WiiU

North America

Chasing Aurora

by Neal Ronaghan - November 27, 2012, 7:36 am PST
Total comments: 8

5.5

If the game was as good as the art style, Chasing Aurora would be one of the best games of the year.

Chasing Aurora, from the developers of WiiWare’s And Yet It Moves, is gorgeous. Featuring a bright and angular art style complemented by calming music, it is pleasant to watch. What that alluring aesthetic hides, though, is a disappointing multiplayer-focused game that doesn’t live up to the splendor of the exterior.

In the game, players maneuver birds using deceptively simple controls. Flapping the birds’ wings rhythmically and using air currents effectively is integral to maintaining constant, speedy flight, and though the controls are a little hard to grasp at first, finding the right cadence comes quickly.

Chasing Aurora is made up of three multiplayer modes that highlight the Wii U GamePad’s asymmetrical possibilities. One, Hide and Seek, is similar in concept to Nintendo Land’s Mario Chase. Up to four players using Wii Remotes (with or without a Nunchuk or a Classic Controller) try to capture a golden bird, controlled by the player on the GamePad. This mode is hindered by the game’s maps, most of which are made up of the same uniform terrain, making it difficult to communicate the golden bird’s location in the heat of the moment. Outside of receiving a visual cue when you are almost on top of it, the game offers no indication of the GamePad player’s location, making the mode frustrating and unintuitive.

The second mode, Freeze Tag, is much better. It tasks the GamePad player with tagging every other bird; when he tags one, they’re frozen until another player unfreezes them. This mode is fast-paced, frantic, and fun, mostly because it is easy to understand, and keeps the players together. The third and final mode, Chase, has each player trying to hold a gem and leave the other players in the dust. The screen centers on the player holding the gem, and when other players remain off-screen for three seconds, they lose a heart. Lose three hearts and you’re out. The GamePad has no special use in this mode, but it doesn’t matter much—it’s just simple fun.

Chasing Aurora features many levels, but apart from a few hazards, they aren’t that different. Each is a visual treat, but doesn’t make the game engaging. It is telling that every person I played the game with was done after a few rounds. With the exception of the abysmal Hide and Seek, the multiplayer is, on paper, a worthwhile experience, but it never connected with any of the friends I played with.

The game also features single-player time trials, which are easy to breeze through. You can shoot for high scores, but with no online leaderboards (for now at least, as the developer has said they might add them in later), the effort gets old fast.

Chasing Aurora is a game I wish I wanted to play more. Its art style is top-notch, showcasing an alluring and peaceful presentation that makes the mediocre single-player and multiplayer experiences better than they have any right being. As it stands, Chasing Aurora is the weakest of the launch Wii U eShop games, and is only worth checking out if you value style over substance.

Summary

Pros
  • Astonishingly beautiful
  • Enjoyable but short single-player experience
  • Freeze Tag and Chase modes are fun
Cons
  • Hide and Seek mode isn't fun
  • Little single-player and multiplayer replay value

Talkback

This is very disappointing. It was one of the launch eShop games I was looking forward to the most.

leahsdadNovember 27, 2012

Quote from: Pandareus

This is very disappointing. It was one of the launch eShop games I was looking forward to the most.

Well...And Yet It Moves was not exactly a great game.  Or a good game, for that matter.  But it got a whole lot of hype. 

I loooved AYIM, especially the "doorknob" controls on the Wii. Great little game!

leahsdadNovember 27, 2012

Quote from: Pandareus

I loooved AYIM, especially the "doorknob" controls on the Wii. Great little game!

Really?  Hmm....to be fair, I played that game on steam, and I thought the controls were HORRIBLE.  But I also didn't like the level design, all that brown earth stuff, and the sound effects were amusing for 5 minutes but I got really sick of them very quickly (all that "Shh!" or "Crash!" whispered into a microphone stuff).

Are these different on the WiiWare version?

Oh, and I didn't like the physics that were involved with the game mechanics.  When I first started playing that game, I tried to jump off a surface and, while in the air, rotate the world A LOT, really quickly, to sort of "thread the needle" and get through that level in a fast and clever way.  Only you retain, and in fact gain, momentum the longer you're in freefall, so if you rotate a lot, quickly, while "in the air," then you will surely die a horrible death when you finally hit a surface.  I'm guessing that was a very intentional design decision, but I think that decision is bad, because it is anti-fun.  That decision tells me "hey buddy, don't have fun with this and play around with rotating the world too much.  Take it slow, or I'll punish you."  When you think about games where they used this threading-the-needle-by-messing-with-gravity mechanic well (some of the hardest levels in VVVVVV, for instance, or some of the star-pulling bits in SMG2), those are awesomely fun. 

Maybe they wanted the physics to be realistic, or maybe they wanted me to go through the level slowly, but I was not happy with that at all.

SorenNovember 28, 2012

I'm really bummed out. I thought this game was going to be great.

@leahsdad

Well in the PC version you can only pivot the view by 90 degree increments, right? In the Wiiware version you can make the most minute adjustements. To me it sounds like that would completely change the game, but I haven't played the Steam version. Wiiware just sounded superior in every way.

leahsdadNovember 28, 2012

Quote from: Pandareus

@leahsdad

Well in the PC version you can only pivot the view by 90 degree increments, right? In the Wiiware version you can make the most minute adjustements. To me it sounds like that would completely change the game, but I haven't played the Steam version. Wiiware just sounded superior in every way.

Hmm...actually, you're right, you can only pivot by 90 degree increments in the steam version.  Wiiware lets you pivot by tiny increments?  Having played the steam version, that is sounding very...enticing.  I'll be honest, I got the steam version because it was cheap.  But why would they do that?  Why would they gimp the rotation like that?  There's no reason they couldn't replicate that on a traditional game controller. 

I wonder if the game looks nicer on Wiiware too.  Because on Steam, maybe because it was higher definition, it looked pretty darn ugly.

I may be tempted to double dip if the eshop ever had a sale.  And if we got something better on the Wii U than Wii Mode, at least something to let me play it on the gamepad.  Or if Nintendo actually cared about Wiiware.

I think I should stop now, I basically brought up enough content for at least 5 different forum threads

AlexofxenDecember 01, 2012

I had AYIM on Steam and I enjoyed it.  I don't remember only being locked in 90 degree rotations but there was a point where it got too difficult so I said I'd come back to it and never did.  However on Wii I loved the controls, and yes its more of a methodical game then a speed through it and that works for me.  Also you do get to less brown and more visually interesting levels.  The wiiware demo is actually pretty cool if you wanna give it a try.  Shame that this game doesn't seem to live up to the expectations because I was really looking forward to it when I finally get a Wii U.

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Genre Action
Developer Broken Rules
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Chasing Aurora
Release Nov 18, 2012
PublisherBroken Rules
RatingEveryone
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