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Ageless Review: Definition

/ Sep 15th, 2020 No Comments

Ageless Review

What am I doing? Where am I going? What is my purpose? Who hasn’t asked themselves these questions a million times in general, but especially recently. Self-actualization and realization feels like gossamer constantly escaping our grasp. Figuring out what our meaning and purpose is can be enough to drive ourselves crazy.

Ageless kind of hits different now. It’s release in the midst of a pandemic where uncertainty is pervasive works in its favor. Kiara’s story resonates on a deeper level as we all struggle with hope and direction. It makes her quest feel like our quest. This makes Ageless hard to put down as it sucks you into its story and challenging puzzles and platforming challenges.

Destination

Kiara is lost. She’s been roaming Pandora for three years searching for the Gift of Gates. It has been for naught. She scoured the area and never found the gate or its gift. Until one day while searching she messed up and fell down a cavern. Luck would have it, she met Vi. 

Vi was also searching for a gift, and he found it. The gift is to help his sister. Kiara tells Vi, she is looking for a way to find purpose. Perhaps it was fate, but meeting Vi caused Kiara to find the Gate and gain her gift. Now she has the power to make plants and animals grow older or younger with the pull of a bow string.

Ageless Review
The opening of Ageless sucks you in immediately to Kiara’s personal quandry.

When she tries to find Vi to thank him, she discovers his sister is very ill. Spurred by desperation, Vi sets off to find more power. Kiara decides to stop him, and thus sets forth on her grand journey.

Ageless’ narrative is instantly relatable. We all feel lost. Doesn’t matter how old you are. We all feel aimless and need to find something to give us definition and meaning. Kiara thinks it’s the gift that will do it. It quickly becomes apparent the gift alone won’t.

Ageless Review
Kiara’s search for a purpose isn’t easy.

There is no magic bullet to make you feel whole. The gift bequeathed to Kiara isn’t what can give her purpose. That emptiness still remains after she gets it. 

However, as she endeavours to help people, misguided or not, by using her gift she slowly learns to discover her purpose. That is something to take to heart. We only gain meaning through our actions. Kiara’s journey with the good and the bad is what will make her whole.

Seasons Change

The gift Kiara receives from The Gate of Gifts gives her the power to Age or DeAge plants and animals. By unleashing an arrow she can turn things older or make them younger at will. Depending on what she is shooting, she can Age or DeAge it to a number of different forms. These different forms have unique mannerisms and properties. 

Finding out how these forms work in relation to the environment forms the crux of Ageless’ puzzle solving. As Kiara moves through Pandora and beyond, she must forge her path forward through more complex and severe obstacles. This is done through a mix of shooting aging arrows, utilizing her ability to freeze time, age dashing through things, and good old fashion platforming.

After gaining her gift in Pandora from the gate, Kiara learns how to use her Aging and DeAging powers slowly. She starts simply by growing and shrinking tree branches to create basic platforming paths. Once she gets the hang of aiming and shooting, the real challenge begins. Rather than Aging or DeAging stationary trees, she has to start contending with animals, specifically a dinosaur-esque creature that resembles a rhino.

Kiara’s earliest obstacle to overcome and manipulate the rhino is a creature with 4 stages of growth. It starts as an egg then grows in a docile baby before becoming an onry adult and finally a peaceful and lazy older adult (would it be called a grandrhino?). Each stage plays an important part in escaping Pandora and proving Kiara’s worth.

Ageless Review
Ageless’ puzzles require you to learn how each different form works when Aged or DeAged.

The egg seems the least useful as it can’t be used to boost Kiara up over a ledge and it is completely stationary. However, its lightweight allows Kiara to age dash through it and throw it into the air. By juggling the egg to get an additional boost or move it into a more advantageous position to Age it, it can help Kiara overcome some tricky spots.

Baby rhino is harmless and stays in place unless enticed by food. The good thing about the baby is how it serves as an easy boost to gain extra hops to hop over too tall platforms. Food motivation for the baby is hugely important and plays into utilizing it to get in the right position in later sections.

While it may seem like there is no danger given the egg and baby rhino forms, that is not true at all. Adult rhino form is aggressive, dangerous and extremely useful. The main action adult rhino takes is a speedy charge forward. The force is enough to ram into walls and destroy them. Its speed also makes it perfect to dash into an open chasm allowing Kiara to age dash to safety. Yet if not careful, it will gore her into oblivion.

Ageless Review
The complexity of puzzles increases the deeper you get into the story, as does the precision of timing.

In its final form, the grandrhino is once again stationary. Unlike the baby, it cannot even be lured with the prospect of food. Its mass and size, however, makes it perfect to burst through floors. By crushing floors to dust, it creates opportune openings for Kiara to move forward.

That is the beauty of Ageless and the key. No one stage or form of a plant or animal ever has one use. Learning what each stage does on a surface level is part one, but to solve the trickiest puzzles you need to understand what is possible given those basic functions. Further combining different forms’ functions together creates the lifeblood of Ageless.

A little creativity and experimenting is how you’ll overcome those complicated puzzles. Mostly, it is how you get all the artifacts spread around the game, which is where the most complex and least straightforward puzzles exist.

What makes Ageless such a challegnging experience is the smart mix of puzzle solving and precise platforming. Throwing in clever boss fights that take advantage of both facets of gameplay results in epic, multistage fights that puts Kiara’s skills to the limit. Ageless is a memorable experience both for its story and slick level design.

Overall

Ageless combines tough puzzles and precision platforming to create an indelible gameplay experience. It is marked by its easiest and most challenging moments because both equally keep you thinking about how to overcome and solve its puzzles. As strong as the gameplay is, the story is what will make you fall in love immediately.

Ageless was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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AGELESS REVIEW: DEFINITION

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall92%

GAMEPLAY9.5

Kiara’s ability to age or de-age objects and organisms is the crux of Ageless’ puzzle/platformer gameplay, and it is a delight!

GRAPHICS9

Ageless looks great with strong level and puzzle design and charming pixel graphics.

SOUND9

Ageless has a score that slaps and bops, if you will.

STORY9.5

Ageless tells a story of aimlessness where the protagonist hopes that a special gift will give her life purpose. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Well, not alone. She discovers that purpose isn’t handed to you, it is earned.