, Lumenox Games, has created something both visually and mechanically compelling with their PC puzzle-platformer. Utilizing fully hand-drawn animation, which lends the game an loose, sketchy feel, and a combination of platforming mechanics make Aaru's Awakening an indie game worth keeping an eye on.
Players move through four themed worlds — dawn, day, dusk and night — as Aaru, a woolly beast with the power to charge through and shatter walls, and the ability to teleport. The combination of those two talents helps Aaru navigate the harsh environments of Aaru's Awakening.
Aaru's mission is to restore order between the four worlds, each of which is controlled by a god. As the night god attempts to expand his power and control, the god of dawn seeks to restore balance with Aaru's help.
In the PAX Prime demo we played at the Indie Megabooth, we controlled Aaru's with mouse and keyboard. With the WASD keys, we moved Aaru left and right, jumping over obstacles and charging in a short, destructive burst with the space bar. With the mouse, we could control a reticle that let us aim a glowing ball. After firing that ball, which bounces off surfaces, Aaru can teleport to its location.
Platforming with Aaru requires quick reflexes. In the day environment, we had to navigate harsh, burning light and pools of molten lava. Progressing forward required using Aaru's teleportation ball, which could be tossed into a narrow tunnel, for example, then activated when the ball had bounded through the tunnel into an open space. Teleportation is key to progressing past environmental hazards, like burning rays of sunshine. It's also one of Aaru's methods of attack. He can teleport into some enemies, ripping them apart from within.
Gameplay video of Aaru's abilities and the game's platforming challenges better illustrate how Aaru's Awakening plays.
Aaru's Awakening is a challenging platformer and requires a serious amount of trial and error — not to mention a great deal of patience. But the PC game offers an intriguing, addictive challenge that makes up for some control quirks and frequent deaths.
The game is currently up for voting on Steam Greenlight. Aaru's Awakening is bound for Windows PC, Mac and Linux.