Aeolis Tournament – Review
Follow Genre: Party Game
Developer: Beyond Fun Studio
Publisher: Beyond Fun Studio
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita
Tested on: Switch

Aeolis Tournament – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Easy to learn pick up and play controls
Bad: Single player mode isn't fun
User Score
8.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Having anthropomorphic animals compete against one another in some kind of sports match isn’t a new or original idea. Disney did it in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and we can’t help but feel that Beyond Fun Studio’s Aeolis Tournament was at least somewhat inspired by that 1971 classic film. Aeolis Tournament’s take on this classic trope takes the form of a party game for up to eight players. We took a look to find out what the game had to offer. 

Story

For a party game that pretends to be character-based, there is a suspicious lack of story. We’re not sure whether or not we are supposed to know who these characters are, as they are all named, but without a story mode it’s quite difficult to relate to them.

Graphics

We have a feeling that Aeolis Tournament’s art style is going to be very divisive. We can’t quite put our finger on what irks us about the character designs but there is something unappealing about them. The best way to describe it is probably that the characters don’t look like they’re the animals they are supposed to represent but actually look a bit too much like they are wearing costumes, like mascots at a theme park. If Aeolis Tournament had drawn the line a bit further and actually turned them into costumed characters, chances are the game would’ve actually turned out to be more enjoyable from a visual point of view. Of course, your mileage may vary on this, as tastes differ, but to us, the character designs land in the uncanny valley.

The designs don’t translate well to the 3D models used, which is especially apparent during the victory scenes. The 3D models look cheap and unfinished and tend to clip. It seems like Beyond Fun was aware of this and tried to mask it during the actual gameplay by zooming out and hiding details. However, the game zooms out too far, and if it wasn’t for the fact that characters turn into a bright primary color, it would be impossible to distinguish between the characters during the chaotic gameplay. 

Sound

There’s not a whole lot that can be said about the soundtrack. Overall, it’s okay for what it is but the music does feel quite generic and forgettable. That said, it is upbeat and suitable for the mood the game tries to evoke. There’s also some voice work, though it’s mostly limited to grunts and groans from when the characters get hit. Rounding it out are the sounds of your wind blower and environmental sounds which are unremarkable as well. 

Gameplay

Aeolis Tournament is a party game where anthropomorphic animals and kids compete against one another in a variety of challenges in order to be crowned the winner of the titular Aeolis Tournament. The challenges are quite varied: one round you’ll be knocking other players out of an arena in a chaotic free for all, and the next, you’ll be teaming up with three others to play a simplistic form of hockey. Although the minigames offer some variety, the core mechanics of the game remain the same: each player is armed with a wind blowing device, which can be used to push away objects and other players.

Additionally, different stages offer different effects. An ice rink provides less secure footing and allows players to launch themselves backward by using their blower, for example. It’s nice to see variety in the stages, but the issue is that there is only one stage per mini-game. Allowing each game to have several stages would provide some much-needed variety, as every round feels and plays exactly the same, especially against the AI opponents, who keep employing the same strategies over and over again. 

Then there are the characters, each with their own stats. These are represented with stars in the character selection screen and even novice players can get a pretty good idea which character is right for them at a glance. Wolfman provides the most balanced statline, for example, while Luna is all about speed but lacks power and weight, meaning she’ll get blown away easier by other characters but would also be able to outrun them. There’s some character customization as well, but these changes are purely cosmetic. By playing games, you’ll earn in-game currency which allows you to buy more character outfits. 

With six mini-games to choose from, each offering the same control scheme, there is some variety to be found in Aeolis Tournament, but overall the game doesn’t offer enough variety for prolonged play sessions. One has to wonder what the reasoning was behind releasing Aeolis Tournament during a global pandemic, as the main reason for booting up the game is to get up to 8 friends together to duke it out in local couch co-op gameplay. The game is fully playable against NPCs but the single-player mode feels like a pointless experience overall as there just isn’t enough meat on Aeolis Tournament’s bones. 

Conclusion

Given the game’s local co-op nature, Aeolis Tournament is tough to recommend at the moment. It might be worth giving this one a go once your gaming sessions can be enjoyed again in the company of your friends, but until then, there’s little point in picking this one up. Of course, by the time the pandemic restrictions are lifted, the game might have already dropped in price, or even have gotten a much-needed content update. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Aeolis Tournament - Review, 8.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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