Greetings Backloggers! This week’s game, Aveyond: Lord of Twilight represents the beginning of an interesting take on the episodic game formula. While most common in the adventure game genre, developer Amaranth Games, LLC (now Aveyond Studios) took a unique approach to the Aveyond series and broke what would normally be a massive 30-50 hour RPG down into four 7-10 hour chunks.
Aveyond: Lord of Twilight is the first of the four episodes. I originally started it during my PAX South trip, then had it sitting on my hard drive unplayed for the better part of a month until finally finishing it.
Stylistically, the game harkens back to the 16-bit sprite based RPGs of old. Movement, party management, combat, all will be familiar to anyone who’s played a Final Fantasy game with a number lower than seven.
The story starts off generically, with a simple thief protagonist, Mel, tasked to steal a magic orb by a mysterious group. Of course, all is not as it seems, when the mystery client turns out to be a group of vampires bent on ruling the entire world, and the thief turns out to be a descendant of one of the most evil and powerful sorcerers in history. Thanks to this bloodline, our heroine is one of the few people capable of activating the orb.
In the world of Aveyond, however, vampires are not a monolithic group. Two vampires, a woman and her unwillingly turned knight/husband have chosen to stop the cabal looking to take over the world and use humans simply as a food source. With their aid and protection, Mel gets sent off to a school to train up her skills and prepare for future confrontations.
Of course, this confrontation begins far sooner than hoped, kicking off a world-spanning quest to find four key pieces that will allow our group of human and vampire heroes and heroines to thwart the plans of evil and save the world of Aveyond from darkness.
Four keys, four episodes. Does that sound coincidental? It probably shouldn’t. Episode One ends with the party finding, recovering, and then losing again the first key. We’ll have to see how Episode Two ends.
Unlike a lot of classically styled RPGs, Aveyond: Lord of Twilight has a lot of narrative and puzzle elements. The first half in particular are very linear, with limited combat and quite a lot of dialog. The second half breaks and becomes more puzzle oriented, although a number of the clues are remarkably obtuse. I had to resort to a walkthrough to figure out the last hour or so, although the long layoff between starting and finishing the game may have contributed to that as well.
Backlog Verdict: Worth playing. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely be wanting more at the end, and if you only have one or two episodes sitting in your backlog, you’ll probably end up picking up the remaining episodes to complete the story. Also, for the Steam achievement hunting crowd, Aveyond: Lord of Twilight has exactly one achievement, which is acquired by completing the game. In that regard it becomes an easy addition to the Perfect Games list.
Previous Backlog Count: 1,199
Current Backlog Count: 1,198
This week’s originally planned game, Invisible Apartment Zero was derailed by an unavoidable game crash. I’m in contact with the devs, however, so there’s hope it may move back from the Retired section soon.
Next Time: Telltale Texas Hold’em? There’s no narrative, no achievements, how hard could this be?
Backlog Burndown is a semi-regular feature on Marooner’s Rock. Read previous columns in the archives, and suggest future games to play in the comments!