Award-winning montreal-based indie Developer Dragon Slumber, previously responsible for games such as the RPG Arialite Core, high-tension racing game Astral Traveler and hacking simulator Tech Support: Error Unknown, has announced the launch of all-new title AETHERNAUT.
AETHERNAUT is a first-person open-world puzzle game that takes place in a laboratory in a highly-realised steampunk setting. The player will have to answer thoughtful philosophical questions and formulate various experiments that require the player to delve into the depths of their very soul to save a world on the brink of destruction! The claustrophobic world of AETHERNAUT has you solving various puzzle rooms using light, sensors, portals and even time travel in order to gather the aether vials you need to access ‘the core of the construct’. The game will even have you moving between dimensions as you progress through the various levels.
Inspired by games like The Talos Principle, Portal, STATIK and Superliminal, you’re guided through the game by the voice of a character called ‘Cornell’; ‘a scientist helping you through the experiments and seeking to better understand who you are as a person by asking challenging philosophical questions:
- Would you rather be remembered forever as an evil tyrant, or be completely forgotten?
- Is happiness or usefulness a more important purpose in life?
- When we fall in love, do we love the real person or just our idea of that person?’
Your answers will guide the path of the story as you learn why you are able to survive the deadly aether. But as you delve deeper into the abandoned Construct, an unseen entity tries to make contact, pleading for your help.’ If you can solve the experiments the game lays out for you, you can discover who you are and escape the construct you’re trapped in.
The game features over 100 puzzle rooms spread over a vast open world that players discover by exploring a vast open world by using jumping, ledge mantling and portal mechanics. The game slowly reveals your personality through its probing philosophical quandaries as you light the three aether cubes and try to escape, all while uncovering the secrets of the construct through voice recordings left behind by its citizens. AETHERNAUT features multiple endings that are dependent on how you complete puzzles, and accessible gameplay with simple controls.
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Lead developer Kevin Giguère explains; “In Aethernaut, players choose which puzzles to complete and there are no right or wrong answers to the philosophical questions. Every choice allows players to express their individuality.” This ties into an important facet of the game’s ideology, being that ”Freedom of choice was the most important aspect I wanted to provide players”.
AETHERNAUT is already making a splash, having won the Indie award at Catapult 2021, as well as being selected and showcased during events such as Demo Night 2021, The game is available now on Steam, and features a free demo if you’re not sure if it’s for you just yet.