Occasionally, a game comes along that shocks you. Whether it is the theme, story, or presentation, it sticks in your mind. However, sometimes, a title can be memorable for all the wrong reasons. When that happens, you’ll laugh, cry, and be turned off immediately. Ayre and the Crystal Comet ticks all the latter boxes. As such, though it amused me, it sadly fell short of what I was expecting.
Developed by Gordon Little and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is an open-world experience. What’s more, there is a smattering of fantasy lore, a few missions to complete, and a dragon to ride. However, appalling optimisation, dreadful stage design, and some of the worst spelling I’ve encountered taint the finished product.
Can you become a hero in Ayre and the Crystal Comet?
The story behind Ayre and the Crystal Comet is badly presented. Accordingly, it is hard to empathise with the purple comet or the would-be hero. Alongside this, the awful dialogue and terrible spelling/punctuation muddy the water further still. As such, what should be a relaxing and interesting title soon becomes a tiresome and confusing endeavour.
You control Ayre, who is a female dragon rider. She is a dying breed and has a steely heart. Therefore, when she is asked to help a mystical being, she jumps at the chance. The Crystal Comet has landed in an abandoned valley. Upon hitting the surface, shards of its body splinter and disperse across the world. Subsequently, you must explore the vast environment to find each piece and save the comet.
A dramatic tale with a lacklustre execution.
For all its shortcomings, and there are a lot, I liked the bizarre plot. However, poor mechanics and lacklustre execution undermine every element. Whether you are searching for crystal shards, hunting historic structures, competing in ring races, or searching for armour, it all feels tedious!
On top of this, the world is devoid of life; the landscape is bare, and you can run through the trees. Furthermore, swimming is awful as you doggy paddle on the water rather than in it. Finally, your dragon has a mind of its own.
Whenever you fly your beast, you feel empowered and free. Yet, when you have to summon it from the ground, it circles you like a vulture over a corpse. This animation continues until the hulking beast can land. Disappointingly, this can and usually does take forever. Consequently, you waste time and become frustrated.
Collecting the crystal shards is the main objective. But Ayre and the Crystal Comet has other tricks up its sleeve. As you freely explore the massive world, you may stop to search for historic sites, undertake races, pick up armour, or test your skill with puzzle games. In theory, each of these tasks should improve the overall experience. In reality, though, they are dull and a tedious time sink.
The time trials or ring races are not challenging and the reward isn’t worth the effort. Moreover, the armour is purely cosmetic. What’s more, the puzzles improve your compass, but the upgrade is questionable at best.
The only worthwhile activity was the hunting of the historical sites. These weird locations help to explain the history of the world whilst padding out the lore Accordingly, this added some much-needed depth to an otherwise shallow experience.
Ayre the Crystal Comet looks terrible!
Graphics don’t make a game. Yet Ayre and the Crystal Comet pushes that statement to its limits. Unfortunately, the hero looks like she was designed for the original PlayStation. The dragon, on the other hand, appears to have been crushed in a metal compactor. Alongside this, the textures are woeful; the water is awful, and the animation is stiffer than many of the trees. Additionally, the camera angle is dreadful as you see beneath the world repeatedly. Moreover, the render distances are off and you clip the world over and over again. On a positive note, the UI is good and the 2D map is pleasant to look at.
Another plus point is the melancholy soundtrack. The audio is one of the few beacons of hope to come from an otherwise dire game. Furthermore, the dragon noises are great and the sound of the rushing wind is perfect. Consequently, had each element been this good, the game would have been impressive to play.
I have endured some clumsy games in my time, but Ayre and the Crystal Comet takes the biscuit. Annoyingly, the dragon has a turning circle of a tanker and can’t land for Toffee. Additionally, the hovering mechanics are confusing and the depth perception is hard to manage. Alongside this, the inputs aren’t responsive as I’d have liked, and this makes matters worse.
If you can somehow ignore the mountains of mess, you’ll find replay value and longevity. Interestingly, the developers focused on content rather than quality. As such, there are 400 shards to locate, loads of relics to find, plenty of puzzles to complete, and much more. However, having to endure the torrid finish of this game is easier said than done. Therefore, most gamers will quit long before the comet is saved.
Ayre and the Crystal Comet is a horrible mess.
Trampling on a developer’s work is not my idea of fun. Yet, Ayre and the Crystal Comet is a horrible mess. Yes, it is just about playable, but it is so badly optimised that it shouldn’t have been released. As a consequence, this needed much longer in the oven as its ideas and finish are terribly undercooked. Accordingly, I don’t recommend it, but more information can be found here! Can you save the comet? Jump on your dragon, search for the shards, and become a hero.