Day 867: Aeternum

Posted: 2013/03/26 in Indie Games

I remember seeing “Lords of Thunder” on the TurboGrafx-16 and being amazed that someone made a shoot-’em-up where you were in a mech suit (I guess?) instead of in a ship. I was literally amazed that anyone could even come up with such an idea, so ingrained was the idea that shmups had you flying ships through waves of enemies.

Since then, I’ve run into all sorts of shmups where you pilot things other than ships. Konami’s “Otomedius” is one of many quirky examples, and “Cho Aniki” speaks for itself in its weirdness. “Aeternum” continues that grand tradition by having you fly around school girls, fighting dogs and cats, and more non-traditional shmup weirdness.

And it does it well. There are a few ideas here that I’ve not seen before. One such idea are the “panics” you can earn, that remind me of ball savers in pinball, where you lose the ball but it instead gets shot back into the playfield. If you don’t see a shot coming in the midst of all the bullet hell, instead of dying your panic will be used up. Another idea that struck me as innovative was the ability to shrink your hit box (making it harder for you to hit), but as a consequence you move more slowly. A third element that’s kind of interesting, and related to the second one I mentioned, is that you can actually get bonus points for near misses in this slow-moving/small hit box mode.

I’m always into trying out 80 Microsoft Point games that do something interesting, and “Aeternum” definitely qualifies.

Here’s what the developer (Brooks Bishop) has to say about the game:

“When your best friend is missing, kidnapped or maybe just out to lunch, what’s a magical demon girl to do? Tear Aeternum Academy of Magic Arts and Sciences apart trying to find her (or where she’s eating) of course! Cat-wrangling squids, corgis in spaceships or hipster witches, nothing can stop Ellica in this quirky bullet-hell shooter that will test your limits to their limits. And maybe beyond.”

  1. NVO Games says:

    I think the hit box is always that small. Focus mode just lets you actually see it.

    • Yep, the hit box (or actually circle, hehe) is technically always the same tiny size. Though I do find that being able to see exactly where it is makes it feel like it’s smaller.
      Also interestingly enough, since the Focus mode slowdown makes things so much easier, you actually get more points for grazing while unfocused than focused!

      Anyways, thanks for the shoutout! Also, if playing a shmup as a mech instead of a ship blew your mind, wait til you see what we’re cooking up next!

      • That makes a lot of sense. Well, I don’t promise to be infallible, only to give people an impression of whether a game’s worth 80/240/400 points. :)

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