Aether

Aether is a curious action/puzzle game that begins when a young boy befriends an odd, octopus-like sea monster. They set off to explore the universe together, aided by the creature's long tongue which allows them to latch onto and swing from clouds and other airborne objects.

Your first task is to escape the Earth's atmosphere by swinging upward into space. Once outside of the Earth's gravity you'll find colored directional markers that point the way to other planets. You'll have to slingshot yourself between moons and asteroids to travel, at least until you find yourself in a new planet's gravitational pull. Each planet hosts a hapless inhabitant in need of assistance, which you can provide by solving some sort of action-based puzzle.

Aether's hook-and-swing travel mechanic takes some getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll be swinging skyward and across space with ease. One of the game's most interesting aspects is the way it uses a small slice of 2-D space to create a large and freely traverseable universe, where the rules of gravity and direction shift as you swing. I couldn't help but think of both Super Mario Galaxy and Pixel Junk Eden as I played. Aether's minimal story elements don't always mesh well with the game design, and a few of its puzzles don't provide enough feedback and direction. Don't let those gripes stop you from checking it out, though. It's a unique, clever little game.

If you'd like to suggest a free browser-based game for Act Casual, send a link and description via our contact form.

Consultant
Datyedyeguy's picture
Location: Marietta, GA

I had fun when I played this last weekend. Give it a few minutes, you'll figure out the mechanics, and it might even touch ya a bit on the emotional/child side.

Executive
Donator V2.0
Dysplastic's picture
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

I tried it, and while I liked the art style, I really couldn't get comfortable with the hook-swing mechanic - it was really frustrating to me. Ah well.

Morrolan wrote:

I'm pretty sure Gabe Newell hangs out on top of the Valve building like Father Gregori, firing warning shots over any Sony people that come within fifty paces of the door.

XBLA / Steam: Dysplastic

Abandon All Hope
Chiggie Von Richthofen's picture
Location: Looking at the river.

The gravity change is so subtle and brilliant. I absolutely love the swing mechanic.

Office Linebacker
Donator
KingMob's picture
Location: Northern Virginia

This was a fun browser-based game. Being able to finish it in ten minutes or so was a definite plus.

We seem to have a compulsion to bury time capsules..... I have placed some large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like.
-- Alfred Hitchcock

Intern
literarygamer's picture
Location: Seattle WA

Downloaded this the other day...very cute and fun. The swing mechanic IS a bit tricky at first, you have to use all your directional keys to make it work. But it's really cool once you get the hang of it. I love the art style.


Video games don't ruin kids. If Pac-Man ruined us as kids, we would all be running around in darkened rooms, eating magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.
- Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989

Consultant
Donator
HaciendaSquish's picture
Location: Denver, Colorado

Am I the only one who thought it was really dark?

I'd say Edmund McMillen must have been a pretty messed up kid, but in retrospect so was I. I suspect we all were.

Childhood's not as great as people remember it being.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. - Albert Einstein

It's Jolly Time
Donator V2.0
Jolly Bill's picture
Location: Allentown, PA

Yeah, pretty dark, but overall very artsy and simplistic and fun. I liked it.

Its good to be the Koning
Koning_Floris's picture
Location: gamerswithjobs.com

Very nice indeed, although I echo the fact that some puzzles are a bit vague.

Edit: Somehow I finished it. I have no idea what I did for the last puzzle, but it worked. (the water world puzzle)

I don't watch, I interact!

Consultant
Donator
HaciendaSquish's picture
Location: Denver, Colorado

Koning_Floris wrote:
Very nice indeed, although I echo the fact that some puzzles are a bit vague.

Edit: Somehow I finished it. I have no idea what I did for the last puzzle, but it worked. (the water world puzzle)

Spoilers wrote:
You eated the fishies.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. - Albert Einstein

Agent of KAOS
Donator
kaostheory's picture
Location: Helping Jeff Goldblum Pick Up Chicks Since 1993

Am I the only one who propelled himself into the vastness of space for as long as he (or she) could stomach?

Fletcher wrote:

Wear the Filthy Skimmer badge with honor. For we have all, at one time or another, been filthy skimmers. And it is our brotherly duty to remind each other, that although the path of the skimmer is quick, it is also treacherous.

Intern

Very strange but very cool mechanics.

I love how the bottom of the screen is turned into the direction of the strongest gravity field.

Coffee Grinder
gargamello's picture
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Sort of a modern figurative interpretation of The Little Prince story.