The Nintendo Wii U’s eShop is currently in its infancy in regards to original content. One of the initial titles available is Broken Rules’ Chasing Aurora. The games original and appealing art style makes it stand out amongst the handful of titles available. Chasing Aurora’s seemingly excellent eShop presence is somewhat deceiving however, and this is evidenced by both my playtime and by perusing through the many posts on its Miiverse community.
Chasing Aurora at its base concept is a multiplayer game. Players assume the roles of one of five birds and fly through levels attempting to achieve a certain objective. The player with the gamepad generally plays against the other players either by attempting to tag the other players or avoid them all together. The game has a handful of modes such as “Hide and Seek” or “Freeze”. Each play out in a tournament style where players take turns passing off the gamepad between rounds.
The view on the gamepad is focused on only the given players bird while the view on the TV is split up into the number of players currently on the “non-Gamepad” team. Players have the ability to flap their birds wings as well as send the bird into a velocity increasing dive. Levels are varied with weather effects and obstructions creating hiding spots and obstacles to help change the dynamics of each match.
The game is at its best when 5 people are playing (4 with Wiimotes and 1 on the gamepad). Any less often leads to a more subdued and boring experience. The fun comes from frantic chases and the last minute shouting that is occurring within the room while a tournament plays out. The game scores each player as the rounds progress and at the end one player is crowned the winner.
The game also features a lackluster challenge mode for players to dive into without friends and leaves a lot to be desired. In this time trial mode the game tasks you with flying around barren levels and shooting for designated times. I quickly lost interest in this mode and found no incentive to strive for faster times. Sure the option of posting screenshots of my times to Chasing Aurora’s Miiverse community is there, but this base level console functionality just doesn’t seem to have taken hold with the games small community and really isn’t that appealing.
The fact that this game’s fun is essentially multiplayer only is not well represented in the eShop. The multiplayer and single player modes that are provided feel very empty and more of an afterthought to a larger game that just doesn’t exist. The games gorgeous art style and ambient music are just craving to be applied into a full story driven campaign but instead are just shoved into a shell of a mini game collection.
Chasing Aurora unfortunately is a game that I must advise gamers to steer clear of. The fun that it does deliver is good but still pales in comparison to some of the other options available on the still new Nintendo Wii U. Potentially DLC or an inevitable price drop could make the game more appealing with additional modes. As it stands I hope that Chasing Aurora is just a small misstep for developer Broken Rules and that their next eShop installment will truly capture the indie spirit for which they set out to find.