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Let our powers combine. Fire! Wind! Ice!

Aetherion is a roleplaying game made in one month by Anaryu, Krisanna and Solitayre, for the 2011 RMN Summer Games Competition, and the theme of the contest was Surrealism. Yes this is the review of another game of another ancient contest! But I like a lot these!!!

The world of Aetherion is a a place where dreams and reality are linked, but this world is also threatened by Raythe, bizarre otherworldly entities, real nightmares.
To protect the world from Raythe, the inhabitants created the ARC Institute to study the Aether, the obscure realm of the Raythe.
The protagonist is Edan, a new recruit at the ARC Institute that will discover the secrets of the Aether while trying to protect his world.
Edan is a naive young man that lived in a small village but he was selected to go to the ARC Institute probably for his great great ability to conjure and cast fire spells (most people underestimate him due to his quiet behaviour, like the bullies in the beginning of the game). Each character In this world (at least at the ARC Institute) seems to be able to cast some kind of elemental spell.

Yes, I said characters because Edan will be soon able to make some friends (one affine to the element of wind, the other to ice) that will join him, and that's convenient, since he will encounter the Raythe monsters and enter the Aether on very first day at the institute.
But this is not everything, because inside the Aether dimension they will find a man, yes, not a monster or a spirit, but a normal person like them. Who is this guy and what does he want? Things are more complex than what appears...

The game has also some optional dialogues that you can activate on the map in some occasions, exactly like in the "Tales" series

Aetherion is a simple party based rpg. Simple because game consists in a series of dialogues and a couple of short and linear dungeons... well, Aether dungeons to be precise, dreamlike places with floating chairs and rooms without walls (remember: the theme was surreality!). There are monsters, of course, that look like black butterflies and in some case they can be avoided. But if Edan touches them, combat starts! (except for bosses, that cannot be avoided at all, as usual!)

Combat difficulty is rather low (because characters always start every combat encounterat full health, no matter what happened before), but the system is unique and different: it's a classical ATB system, but the game also shows the opponents' moves, and you can interrupt them attacking before they can act.
Each character may equip three attack abilities (some are powerful but slow, others gots every opponent, and there are even attacks that weakens enemies or heals the attacker) and three support abilities (like healing, regeneration, buff attacks etc.).
Stronger abilities require accumulating power using the weaker ones (that can always be used), anyway using the ultimate abilities (the strongest ones of course) or switching between using attack skills and support skills reduce the accumulated power to zero. So select with attention the equipped abilities (you earn new ones earning levels, that even if they aren't called levels, they are still earned winning fights!) and plan your strategy. For example my favourite was using one or two attackers and leave one character as support/healer, anyway be prepared to adapt and change your tactics when meeting the bosses, that have some pecularities and require some thinking to be defeated.

Who is this guy and what happens next? Well... play the game!

The game doesn't let you flee from combat, but characters are automatically restored after each combat, and since there is no need to restore hitpoints or mana points, you will find no consumables at all. But loot is still present, in the form of accessories and equipments that enhance some abilities and characteristics.
Anyway if things go bad fo one of your characters, do not worry! Characters are never killed but are just unconscius for a while, and after some time (indicated by their life bar slowly re-filling) they will get up, ready to fight!

Visually the game uses a mix of RTPs, edits and original artworks: Krisanna did the art for the game and it's pretty cool! I especially liked the custom facesets that shows a lot of different facial expressions for each of the three protagonists. Raythe mnsters are also pretty weird, do not expect orcs or goblins! Musical instruments, living coins and a train are some of the enemies you will find in this game. Oh and music is pretty good too (I liked a lot the evocative menu theme, that pairs with the graphic style), also appropriate for the various situations that Edan and friends will face.

Do not worry for Edan, he'll recover soon!

Now let's instead face the...

Final Verdict
Aetherion is a short but enjoyable simple jrpg game that begins as the classical "new boy joins a team, makes friends and shows his skill". Like Harry Potter, more or less, yeah! But in this case then story is more centered on a particular companion, rather than on the protagonist, and this is original, so it's a merit.

The game has many original ideas and festures, and I also did not find many flaws, maybe that is short (two hours are enough to do everything, and in the end it looks like the introduction to a series rather than a stand alone game) , dungeons are nothing more corridors (ok they are little more... but just a little! No interactions or puzzles included, just hostile Raythe monsters!) and combat is really easy (even if frenetic) once you know what to do. But is this a good game? Well yes, it is polished, has custom art, mapping is adequate and nothing is out of place. Probably the only really annoying thing is that enemies sneak while the party is involved in dialogues, and bam! As soon as the dialogue finishes, they attack!

Anyway, for a game made for an contest, this is pretty good: original and with custom features not seen in other games. The setting is pretty unique and interesting, while characters are likeable, different and well characterized.
A good game indeed!


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Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
Thanks for the review! I wasn't expecting a game this old to get any more.
Thanks for the review! I wasn't expecting a game this old to get any more.

I still play and resume old treasures! :D was very good!
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