The usual types of games that I play typically have a sci-fi slant to them and are based on shooting various alien species in an attempt to save the galaxy from some imminent threat. Games like Mass Effect and Halo are my usual go-to experiences when I want to just relax on the couch in the man-cave and get in a few levels before bed. While that genre of games will always be my favorite, there are times when I want to play something different just to cleanse my palette so that I don’t get burned out on the gameplay. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan fits the bill perfectly as the type of game that has some familiar aspects to it yet tells an original story while being steeped in African myth and lore. Taking place on the planet Auriona, you jump into he shoes of king Enzo Kori-Odan as he fends off a coup attempt of his soon to be brother-in-law who is bent on casting Enzo and his soon-to-be wife, Erine, out of the kingdom.
Kind of messed up that Erine’s brother would decide to pull a coup on his sister’s wedding day.
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan comes to us from a small development studio, Kiro’o Games, that is based in the city Yaoundé in the Republic of Cameroon. The studio is not only breaking ground for software developers in its home country; it is also one of the first companies in the world to create an African-themed role-playing game. The game is based around a power source called Aurion which was discovered by the planet inhabitants eons ago and manifests in many ways such as in battle, in handicraft, and in many other ways in the daily life of Aurions. It can take a physical form and then be stitched into clothing and embedded into weapons. Aurionites can modify the abilities of the bearer and are closely linked to the game’s open-ended action mechanics.
You can tweak Enzo’s abilities any way you see fit as you gain more items and Aurions.
Gameplay in Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan takes place in the Aurion palace as well as many other areas around the planet. Enzo has the standard health, action and stamina bars that alerts you to Enzo’s and Erine’s stats at a glance. Pulling off the cool attack styles uses action and stamina so if those bars are depleted, you can only pull off base attacks. Those bars will refill automatically over time so you have to balance how much of each that you currently have with how much you will need to dispatch the current group of enemies that you are facing. If you run out at an inopportune moment, simply avoid hits while evading and wait for the bars to refill.
Enzo can pull off some pretty gnarly attack moves once you have gained enough Aurions.
Attacks are pulled off by pressing the face buttons as you would in any other action game, but the twist for Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is that you can switch fighting styles by pressing a specific direction of the D-Pad. These styles are created by discovering and combining certain Aurions. Through a merger of these powerful Aurions, you can create new ones; up to 21 aurionical transformations in total. The game throws a myriad of combos and special attacks at the player right at the beginning of the game and it felt a little overwhelming. What I soon found out, however, is that most of the enemies that are placed in your path can be defeated by spamming the same move so there was no real immediacy to learn any of the more difficult attack moves.
Erine is purely a support character who can heal you during combat or make ranged attacks on her brother’s minions.
While the visuals in the game are astounding, I was left feeling that there was something missing in the different environments that the game takes place in as well as the character designs themselves. Everything is bathed in beautiful, vibrant colors but there was a flatness to them that I just couldn’t shake. The artwork is clearly inspired by the African culture in and around the nation of Cameroon presenting an esthetic that has never before been seen in a video game. What disappointed me was that there are only two art assets for the characters; one facing left and one facing right. There are no art assets for the characters so that they can appear to be facing the player or facing away from the player.
The environments are truly breathtaking artwork but feel too flat and not very alive.
While the combat started out interesting, it got to be very disappointing very quickly as you can only attack your enemies from the front or from the back. Confrontations take place on a single plane making for only two styles of attacks; from the air or directly. You can sort of maneuver in 360 degrees while you are traveling from one location to the next when you are advancing the story, but when combat breaks out, you can only attack directly or from the air. There is no maneuvering whatsoever and you are left not having to rely on strategy to be successful, but just by being the player to strike first in order to win.
You get thrown into combat very early with many of the special features feeling like they were piled on all at once.
The music and the story are very unique and are an impressive aspect of Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan but I found myself enjoying the cut-scenes way more that I did actually playing the game. The lore in the game is so good in fact that the game is slated to be getting a Hollywood movie treatment based on it. With that said, the gameplay left a lot to be desired and this one fell just short of being a game that I would consider recommending. It is a good first outing for Kiro’o Games, but just not great. Here’s to hoping their next game will be more exciting. You can download it now on Steam for $14.99.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Kiro’o Games first outing falls just short or greatness
Challenge - 6/10
Gameplay - 4/10
Design - 7/10
+ Beautiful, lush and vibrant world
+ Fantastic story and lore
+ Environment and character designs are something to admire
- I got a 1000+ point combo bonus from kicking a rock
- You never see the characters from different angles
- Fighting on one plane felt dated and boring