(DSiWare)

Aura-Aura Climber (DSiWare)

Game Review

Aura-Aura Climber Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Desiree Turner

A shining beacon of arcade-style fun

It's not easy being a star, having to worry about losing your place in the night sky. Aura-Aura has slipped and fallen from the heavens, crashing into the Earth far, far below, and you'll be helping him to resume his place in outer space in Aura-Aura Climber, Nintendo's own latest offering for DSiWare. By now, the DSi Shop is already well-populated with all kinds of arcade-style goodness, but Aura-Aura Climber is one you won't want to pass up.

You begin with the Tutorial, which walks you through the basics of helping Aura-Aura make his way back to the heavens. Tapping the A button will make him jump, and tapping it again will have him extend his grapple-arm, with which he'll grab on to Grapple Points. Some points are stationary, some move around the screen, and others allow the little star to swing around, rocket straight upward, or even trigger the appearance of new points that make your ascension a tad easier by opening new paths. Directing his jumps with the D-pad, you'll guide him from point to point through each vertical level, climbing all the way up to the glowing goal at the very top.

With the Tutorial complete, you're taken to the main menu, which introduces the other two game modes: Score Attack and Endless. There are ten normal levels to unlock in Score Attack, each one taking Aura-Aura higher toward his goal, and a Marathon level where you can play all ten back-to-back. As you progress through each level racking up the highest scores you can muster, the game gradually introduces new obstacles and challenges, including sparks which inflict damage, meteors that fall from the sky, and lasers that damage and may even kill Aura-Aura. Fear not, however, as items are provided to help him on his journey in the form of extra health, bombs that provide a boost and temporary invincibility, and other goodies. If they're too far away to jump at, you can nab items with your grapple-arm, so don't be afraid to reach out for any powerups you see as you pass. Score-boosting items are scattered throughout each level, too, and if you complete a level before your time is up, you'll earn a bonus for what time you had left on the clock. When the level is over, whether you died or reached the goal successfully, your score is tallied on the Results screen. The game saves the top three scores, which you may view at any time from the Records option on the main menu.

Chances are you'll miss a grapple point here and there and Aura-Aura will begin to plummet toward Earth again. If you build up enough speed and manage to snag a stationary grapple point on the way down, Aura-Aura will swing around and ricochet back upward a ways, briefly becoming invincible in the process. This physics-based 'Swing-Back' maneuver may be used strategically by seasoned players to get rid of enemies positioned close to powerups you crave as well as allow you to reach hard-to-get items without fear of certain doom, but don't get cocky. Though he survived one fall from outer space, if he falls to the bottom of a level from too high up, Aura-Aura will die whether you have full health or not.

Endless Mode provides you with serious enemies almost from the get-go, and the path into the sky only gets trickier as you progress. The idea here is to see how high you can go before your time runs out. Time extensions are included along with the rest of your available powerups now, which add a few seconds here and there, but once your time is up (or you manage to get yourself killed), your game is over. You'll be shown how high you got on the Results screen; like Score Attack mode, the game saves the three farthest heights for you in your Records.

As well as encouraging you to surpass your own high scores, Aura-Aura Climber features thirty different Medals for you to collect throughout the game. Some are earned automatically, and others must be triggered via certain events (performing three Swing-Backs in a row, for instance). Viewing the Medals portion of the Records menu will allow you to run through the requirements for each one.

Aura-Aura Climber is chock-full of subtle visual detail. You begin the game in either mode on the ground in a tree-filled forest and make your way up through the clouds, watching the background gradually color and grow ever darker until you reach the depths of outer space. The grapple points and enemies are all distinct against the backdrop of open sky, making it easy for you to see where you need to go next no matter how far along you are. As for the audio, each level in Score Attack has its own track, and they gradually morph their way from a plodding sort of down-to-earth sound to a space-y set of themes that mark your final ascension. The sound of Aura-Aura's jumping will fade into the background quickly as you begin concentrating on other important cues - charging lasers, enemies chasing you around the screen, and the ominous whistle of the little star-child hitting terminal velocity as he careens toward the ground below. This is an incredibly well-polished game overall, but coming from Nintendo, we'd expect nothing less.

