When I arrived at the Cognitive Forge booth at PAX this year for my meeting with Anthony Liew (Project Manager, Programmer and Marketer), I immediately thought I was in for another Terraria / Starbound clone. As a fan of those games that wouldn’t have been a bad thing of course, but I thought we might be a bit past that genre now. Happily I was wrong. Very wrong.
While Aura of Worlds shares a certain visual style with those games (retro is very ‘hip’ right now), the game is in fact so much more –
Aura of Worlds is a creative strategy roguelike platformer. It has a strong focus on exploration, improvisation and manipulating the environment to your advantage. The game currently has over 50 unique enemies and traps in addition to several bosses. It also features over 7 level themes that drastically change the layout and challenges of each level.
I spent some hands on time with Aura of Worlds and thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. In fact, I had to be asked politely to hop off the demo machine so that the queue of people forming behind me could also have a turn. As someone who often gets frustrated with ‘rogue’ games this should hopefully speak volumes.
Controls are tight, precise and intuitive which is exactly what you need for a game like Aura of Worlds. While the earlier levels are fairly simple to move through, things quickly become more complex with all manner of lethal scenarios looking to snuff out your life. On one map large portions of the level were dark, requiring me to hold a light, although doing so meant I wasn’t able to use my weapon. In another a waterfall of deadly slime was cascading down the map and I had to move post haste towards the exit, although doing so meant I left behind quite a bit of loot.
One thing I appreciated about the game was that, despite levels being procedurally generated they often allowed the player to solve the various challenges presented in more than one way. Play evasive and defensive, aggressive and head-strong or a mixture of the two. Or perhaps you’ll just find an explosive, blow a huge hole in the wall and strut over the debris to the exit. To succeed though, one thing you will definitely need to do is be aware of your environment. Often you’ll need to interact with a torch, crate or lever to proceed or win loot. There is also an inventory system you’ll need to manage as you slowly improve your equipment.
Aura of Worlds
One thing is for certain; my time with Aura of Worlds has left me thirsty for more. The game is due for release on Steam sometime around February, March or April of 2018. If you can’t wait that long the game already has an early access version on Itch.IO that you can pick up now.
Hopefully we can get our hands on a complete or near complete version of the game soon so we can bring you a much more thorough review, but for now throw it on your Steam Wishlist and keep an eye out.