A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There are no messages in Aeon Drive, with little dialogue providing context for why Captain Jackelyne must race against time to complete her missions.
Positive Role Models
Captain Jackelyne's motivation is survival, and she doesn't have much of a personality. Character and story are simply not the focus of Aeon Drive.
Ease of Play
Aeon Drive is all about focus, precision, and competition -- against yourself and others. Unlike other action platformers, which are sometimes played as quickly as possible (known as "speedrunning"), Aeon Drive has baked this mechanic right into their game. This comes with a few downsides, because while speedrunning can be incredibly entertaining to watch, this style of play isn't for everyone. Running levels in 30 seconds or less creates pressure that can be frustrating for some. An option to play without the clock is available, but because the speedrun style is so integral to the game design, players who choose to skip it might feel like they're missing out on what makes this game attractive entirely.
Violence & Scariness
Jackelyne uses a sword to slash enemy robots that disappear as soon as they are hit. There's no blood or gore, and the retro pixel graphics downplay this action being even somewhat close to reality.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aeon Drive is a retro action platformer available for download on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. After crashing her spaceship in a colorful cyberpunk city called Neo Barcelona, space ranger Captain Jackelyne must escape her robotic alien captors, repair her spaceship, and find her way home. Players will move through each level on a strict timer, challenging them to perfect their use of skills like a double jump and duck as well as special tools such as a sword and a teleporter. While Jackelyne will use her sword to slash through robots, no blood or gore's shown, and the pixelated graphics limits the impact of the attacks.
Is It Any Good?
Clearly influenced by retro arcade games of the 1980s, this game innovates on the idea of a leaderboard and brings it to 2021. In Aeon Drive, players are strongly encouraged to minimize their run times on each level not only with an in-game timer but in player-vs.-player competition modes. The result is an extremely fast-paced experience that's demanding and unforgiving. Not only are global online leaderboards used, but Aeon Drive is specifically designed for the capability to work with popular gaming chat app Discord, which many use to play games with friends, as well as with Twitch, a popular streaming platform for players from all over the world to stream their play sessions live.
For some, this sounds like a dream. The trend of speed-running games has persisted in the online gaming content landscape for years. There are entire YouTube channels dedicated to showing off how fast players can complete levels, and the drive to uncover the best strategy and perfect it definitely exists within some. But the speedrunning niche may only appeal to a small population. A clear choice was made to do one thing very well, and while this makes Aeon Drive feel complete and uncomplicated, necessary sacrifices were made. Players who don't like speedrunning will probably find that there's nothing for them in this title beyond an hour or two of play. Losing a life and going back to the beginning of a checkpoint can be irritating if it happens too many times in a row, and while the controls are well-designed and intuitive, that won't save players whose brains work too slowly to keep up. For fans of these games, this is probably a no-brainer, but newer players may want to try speedrunning in another platformer as a trial before deciding to purchase Aeon Drive. Keep in mind that watching others play Aeon Drive online won't be too helpful, as the appeal of watching speedruns and cheering on other players is universal, while actually speedrunning by yourself is completely different.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.