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Game Info:

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance
Developed by: Scarlet City Studios
Published by: Scarlet City Studios
Release Date: May 5, 2016
Available on: PC/Mac
Genre: Adventure MMO
Number of Players: Single/Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $12.99 for the first episode

Thank you Scarlet City Studios for providing us with an Early Access review code!

An evil usurper named Lucky and his automatons now rule Aethasia.  To make matters worse, they are polluting the land with a poisonous fog.  The fog is used as a power source that the people rely on despite its negative side effects.  A group of rebels led by the mysterious Scarlet Man are forming a resistance and you’re their latest recruit.  Can you help restore Aethasia to its former glory?

When first launching Aetherlight Chronicles, a child’s account and parent’s account have to be created.  I used the same e-mail for both and got notifications for when my child was actively playing and even when they took a break from the game.  I also received an e-mail letting me know when they completed the first episode.  As a parent, I was happy to see that my children’s identity is kept secret and the chat filters are in place and working.  Though some may argue that they work too well since the word “butt” is forbidden.  (The context was that a certain boss kicked my butt.)

Parents and Christians will also be glad to know that this game teaches Biblical stories, but using different locations, names, and let’s not forget, a steampunk universe!  I liked the retelling of the story of Abraham and Isaac and how Alexander had to put his trust in the Scarlet Man.  On the airship, players can explorer the Biblical comparisons even further. 

 

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance
Highlights:

Strong Points: A fun, safe, and clean MMO game that teaches allegorical Biblical stories in a Steampunk universe!
Weak Points: Upgrading some weapons makes them harder to use
Moral Warnings: Battles against mechanical enemies

Gameplay wise, the Aetherlight plays like a click adventure game with its exploration and inventory gathering, yet it has RPG style quests and battles. When you run into an automaton, a steam cloud will surround your character and the battle will begin.  Nearby players can join you in battle if they choose to.  Besides attacking, you can call for help, or flee from battle if you’re overpowered.

If you flee or die, you’ll be re-spawned in Lukas’ lab.  There doesn’t seem to be any death penalty other than having to trek back to where you left off if you were in the middle of a quest.  Leveling up in this game is done by completing resistance quests.  There is also a level cap of ten for the first episode.  Other than having a higher number floating above your head, I’m not sure what attribute advantages there are in leveling up.  There are no character stats to worry about or adjust.

The battle system is pretty simplistic as well.  In battle you have to select your weapon and target.  Some automatons can only be damaged by a particular weapon.  Many enemies have a unique ability like repairing or a stronger attack.  Usually these abilities take a turn or two to charge up and if possible, you’ll want to take them out before they can complete their desired action.   Depending on the weapon you choose, you can either do a normal attack, a special attack, or miss.  Melee weapons like the whacking stick don’t have a miss option.  I found out the hard way that upgrading my gun increased its power AND chances of missing.     

 

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 93%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

While fighting enemies doesn’t help you level up, it does provide you with needed parts for building various gadgets and upgrading your weapons.  Depending on how quickly you dispatch your enemies, you can earn one or more items as a reward.  The harder the enemies you defeat, the better parts you can get. 

Parts can also be randomly found and collected throughout the world.   There are plenty of places to explore including the town, a coal mine, a junk yard, an island, and even a mountain top.   The environment is colorful and looks even brighter as you address the fog problem.  There are lots of ways to customize your character’s appearance with the clothes you can find, create, and dye to your liking. 

Since this is an MMO game, you can meet and chat with other players.  Sadly, I didn’t see too many players along on my adventures. I usually ran into at least one player each time I played though.  Even with the lack of players during the early access, I enjoyed my several hours spent in Aethasia.

After completing the main objective in the first episode, the player can still play and complete quests while they’re awaiting the arrival of more content.  While the prices for future episodes are not official, the estimated price point is $15 apiece. I look forward to more great storytelling and products from Scarlet City Studios.  I highly recommend The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance as both a fun MMO as well as a great Biblical learning tool.  I just hope and pray that more players join the resistance.