Review: Aaru’s Awakening

Aaru’s Awakening
2.01 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], PS4, Steam
Release Date
Single Player

Platformers never cease to entertain me. I have played so many throughout my gaming life and yet every time a new one comes along it fills me with anticipation and excitement. Aaru’s Awakening was next in line to satiate my need for platforming goodness.

Coming from a small team of 8 based in Iceland making up Lumenox Games, Aaru’s Awakening is set many, many years ago. The Earth was plagued with War between four brothers. Dawn, Day, Dusk and Night. In order to reach peace the four brothers made a deal to each rule the Earth for equal amounts of time. One of the brothers, Dawn, decides to keep hold of his champion from the War and awaken him. Enter Aaru.


Playing as Aaru (pronounced ‘Ah-roo’) you are tasked by Dawn to travel through his brothers domains to stop a dark force that is coming from Night’s domain, but something doesn’t seem right. Each domain consists of four platforming levels and a boss level.

Whilst controlling Aaru, you can jump, dash and teleport to make your way across the treacherous lands of each domain. Your ability to dash after jumping can break through brittle rocks and you can use the teleport ability by firing little yellow orbs to destroy enemies or get through obstacles that would otherwise kill you. Once an orb has been fired with the RT button (default layout) you can then press the RB button to teleport to where the orb is.

The teleport orb can also be fired at different rates of speed dependant on how long you hold down the LT button, and I would say you probably need to get used to using different firing speeds to get to the end of the game.

For some reason the trigger and bumper buttons are the only buttons used for jumping and teleporting. This makes the controls feel awkward and unnatural. Personally I would much prefer the A button to be doing my jumping. Although there is an option to remap your controls, you can only switch around between the bumper and trigger buttons which is a real shame.

Each level is timed and upon completion you will be awarded with a bronze, silver or gold medal based on your completion time. It makes no difference to your score how many times you die.

The first few levels are very manageable and I found myself breezing through them first time with a gold time. By the time I got to the second domain I was beginning to struggle to keep those gold times. With a bit of practice though, I was able to nail the gold times down. This is where frustration can certainly set in. Doing the same level over and over trying to better your time to a gold standard can become tedious, but you get a nice sense of accomplishment when you finally achieve a gold time.


2nd in the World? I’ll take that!

The story is beautifully written. I am often guilty of skipping cut scenes or if they cannot be skipped, doing something else to pass the time. Each part of the story is told over mainly static images that are truly stunning. The Narrator’s voice is quite enchanting and as the story progressed I found myself wanting to progress through the game further to find out the truth.

After completing the game you unlock Hardcore mode. It is appropriately named. To complete Hardcore mode you have to finish the entire game without dying once. I don’t think I completed more than 3 or 4 levels without dying a handful of times so Hardcore mode is very much out of reach for me and the majority of gamers out there.

You can get the full 1000 gamerscore by finishing each level with a gold time. However, four achievements each for 0 gamerscore require you to complete each domain on hardcore, so completionists beware.

Although Aaru’s Awakening is a truly beautiful game, with a solid story to boot, the gameplay outside of Hardcore mode only lasts a few hours and the controls can be a bit awkward at times. If you can look passed how short the game is, there is a lot of fun to be had with Aaru’s Awakening.

A code for the game was provided by the Publisher for the purpose of this review.

1) Stunning artwork
2) Great story
1) Too Short
2) Hardcore mode is…too hardcore
3) Controls are unnatural


Review: Tower of Guns

Tower of Guns
$14.99 / £11.99
1.15 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], PS4
Release Date
Grip Games / Terrible Posture Games
Grip Games
Single player

Tower of Guns is a manic Roguelike First Person Shooter. The object of the game is to clear out the ever changing stages in the tower and defeat the bosses, (which happen to be MASSIVE guns) on that floor to move up the tower. With it being a Roguelike game, each floor layout is randomly generated along with the enemies that spawn each time you play, so the amount of replayability in this game is fantastic.

There are a slew of menacing enemies/guns to defeat as you fight your way through the floors on your way to the top of the tower. Making things more difficult is the obscene amount of projectiles being fired at you by the countless enemies. But don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a negative at all.

There are three game modes on offer, Normal, Endless and Dice mode. Normal mode serves as your introduction to the game with a little narrative and has a clear goal in mind. Endless mode gives you as many floors as you can handle, just keep going until you die. Finally Dice mode is basically anything goes. Each time you enter a room you’ll get a little message on screen telling you the mod for that room for example, bad loot. Literally anything goes here and this is where the most fun can be had.

When you first start the game you are given two guns to choose from, the Peas-n-carrots Pistol and the Portable Pizza Oven. It actually tells you to choose a better gun under the write up for the Peas-n-carrots Pistol it’s that bad. Along with choosing your gun you get to pick a perk to take with you. These range from ‘Bluegrass’ which starts you off with a Triple Jump to ‘Tooyoungtodie’ which turns the difficulty down and your damage, armour, loot and XP up. Personally, I struggled hugely with the difficulty (which is a recurring theme for me) so the ‘tooyoungtodie’ perk was a godsend!

There are a total of 8 guns  and 11 perks to unlock by doing various tasks whilst playing, my favourite gun being the Kegerator, because who doesn’t like shooting Unicorn Vomit at enemies?

These Unicorns must have had one really dodgy curry last night to be puking purple…

When your life is depleted it’s game over. You go back to the main menu and start all the way from the bottom again. This is where frustration can set in especially if you have 3 or 4 runs of bad luck in the tower. To keep things fresh and fair, at the beginning of every fifth attempt to climb the tower you are greeted with a floor with a plethora of goodies to make your ascend more manageable.