Conclusion

Don't be fooled by its adorable exterior - Aura-Aura Climber offers an addictive arcade-style experience children and adults alike will enjoy. This surprisingly complex game features intuitive controls and fluid gameplay that will have you hooked as soon as you've finished the tutorial. With two different modes of play available, ten unlockable levels, and thirty different Medals to collect - not to mention the incentive of beating your own scores - Aura-Aura Climber offers quite a bit of replay value for your 200 points and is a very welcome addition to the DSiWare library.

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User Comments (47)

Sean_Aaron

#2

Sean_Aaron said:

Nice and good to see Nintendo favouring other territories with a first-time release. Definitely one to look out for in Japan!

Natie31

#3

Natie31 said:

Have this game and its fun to play love it so much its hard to put it down if you dont have this game yet download this now!

rosebud

#6

rosebud said:

I downloaded this last night because I was feeling depressed and wanted something bright and cheery to play. Having done the tutorial and the first two Score Attack levels, I have to agree with the review. It is a very well-designed, polished game for 200 points which is sizing up to have more gameplay than many 500 point games. It also seems like something my six-year-old son could play as well. Nintendo is on fire so far this year with their DSiWare releases. I hope they keep it up.

CorbsAdmin

#7

Corbs said:

Great game. I got it after reading this review last night. Thanks Des! :)

joeshabadoo

#9

joeshabadoo said:

I dl'd this immediately on Mon. I can tell these things. However, I DEMAND to know who developed this! WHICH TEAM?

TheBaconator

#10

TheBaconator said:

I have been enjoying this game for some time now it truely is the best game on the service thus far. (hopefully it's spot will be overthrown by Photo Dojo)

Marioman64

#13

Marioman64 said:

yeah i downloaded this before the review came out and i must say this is a really nice game, the scores provide good replay value and the concept itself is fun. still need to beat it though

Rerun

#18

Rerun said:

200 points! Now this is what DSi Ware games should look like! It's great that Nintendo is paving the way for low cost, hi value games on the DSi Ware. Other developers should take notice.

Token_Girl

#19

Token_Girl said:

Good to see it have a 200 point price. Sounds like a lot of game for that price according to Ninty's standards. I think I might have 200-300 points lying around, and I'd like to encourage this pricing structure...

arielp

#21

arielp said:

simpy great ...... bought it already..
great graphic. well polished. unlimited replay...

worth every 200 point spent...

Roxas358

#22

Roxas358 said:

Wow this game is realy fun to play with. Im stuck at last level. And only 200 points thats bad.

TheLonelyGamer

#23

TheLonelyGamer said:

Great review tbd.
This game is great, I downloaded it last night. :)
Best 200 point DSiWare game in my opinion.

IcemanBry

#27

IcemanBry said:

Excellent game and for only 200 points. this game could easily be 500. Im glad its not =D

PhazonBlue

#28

PhazonBlue said:

I feel this game is a pure example as to why Nintendo is the best at what they do, at least from a Software Development standpoint

HanuKwanzMasBif

#32

HanuKwanzMasBif said:

When I first saw this game, I thought it was just another cheap way of companies making cash. I seem to have not noticed it was by Nintendo. Thank goodness my friend downloaded it and showed it to me, or else I would've spent many hours bored on Flipnote Hatena than tackling Endless Mode.

XyVoX

#35

XyVoX said:

Im in thats for sure have been waiting for this for a while now, still waiting for Escapee GO though.

xxx_Kirby_xxx

#37

xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

This was the first game I got, and I was so addicted I accidentally finished 10 levels in the first day. xD. So fun! I just can't get past Marathon. I either get hit by a laser, or just simply die. :( Aura-Aura is so cute. Definitely worth the 200 points.

gyyrro

#40

gyyrro said:

its two dollars and super addictive. if you havent bought this game yet seriously do it now.

Z-LemonHead

#42

Z-LemonHead said:

Wow
This game is worth like 800 points!

Ok
Just kidding. It isn't. But still I would probably not mind if this were 500.
This is a total steal for 200 points and I play it all the time.

YEAH!

Tasuki

#46

Tasuki said:

@theblackdragon: I didn't know you did reviews :O. I just wanted to see if it was worth the CN coins and from your review it looks like it will. Really nice review.

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