Aeterna Noctis is an action-packed hand-drawn 2D metroidvania, developed and published by Aeternum Game Studios. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and XBox, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
Aeterna Noctis is set in a stunning fantasy world, and tells the story of the King of Darkness. The inhabitants of Aeterna Noctis chose to rebel against their creator who is a God known as Chaos, who decides to unleash his fury on the people. Chaos condemns your character, the King of Darkness and the Queen of Light and triggers an eternal war which then brings forth an age of agony, pain and hatred. Now, you have been stripped of all your powers because of your rebellion and as you progress you’ll regain these abilities to help with the journey to become the King of Darkness and find a way to unite a fallen and divided world. There are 16 separate worlds to explore and the general pattern has you starting at a throne and then exploring around the world using various platforming skills.
Your aim in each world is to find the crystal and unlock new abilities along the way. If you die, you're transported back to the throne and you must return to where you died to collect the resources that you lost, so in this sense there are certainly some Souls-lite features. The general gameplay isn’t massively difficult, however, for me the main challenge kicked in during boss fights who all had some obnoxious attacks and tricky patterns to nail. Another challenge for me was the precision required in the platforming; when I say precision I literally mean pinpoint, pixel accuracy was required in some places and on odd occasions I was really struggling to land my character in just the right place as I attempted to traverse through the areas. There were a few occasions where I felt a slight bit of input lag but I couldn’t decide whether it was that or simply the physics of the game itself because once I got used to it I struggled a lot less. Apart from that slight adjustment required for the physics, Aeterna Noctis felt smooth and all the combat felt very fluid and this feeling of fluidity only grew more as I progressed further and unlocked more abilities.
As I ventured my way through the various areas, I couldn’t help but appreciate how different and unique they felt in every sense - the hand-drawn visuals were really impressive and then coupled with the excellent soundtrack it just added to that feeling of fluidity that I discussed earlier. During boss fights I really appreciated the soundscape that brought even more tension as I tried to learn the patterns and ultimately beat the boss.
I enjoyed Aeterna Noctis, with its stunning visuals coupled with fun and ever developing gameplay. It all made for a very enjoyable experience. Throughout I was reminded constantly of other similar games that I adored including Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights and Tails of Iron. Fans of either of these games will quickly feel a connection to Aeterna Noctis. There’s ample content to enjoy as well so for anyone that likes a well crafted world, Aeterna Noctis is for you. Alongside the main story there are an abundance of optional bosses and side quests to wander off and enjoy with collectables for the perfectionists.
Lj’s Rating: 4 out of 5.
For more information on Aeterna Noctis please use the following links...
Many thanks to Aeternum Game Studios for the Review Key.