Enemies drop loot in the form of gold coins, xp to level up your guns damage etc and yellow balls of energy to fill up your item meter. In most secret areas you either find large gold coins or a capsule to buy badges or items from and that is where I feel Tower of Guns really shines.

Some rooms can have upwards of 4 secrets to find, either behind hollow walls, up high on a ledge requiring multiple jumps or even under lava pits. I found myself searching each room top to bottom long after killing off all the enemies to find all the secrets each room has to offer only to get to the stats screen for that floor to discover I only found 50% of the secrets. There’s even an adorable thank you message in one of the secret rooms.

Awwwwwww….the heart melts.

The only real downsides are the lack of any type of multiplayer and not much story to go on at all. This game would be an absolute blast both locally and online. Although most games need a decent story, I can’t really say it makes a difference here. The game is so fun and addicting, you feel engaged in the experience without a story to get your teeth sunk into.

Moving on to the achievements the list is made of 12 achievements, all of which are easily obtainable with a little bit of practice for all skill levels. You’ll need to complete 100 runs through the tower in any mode and unlock all guns and perks. All the miscellaneous achievements will most likely be grabbed whilst unlocking the guns and perks. All in all, a pretty straightforward list.

After my time with Tower of Guns, I really am struggling to find anything inherently wrong with it. Yes, it could do with some aspect of a multiplayer and the story is non-existent but it’s fun, engaging and whilst frustrating at times, it gives you that little bit of a helping hand to get your luck going in the right direction. With the endless and dice modes, you have hours and hours of bullet dodging, quadruple jumping carnage. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and after I unlock my final gun I have no doubt I’ll be coming back from time to time just for the fun of it.

1) Massive replayability
2) Immensely fun
3) Secret areas are genius

1) No multiplayer
2) Very little story



Review: Infinity Runner


Infinity Runner
$6.99 / £5.59
Xbox One
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], PS4 & Wii U (release date TBC)
Release Date
Wales Interactive
Wales Interactive
Single Player

Endless runners have become quite popular over the last few years, especially in the mobile gaming airspace and rightfully so. They are nearly always easy to pick up and play and you often find yourself having one more go. Does Infinity Runner translate to next-gen consoles?

First off, it isn’t actually an endless runner in the sense that the story mode has a clear beginning and end to each ‘sector’, but there is an Infinite mode where you can endlessly run to your hearts content, more on that in a bit.

Infinity Runner is a first person runner that puts you in the shoes of an unnamed prisoner trying to escape from the ship ‘Infinity’ with the help of a woman called Riley. She explains very little and gets you running through the ship looking for a way out, fighting through enemies and avoiding obstacles whilst running to your objective.

You use the right stick to turn around corners, the left stick to move from side to side to avoid obstacles and collect data packets and LT and RT to slide and jump respectively. For some reason, the controls took a lot of getting used to, especially jumping and sliding. Unfortunately there are no options to change the default controller layout.

When running through the levels you will come across enemies which can only be defeated by following the QTE’s. If you are too slow or you press the wrong button you die. This can get particularly frustrating towards the end of the story mode due to a large QTE on the final level. The QTE’s just seem unnecessary and mess with the flow of the runner gameplay. If you lose all of your lives you need to restart the level.InfinityRunner008

There are two main modes in Infinity Runner, Story and Arcade. The story really did not interest me at all. I really tried to engage but it was just too bland. You, the prisoner are being helped by some woman you don’t know called Riley who is very reluctant to give you any other info other than to run. She does spoon feed you bits of info about your special ability but it can all be worked out from what is happening on screen anyway. In this mode you run through fixed levels, which you will need to know inside out if you want to grab all the achievements.

After playing through the story and being very underwhelmed, I decided to give Infinity a shot which is the main Arcade mode, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I spent about an hour just playing infinity mode getting my total distance and score up for the related achievements and the time flew by. Another great addition to Arcade modes is you can turn off the fights which I would highly recommend doing, unless you enjoy QTE’s.

During my time running through corridor after corridor and needlessly entering QTE’s whilst playing through the story mode, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by some of the obstacles put in front of me. There are several that just don’t give you a clear path under or over, so you inevitably choose wrong and lose a life which can be very frustrating.

The level designs are pretty detailed although they do suffer from the sci-fi effect of being a bit dull and dark due to the nature of the game which at first you don’t really notice, but the more you play, the more you see the same grey corridor…


Haven’t I seen this place before?

Infinity Runner does a great job at increasing the difficulty of the levels. As an example on easy you have moving arrows showing you which way the corridor is turning, on medium such luxuries do not exist. Also, during certain areas of some levels the lights will be knocked off and you just have the emergency lines on the walls to find your way.

Regarding the achievements, there is quite a mixed bag. You’ll obtain the majority of them just by running through the story mode and others will come with more invested time like running for 400,000 metres. The real killer in the list is for getting the Maximum Wolf Level. To do so you need to finish the story mode on Hard without dying on any of the levels. This is not one for the faint hearted I can assure you.

All in all, Infinity Runner is a decent outing for Wales Interactive on the Xbox One. Although it does have its glaring faults, I think there is enough fun to be had with this title to warrant a purchase, and the asking price for it is spot on.

1) Caters for all skill levels
2) Infinity mode is great funCONS:
1) The story, or lack of
2) Really wasn’t a fan of the QTE’s
3) Frustrating obstacles