hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Edge of Twilight: Athyr Above

Review: Edge of Twilight: Athyr Above

5:00 PM on 04.04.2013 // Jim Sterling

Not Litherning to reason

I've been looking forward to Edge of Twilight for years. Following the game from its early promises, through to its legal troubles with original publisher Southpeak, its worrisome postponement, and eventual return to the public eye, it's been a compelling story for a game that's boasted a ton of potential. 

To whet our appetites while the main game continues production, developer Fuzzyeyes has released Edge of Twilight: Athyr Above, an iOS action game that gives us our first real taste of what's on offer. 

I wish I could say it's a good omen, a fortuitous start that has me excited for the eventual console launch. Unfortunately, while there's a good game clearly trying to break free of Athyr Above's constraints, it's crippled by an ineffective user interface, sluggish controls, and utterly broken platform sections. 

All I can really say now is I'm glad this wasn't the only thing all these years have led to. 

Edge of Twilight: Athyr Above (iOS)
Developer: Fuzzyeyes Entertainment
Publisher: Fuzzyeyes Entertainment
Released: March 28, 2013
MSRP: $4.99

Quite what Athyr Above is supposed to be in relation to the rest of the planned series is unclear, as the lengthy opening cinematic feels like we've been introduced to a conversation halfway finished. We get a vague sense of a world split into day and night, and each half's distinctive races -- the Athern and Lithern -- are namechecked. Our hero is revealed to be a blend of both races, but beyond that, characters may as well be speaking a different language. 

Either way, it doesn't matter, since the game abandons any attempted narrative as soon as the first level kicks into gear. Played as a simple hack n' slash RPG, each stage involves brief jaunts through linear stages, interrupted frequently by waves of enemies. Every now and then there'll be a switch, or some absolutely terrible platforming sections, but more on those later. 

Athyr Above goes with a unique control scheme that, far from feeling suited to the touch interface, comes off more awkward than most comparable third-person iOS releases. Touching the screen prompts the hero to walk in the direction of impact, while tapping with another finger makes him jump. To attack enemies, a finger must be placed directly on opponents until a ring encircles them. The protagonist then moves toward and attacks the monster every time the finger is swiped.

Combat is, essentially, a case of touching monsters and rubbing them furiously until they're dead. While the game tries to make this more interesting by claiming attacks do more damage if the finger is lifted and replaced, the monsters move too frequently and the input is too laggy for this feature to ever be considered useful. 

Every time the hero is hit, he'll fall to the ground and the circle will be broken. To attack again, you need to touch the monster and start rubbing once more, a problem made all the more troublesome by the fact that combat just isn't responsive and often fails to register one's commands. To avoid taking damage, players can double tap anywhere on the screen to roll -- which again only works occasionally, and is generally so slow it does a pitiful job of actually escaping an enemy blow.

Outside of this, combat in general is clunky and dull. Enemies barely attack to cover the player's lack of input options, and telegraph their moves loudly to make up for the combat roll's inadequacies. Athyr's few bosses are insufferable atrocities, with attack patterns that make no sense and are almost impossible to avoid. One boss in particular is able to perform an instant-kill move the second you get close enough to attack it. It is at this point, ten stages in, I personally threw in the towel. 

That said, I came close to tossing my iPad away at many points before then, most notably thanks to horrifically broken platforming sections. The game is littered with deadly chasms that, once fallen into, end the game session unless players pay an excessive toll of 1,000 experience points. When one isn't fighting enemies, one is wrestling with an unintuitive two-finger control scheme to try and make jumps across large gaps while hoping against hope the skewed camera angles don't cause the "hero" to leap fifty yards wide of the destination. Even in combat, there are usually death-drops that can be fallen into simply by running or dodging in the wrong direction. As a small consolation, at least enemies are equally as likely to fall to their deaths, given their total lack of intelligence. 

The camera's a mess, often switching angles when players are trying to climb up ladders, and causing the character to enter a seizure as he hops on and off the rungs. Levers have a tiny invisible hit detection box that requires an exact press of the finger before they'll work. Eventually, you'll have access to ranged weapons and special moves that suffer from the same sluggish performance as the rest of the controls, and are generally a deathtrap to use. 

What really makes this crushingly disappointing is the fact that, under the rubble of failure, there's a genuinely promising game. The general hack n' slash combat would have been pretty decent if it could be controlled in a far less convoluted way, and the general idea of a protagonist that can switch between two forms in order to navigate the environment is a good one. I also really like the leveling system, in which players use "ether" to flip switches on a character sheet, turning various stats and upgrades on and off. These switches can be flipped at any leveling station, and managing ether levels allows a greater flexibility of customization. It's a really neat idea, and one I'd like to see in a better game. 

One thing the game really has going for it is a nice design. While graphics aren't the most intensive, character and environment designs really nail that steampunk aesthetic, and some of the monsters on offer are delightfully gruesome. Of special note is the gorgeous soundtrack, providing a range of beautiful tunes that deserve to be in a game far more complementary to its quality than this. 

All it would take to cut this game's failings in half would be a virtual movement stick and buttons, allowing for more direct input that would give combat a greater sense of dynamism and would likely lead to more responsive commands. The attempt to make a control scheme designed to work fluidly on an iPad has, in this case, absolutely failed. Sticking to a traditional method would have helped the game in spades, though it likely wouldn't have solved all the issues. 

Athyr Above comes across predominantly as a game on the wrong system. With some design tweaks, it may have enjoyed a far better time on something like the PlayStation Vita, which can handle a game clearly more suited to physical buttons. I've got nothing against the touch interface, and enjoy quite a few iOS games, but Edge of Twilight clearly has no place using it, not if this is the best it can do. 

I hate having to do this. I've been rooting for Edge of Twilight for years, and I want to see the real game come to fruition. More importantly, I want it to be good, and I was hoping Athyr Above would set my mind at ease. Sadly, this game seems just so woefully misguided, though I take comfort from the fact I can at least see a solid game attempting to happen. Athyr's heart is in the right place, but its body is a total shambles. 

I'll keep rooting for better. 



Edge of Twilight: Athyr Above - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Insulting - I feel mocked by this game. It's engaging for just long enough to pull the rug out from under me and scream in my ear, "surprise! I suck!"

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Nathan D avatarNathan D
"Everlasting. True love. I am yours." -Rule of Rose T^T
Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Edge of Twilight: Athyr Above

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -