Part 7 of our multi-part review of Edmund McMillen’s Basement Collection.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Originally released in 2008, Aether is a physics game created by Edmund McMillen and Tyler Glaiel. For its release in The Basement Collection, Aether has received updated controls, physics, and graphics along with new features and soundtracks.
In the game, players control a young boy and his octopus friend on a journey of discovery across the cosmos, exploring the stars and trying to find a place he belongs.
There’s no use batting around the elephant in the room: Aether is one of the few truly breathtaking indie games ever made. While others may be fun, even amazing in some cases, few have the purity and soul that Aether does, making this game truly special.
It all starts with the art design. The game is beautiful, with objects, planets, and your main character all popping with personality and polish, especially after the graphical updates. The stand-out, however, is the universe itself, portraying the cosmos and its infinite space of stars in the most beautiful way imaginable.
In order to traverse the universe, Aether introduces a swinging mechanic that utilizes your octopus friend’s tongue as a grappling rope in order to grab onto various rocks, clouds, and planets, on which you can swing around and around and around and around on, eventually flinging yourself to the next area of interest.
Add in three high-quality, amazing score options and the game is truly able to immerse the player in a universe unlike any other. It may contain an “Earth” planet in it, but this game is pure imagination.
The game transcends its medium, however, with its incredible, albeit simple, story.
Fueled by emotion and innocence all taken from Edmund’s own fears and memories, Aether is a children’s book purified into its essence and made interactive.
The game tells a story all about wanting to belong and trying to find your place by helping others combat their fears. It’s moving, poignant, and will make anyone thinking about its meaning weep by the end. It’s a story that’s pointless to explain because it must be experienced.
Aether is the heart and soul of The Basement Collection. All the menus and bonus features are styled after it and it’s clear how much of himself Edmund put into it.
Aether is the game The Basement Collection was made for and, even without the other content, the it’d be worth a purchase. However, when the other content is considered, it would be crazy not to get the collection for a measly four dollars.
An instant-classic that should be played by everyone. A genuine example of gaming as art.
Images Used under Fair Use for the Purpose of Commentary