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Aeon Avenger (Android) artwork

Aeon Avenger (Android) review

"Traveling through time, wishing I was with Chrono Trigger instead of this."

In 1995, Square released time-traveling epic Chrono Trigger. Featuring well-animated and likable characters, a wide variety of dungeons scattered over eras ranging from prehistoric to futuristic and great graphics and sound for the 16-bit generation, it's considered one of the most beloved role-playing games of all time. In 2012, Kemco subordinate World Wide Software released Aeon Avenger, a time-traveling game for phones and tablets that had, well, none of that cool stuff Chrono Trigger possessed.

Yeah, this isn't gonna end well.

Now, you might say that directly comparing a cheap-n-generic mobile RPG to one of the most renown in console history simply because both games' plots feature time travel isn't particularly fair and I do agree with that to a point. But if life was fair, I'd be a billionaire (because I say so!) and Aeon Avenger would have been something more than a particularly bland attempt at disposable entertainment that accomplished little besides reminding me that an infinitely superior game utilizing time travel as a plot device exists. So, let the carnage begin!

Our protagonist of the week in Kemco-land this time is Lake, a resident of a small town in the present era. If there's one thing that you can consistently respect World Wide Software for, it's not wasting time getting the plot underway, so shortly after meeting Lake, you get to watch a mysterious man in black show up in town and summon monsters for the purpose of killing everyone. The only reason Lake survives is because of the timely help of wandering swordsman Shin, leaving the lad with one goal in mind: sweet, sweet revenge!

In search of the black-garbed man, Lake goes on adventures throughout his world, slaying monster upon monster along the way. After a bit, he encounters Rean, a young woman whose tribe is proficient in the art of time travel, which proves convenient as Lake's quarry is nowhere to be found. Trips to the past and future both show proof of the man in black's presence, as towns have been destroyed and survivors tell tales of a monster-summoning man meeting his description. Meanwhile, various rotating party members regularly express concern over Lake's mental state as the loss of everyone he cared about has transformed him into a reckless monster-slayer with nothing to live for other than killing the person who brought so much misery upon him.

And that's about all there is to this game's plot. I mean, sure, the occasional sub-plot comes into play, but those things get resolved so quickly you wonder why WWS even bothered. For example, when you visit the future, you immediately come to the aid of a man named Law. He speaks of how his town is one of many harassed by the forces of the conquest-minded Glen. When you encounter Glen, he laughs at your tale of monsters on the loose and locks Lake, Law and your other two party members in his jail. You escape to find Glen being attacked by monsters and save him, which immediately inspires him to stop any villainous actions he might be perpetrating to help you on your quest. By the time the game's over, he's ready to sign a peace treaty with Law and end all hostilities.

But that could be said about the actual plot, as well. Lake's anger issues? After Law gives a personal anecdote about how his son was the same way and died because of it, he immediately starts changing his attitude and becoming a good generic stock character. When an interesting end-game twist is introduced concerning the man in black's connection to Lake, it doesn't just get resolved immediately, but does so off-screen. Truthfully, this game doesn't really have a story -- it simply contains a number of plot points that inevitably get connected as you travel from town to dungeon.

Not that you personally need to do much traveling, as this game is one of those in Kemco's library containing a simplistic world map allowing automatic travel from one place to another. As I've said before, when it comes to Kemco, this doesn't bother me, as I have yet to find a mobile game published by them that contains what I'd consider to be a well-designed world. Saving me a few linear, battle-infested walks between towns and caves is cause for celebration!

Especially when the game's combat system is one of those that is intriguing on the surface, but not so great in practice. While every character can equip every kind of weapon available -- a varied assortment containing swords, guns, whips, rods and several others -- they each have their own particular type they're proficient with and, therefore, get combat bonuses for using. Conversely, the enemies you encounter are resistant against some forms of weaponry and weak against others. And then we have skills and spells, which can be equipped to slots contained on each weapon. While stronger abilities use multiple slots, you'll find that weapons gained late in the game contain far more room than early-game stuff, so while you'll start out with only one or two skills equipped to a character, you'll gain the ability to utilize more as time passes.

So, from reading that last paragraph, are you imagining a tricky-to-master combat system where you'll be expecting to carry a smorgasbord of weapons around, constantly changing everyone's equipment to have the upper hand on monsters? Well, I mean, you could do that, but why bother? I had no real issues with having each party member only equip the stuff he or she was best suited to use and, if a monster happened to be particularly resistant to Lake's gun, I'd simply accept that he wouldn't be inflicting as much damage as usual in battles containing those foes. That's one of those things that Kemco's companies are consistent at accomplishing. They'll come up with some seemingly-complex aspect to their battle system, but in the end, a person can get by fairly easily by simply spamming simple tactics.

And the only battles that weren't easy to get by were those against bosses -- fights that were extremely predictable, but still tough simply because those guys LOVED their "attack all" skills. Seemingly every boss fight utilized the same pattern where they'd alternate between single-member attacks and those that connected with the entire party, while also pulling out a much more powerful attack hitting everyone every so often. They all essentially played out the same way, with the only exceptions being that a couple late-game baddies attached status ailments to their most powerful attack to set up a situation where you either had the proper accessory equipped to block those effects or you'd be screwed. Take those bosses out of the equation and the only strategy needed would be: (1) Keep health high enough to withstand their best attacks and (2) Heal after absorbing those attacks. They might have been a bit tough at times, but when they all fought the same way and required the same tactics to beat, they weren't memorable, or even all that fun.

Which is something I could say about Aeon Avenger as a whole. While this game wasn't some excruciatingly horrid thing to endure, it was pretty tedious and dull, even if it only took a bit over 10 hours to beat. The characters were generic one-note ciphers, the dungeons were short and forgettable, the battle system fell short of any potential that it might have had and seemingly every boss fight played out the exact same way. As bored as I tended to be while playing it, I was able to spend all sorts of time reminiscing over my times with Chrono Trigger, leaving me wistfully remembering the time I've spent with a particularly great time travel RPG while playing a vastly inferior one. No, it's not fair to compare the two, but after finishing this game, I wasn't really in the mood to play fair.


overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (May 25, 2018)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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