It’s really late, but I’m comforted by the fact that I will soon be dreaming about Aether, a very personal and revelatory new game by Edmund McMillen. In it, you play a child who explores outer space on the back of a strange beast.
Thematically, Aether touches on both the anxiety and loneliness of being a child, as well as the exhilaration of the freedom of imagination. It’s hard not to compare the game to the classic French children’s book, Le Petit Prince, with which the game shares some fundamental ideas and imagery. I adore that book, and Aether was immediately compelling to me as something similarly honest and fanciful.
I could get way lost in this game if it were a little longer and fleshed out. And the controls, which sometimes felt brilliant, at other times felt unresponsive and awkward. Edmund has stated that this is just the prelude to a larger experience he has planned (yes!). If he can fix up the controls, too, it could be something better than great, for sure.