REVIEW: Aeolis Tournament

Nov
22

REVIEW: Aeolis Tournament

Although intended to be a party game, there’s not much that would maintain a group’s interest for very long. It’s possible to play alone against the AI, but there is even less reason to play this game by yourself.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genres: Sports, Party
Developer: Beyond Fun Studio
Publisher: Beyond Fun Studio
Release date: 16 July, 2020

First Impressions

I was hesitant to pick up Aeolis Tournament (AT) for review purposes because although it’s not received any negative reviews yet, it looked like it was primarily a multiplayer game. That’s not inherently bad, but I only play multiplayer occasionally, and AT looks to be more of a party game where the more people playing it, the better. From the short time I’ve played it, that seems to be on the money, as there’s not much to get from the game if you play by yourself.

Gameplay

There are a few options on how the game can be played. You can set up local or online play, and either play games individually, or go through a tournament to see who gets the best results overall. You’ll also choose the AI difficulty, how long each game will take, and turn on or off Chaos. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what Chaos was supposed to do, but it activates random events, such as volcanic activity and golden balls worth 2 points in Sportsball. No matter which game you play, there’s only one thing you’re able to do. Charge up your air blaster and use it to blow puffs of wind at either other players or specific objects, such as bombs. Some games will allow you to pick up an object with the suction power of the air blaster, like when you use it to hurl snowballs at each other.

If you walk into the lava, you won’t need to fake an injury like they do in soccer games.

In AT, there are 6 games you can play. In Perfect Storm, you’re on an island, and try to blow your enemies off into the water. Snowball Battle is where you’ll gather up randomly spawning snowballs and try to hit anybody you can. Each person is worth the same amount, so it’s not that important who you nail. Explosive Dodgeball splits the arena in half, and though hitting an enemy with a bomb directly is helpful, it only temporarily stuns them. What matters more is when the bomb explodes, as the force of it will shove players away. You get points every time you shove an enemy off the field. Sportsball places 2 goals on either side of the arena, and a ball from various sports will spawn in that you’ll try to score with. After each point is made, a new ball is dropped. Air Hockey is basically the same thing, but is centered around hockey only. Marble Thief is played on a circular field with 8 holes spread out equidistant from each other. You’re assigned one of them, which is where you want to bring the marbles back towards in order to earn points.

What have we done to anger you Thor?!

Controls

There’s less to do in the game than I thought here. You use the ‘L joystick’ to move around, unable to aim independently of where you’re facing. Then you hold down the ‘A button,’ to charge up the air cannon, letting go whenever you want to fire it. That’s all there is to it. I only noticed this while pausing during the game, but you can hit ‘Y’ to taunt and bring up your cursor if you misplace where you are on screen.

This island isn’t big enough for the two of us.

Story

There’s no story or explanation provided as to why these people are assembling, or if there’s any purpose behind these events. You just blow each other around.

Chaos is never an option. It’s an absolute.

Graphics

In AT, you’re shown an overhead view of the action, able to see the entire arena and all the characters at any given time. Due to the lack of environments or objects, there wasn’t a lot of visuals that needed to be designed for AT. What’s here looks cutesy and gets the job done, but neither the design nor end product is that interesting. Plus, some effects look rather poor, such as the disco sparkle costume you can unlock.

Who bedazzled my gelatin mold?

Sound Design

The music is fast-paced and chipper, and some of them made me think of folk music. I’ve no idea if that would be true for anybody else, but that’s what comes to mind when I hear the tunes. It’s alright, but I didn’t get a strong sense of a theme or consistency between the songs, as they could fit in with a variety of games. All of them just doesn’t resonate with a sports event to me. Each of the different games gets their own song, but if you’re supposed to play each game several times, it would be nice if there were more tracks available.

My doctor keeps telling me I have a weight problem, but I need this weight in order to compete.

Pros

  • The characters feel and play differently because they have individualized stats.
  • If you have enough controllers for it, 8 people can play at once.
  • AT is a kid-friendly game.

Cons

  • In spite of having some options to tweak, there’s little variety for each game because each only has a single map to play on. Plus, though you’re able to play each with either 2-8 people, the maps don’t adjust based on how many players there are. When playing with the maximum, these arenas feel cramped and too small.
  • Sometimes, the AI will run right against you, which prevents you from moving, and they won’t change their pathing. Oftentimes I won’t watch my character because I know where I’m trying to go and don’t need to keep an eye on them the whole way, but then suddenly realize I got stuck on an enemy. It’s frustrating.
  • The AI fluctuates on whether it’s competent or has no idea what it’s doing, even on the hard difficulty setting. I think the worst example is when the AI runs away from the ball and goal in Sportsball, as there’s no benefit to that.
  • Unlocking the skins and costumes is far too expensive and time consuming, as you get very few coins each time you play.

Tips

  • With your objective varying from one game mode to the next, you’ll prioritize different aspects of how you move in the arenas. For instance, in the dodgeball game, staying towards the center is a good idea, and you want to shoot the air blaster often. With the slippery ground of the hockey game, it’s not a bad idea to have someone linger around the goal, because you can get too caught up on advancing on the other team’s goal and get stuck without any defense.
  • Since the main gameplay centers around the air blaster, I find the Power stat to be the most meaningful. Speed means you’ll run faster, and Weight means you aren’t impacted as much by the air cannon. However, a weak air cannon ends up with you being less effective in every game you play.
  • Playing against easy AI opponents is a simple way to practice the various games.

Final Thoughts

I haven’t played AT with another person, but I don’t think one or two other people playing it with me would make a big difference with the larger issues the game has. A small set of mini-games benefits from a larger goal or focus outside of only the mini-games, because otherwise they eventually wear out their welcome. All of them centering around a single gameplay mechanic, with a very simplistic control scheme, exacerbates this problem. Plus, even if I played with some of my friends, since there’d only be the 3 of us, we’d have to rely upon the AI to fill out the roster, and they’re too dopey to provide much entertainment. The limited range of options also reduces how long any particular game can hold someone’s attention, because once you’ve played it a few times, you’ve already played out all the possibilities. AT might hold someone’s attention for a couple of hours, and would be fine for kids to play, but I wouldn’t expect them to stay interested in the game much longer than I did. So I wouldn’t recommend this game, even for children.

Sharks aren’t dangerous they said. Shark attacks are incredibly rare they said.

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