Review: Aerox

Aerox is a neat little puzzle platformer developed by Synoptical Studios, who have also worked… Well not much else. You play as a ball, making use of the iPads gyroscope, and your objective is to traverse the environment and reach the ending pillar of light. I would describe it as a more physics focused version of Hamster Ball.

The first notable thing about the game is its simplicity. Its aesthetic, art style, and gameplay are all incredibly simple, which allows the game to be incredibly focused on the gameplay itself.

The level design is one of the strongest aspects of the game. The designs of every level when looked at close up the levels are incredibly intricate, yet are so simple when looked at as a whole. The levels are also designed in way that it is really complex in execution. In the later parts of the game the levels tend to get incredibly layered, and varied in style and the ways in which you traverse it. There will be levels with mostly tubes to travel through, treacherous vertical platforming, and simple switch and box puzzles.

Its difficulty is the most noteworthy thing about this game. Where it lacks difficulty in the level design it’s made up for in the controls. The ball is controlled by using the IPad’s gyroscope, like most tilt games. The controls here are extremely finicky and sensitive, even the slightest of movements can send the ball careening off the stage. But the true challenge comes from balancing ball control and camera control. Whereas most ball puzzle would have the camera lock on to your back anytime you changed the direction, the camera here stays in place even when you change directions, except for when you tilt at a diagonal position, but even that is incredibly awkward and slow. This makings turning and planning your next move incredibly difficult, as you’ll be turning at one point and be unable to see what you need to do next because the camera is still facing the same direction. You can move the camera, but even the controls for that are really sensitive and often times you will feel the need to stop the ball to move it, which completely breaks the flow of the game. All this sounds like it would take away from the gameplay; quite the contrary. I actually believe it enhances it. The difficult relationship with the camera and controls forces you to really strategize your moves ahead of time, look at the map critically and try to understand the creators logic and flow plan, and makes you pace yourself which will make you better at handling the controls. It feels more like you’re controlling the ball’s momentum rather than its speed, and by the end, you acquire a real understanding of how to control it.

Currently the game is free on the Appstore and has 35 levels. Yes, the game is difficult, but it’s incredibly satisfying when you reach the end of a level. The level structures, design, and aesthetic make this a wonderful game to look at. Absolutely get this game if you can.

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