Aurora Dusk:Steam Age takes on the “Everything” game
Aurora Dusk:Steam Age by Sylvain Harlaut oddly-enough reminds me of Distant Worlds:Universe. No. Aurora Dusk isn’t a space game. It isn’t even a 4x game, but AD and Distant World’s share that realm of gaming where players have a great deal of settings to adjust the flavor of how their game-worlds play out. Distant Worlds could be a giant Universe ant-farm, but it can also be a one-ship mission of exploration or it could play more like a traditional 4x space-game. It’s because DW has so many settings, choices and option before even creating a universe, the players gameplay experience ends up potentially being vastly different each time.
Aurora Dusk has a large breadth to how your game plays out. There’s a substantial amount of RPG, Sim, survival and sandbox gameplay with choices to adjust your world’s technology start and stop points, your starting resources, number of NPCs and a lot of other settings that will define what your game feels like. You may feel like a quick 5 minute game where you spend the time mostly watching a hundred NPCs all scurry around, building, crafting, hiring and managing a town, or you can customize a game that lasts much longer, with brutally hard waves of monsters constantly destroying your technology buildings as you struggle to raise your skills, hunt and manage your town.
While still in early access and made by one person, Aurora Dusk has potential. It’s clearly trying to scratch an itch for people who like progression-based RPGs, but it’s also trying to be a contender as a survival game, a Sims game, and even have elements of an RTS all at the same time.
While I found mistakes in grammar and feel the maps quickly become too small for my desire to build an empire, it still offered me a chance to see a thriving and fast-paced game-world where I had 100 living, breathing NPCs all scurrying around building, hiring and gathering while large waves of enemies came at me. It was fun to see so many individual NPCs and enemies on the screen at once, and seeing them all fighting in what looked and felt like an epic battle taking place. And I had many more NPCs that what I started with, as I hired many more units to fight for me in RTS fashion.
Because of the depth in RPG skills and survival elements, AD has me wanting to make a new world with multiple towns that lasts a long time, but heavily relies on me hunting, gathering and building up the 70 different skills you can learn and raise. In that respect I’d be moving from a more sim-oriented world to a more survival and RPG based experience.
I did find some functions lacking. It’s really neat how far I can zoom-in to see detailed areas and NPCs, but I found the lack of free-scrolling burdensome. Unless I missed an obvious hot-key, you can’t freely pan the camera around, but it’s tied to your character. You can push the screen up and down a bit, but even that is done in a jarring fashion. I’d like to see free-form map scrolling in the future.
You’ll be seeing more of Aurora Dusk from me as I explore the different sized game-worlds that are possible to have going, as well as trying my hand at playing the game in very different ways.