games / Reviews

Chasing Aurora (Nintendo Wii U) Review

December 4, 2012 | Posted by Mark Salmela

Title: Chasing Aurora
Publisher: Broken Rules
Developer: Broken Rules
Genre: Action
Players: 1 – 4
Rated: E for Everone

Chasing Aurora is an independent multiplayer game put out by Broken Rules, who previously made And Yet It Moves. Chasing Aurora has gained some notoriety by showing up at the last few PAX conventions, gaining a cult following because of how simple the game is and how well it comes off in a demo. Well, the gloves are off, and Chasing Aurora is one of 5 day one launch titles for Nintendo’s new eShop store.

Chasing Aurora’s bread and butter is multiplayer mayhem. While one person uses the Wii U Gamepad, up to 4 other players using Wiimotes compete in multiplayer arena style competitions. Everyone takes control of a bird, with the goal of flying around and either avoiding or attacking the other birds in the arena. You direct your 2 dimensional bird using the analog stick, and you flap your wings with one button while diving with another. The controls don’t get much more complicated then that, which makes sense considering the simplistic style of this 2D arena competition.

The first and best multiplayer mode is called Chase. In Chase mode everyone takes control of a bird, with the person holding the Gamepad also holding the Aurora gem. From here on out it’s a simple game of tag, with every bird fighting to hold onto the Aurora gem that can only be taken by flying into and tagging another bird. Every player is on equal footing here, with no bird having any advantage over the other and everyone being divided up onto their own little mini-screen. Remember split-screen multiplayer, anyone?

The next multiplayer mode is called Hide and Seek. This mode is similar to Chase, with key differences. You can still have up to 5 birds fighting it out over the Aurora gem, except now the person holding the Gamepad is a powered up Golden bird, which is better than the rest. Here it’s basically the Gamepad versus all the people using Wiimotes, although the person using the Gamepad is overpowered and can drop and hide the Aurora gem anywhere on the map. I like the idea of being able to hide the Aurora gem in the corners of the map, but sadly this mode suffers by putting too much emphasis onto being the player holding the Gamepad. It’s simply not as much fun to be one of the other birds.

Finally, the third multiplayer mode is called Freeze Tag. In this multiplayer mode the player using the Gamepad becomes an Ice Bird, and your goal is to fly around freezing all of the other birds. One of the key differences of Freeze Tag is that all of the players using the Wiimotes are stuck sharing the same screen on the TV. It even goes so far as to kill your bird if you fly off-screen for too long. The Wiimote holding non-Ice Birds have the ability to unfreeze their comrades by touching them, but just like Hide and Seek, the Gamepad using Ice Bird is overpowered and it’s just not as much fun to use the Wiimotes.

All of this would be fine and dandy if these 3 multiplayer modes were a distraction or a compliment to a larger experience. If there was a deeper, more engaging multiplayer mode or any sort of a real single player mode, Chasing Aurora could have been a must buy for the Wii U. The problem here is that for $15, you’re basically buying 3 mini-multiplayer modes. The only thing you can do besides these three multiplayer modes is play a single player time trial, and fly around the title screen aimlessly. The single player time trial is a joke. It’s basically chasing your own tail as you fly around the map hitting predetermined checkpoints. It’s simply a single player race against time, and that’s never fun.

Pros

– Great art style
– Unique and clever idea for a game
– The flying controls are fantastic
– Playing on the Wii U Gamepad is a blast
– All 3 modes provide a fun local multiplayer experience.

Cons

– There’s not much content here
– All 3 multiplayer modes are similar to the experiences found in NintendoLand
– Playing on the TV using the Wiimote isn’t as much fun as using the Gamepad
– The one thing you can play single player is a joke
– There’s absolutely zero reason to play this game if you’re not going to play local multiplayer

The 411


Damn this game looks pretty.

Chasing Aurora is a game with unfulfilled potential. It really is a shame because for the first 15 or so minutes I played this game I thought it was awesome. It leaves a great first impression. The art style, game mechanics, and game modes that are present are fun to play and can easily entertain a party of friends for 30 minutes. The problem is that there’s not enough game here. I feel like I just downloaded an iPhone game for a buck. Chasing Aurora is a game that you can go back to and play with friends for years to come and still have fun. The problem is that you’ll only really go back to it once in a long while just to change things up with your friends. And even then, since there’s hardly any content here, you’ll all grow bored and be ready to move on after only a couple of rounds. There’s simply not enough game here to support the fantastic game mechanics, and for $15, I can’t recommend this local multiplayer only experience.

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Mark Salmela

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