Wheels of Aurelia
Gameplay 6
Graphics 7
Sound 8

Wheels of Aurelia is a narrative road trip game that takes players along the winding roads of Italy during the seventies. The focus is on the conversations you have with the people you run into on the road, and your choices can lead to one of sixteen different endings. Each playthrough only lasts about fifteen minutes, but the stories are interesting enough, and things can go very differently depending on your choices. The game is a little rough around the edges and won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s certainly not without charm.

Gameplay: The game is very simple but has plenty of replay value.

Graphics: The visuals are not exactly dazzling, but they are pretty stylish.

Sound: No speech, unfortunately, but the soundtrack is good

Summary 7.0 Good
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Wheels of Aurelia

Developer: Santa Ragione | Publisher: Santa Ragione | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

We can’t think of many other games set in 1970s Italy, which makes Wheels of Aurelia unique right off the bat. The protagonist, a restless young woman named Lella, seems determined to leave Italy and head to France – a journey that takes her along the Via Aurelia. It’s along the winding roads of the Western coast of Italy that Lella encounters all manner of characters and hitchhikers who join her and influence her story in some way.

Lella begins her journey with a passenger named Olga, whom she met in a nightclub. Depending on your choices during the trip, Olga might stick with you until the end or end up stealing your car. You could even ditch Olga and go on a crime spree with a washed-out race driver or lose your car in a race. These stories and many others are spread across the sixteen different endings that can be discovered in Wheels of Aurelia. Each playthrough only takes about fifteen or so minutes but involves a lot of repetition. All in all, it took us about six hours to get all 24 achievements in the game, and what a journey it is.

It has to be said that Wheels of Aurelia is not a game that will appeal to everyone, but players will know very quickly whether they love it or not. It’s a narrative road trip game, so the focus is very much on the characters’ conversations, not the actual driving. In fact, the car drives itself on autopilot if you leave the controls, which frees players up to focus on the dialog. Unfortunately, the autopilot is not very good, so the car tends to hit a lot of things if you don’t take control. Most of the time, this isn’t much of an issue as there are no consequences for hitting anything, and your car is seemingly indestructible. However, there are also certain parts where the story requires you to drive carefully or take part in races, where the autopilot is entirely useless.

Even when you take control of your car, you’ll find that your interactions are limited to moving it left or right and holding down a button to speed up. Braking is noticeably absent, which can be challenging when trying to overtake other cars on the road without rear-ending them or crashing into oncoming traffic. For the most part, players can ignore the driving and concentrate on the conversations, which cover topics not often seen in games. From politics and religion to abortions, sexuality, and feminism, there is very little that Wheels of Aurelia shies away from. Players are usually presented with two or three dialog options, although remaining silent is always an option. Many of the topics are focused on issues faced by Italy at the time, which will probably be lost on anyone not from Italy or unfamiliar with its history. The developers have made an effort to address this by including a “Wheelspedia” in the game, which unlocks Wikipedia entries about topics that are mentioned. It’s an interesting approach and contributes to the game’s unique feel.

Wheels of Aurelia is viewed from an isometric perspective and uses very basic, pastel-colored landscapes. The journey takes players through scenic locations like Piombino, Siena, and Bracciano, but the emphasis is obviously not on realism. While the buildings look nice enough, the trees look like cardboard cutouts of kids’ drawings. All the characters you encounter are represented by 2D sprites, which further adds to the visual novel style of the game. The game doesn’t have many visual options, but the resolution and quality can be changed. It also has a couple of extras, such as the option to play the game in black and white, with fuzzy “1978” style visuals, or in “scenic” mode, which allows players to move the camera around while driving.

It’s a pity that Wheels of Aurelia does not have any speech, which forces players to read all the conversations as they appear in comic book style bubbles. These speech bubbles also tend to obscure the road and surroundings, which can be annoying during the racing sections. It looks nice in screenshots, but speech would have been more atmospheric and authentic in-game. Of course, Wheels of Aurelia is an indie game, so voice acting was probably not possible for the budget they had, especially as the game features multiple language options. At least the lack of speech makes the soundtrack more noticeable. All of the tracks have this unique Italian pop and rock style, which is something that we’ve never heard before in a game. The tracks are all very unique and definitely have that road-trip feel to them. As we mentioned earlier, the controls are very basic, to the point where it is actually possible to beat the entire game and see an ending without ever touching the keyboard or controller. On the other hand, the requirements for some of the endings are very specific, and we had to look at a guide to unlock the last few. Along the way, we also unlocked a few new cars, for a total of 13, but the only difference between them is their look and speed.

There’s no denying that Wheels of Aurelia is a unique game with lots of replay value, but according to Steam, less than 3% of all players have unlocked all the endings. It seems that most players lost interest after only two or three playthroughs, which is a pity as some paths you can take are pretty interesting. It could be due to the fact that you cannot save the game, which means having to restart from scratch each time. The game does, however, allow you to pick your starting point, which makes it easier to aim for specific endings. At the end of the day, we enjoyed our time with Wheels of Aurelia, but its flaws and shortcomings were quite obvious. It’s definitely not something for players who like to play it safe and stick to established genres, but anyone looking for something new and different might enjoy it despite the rough edges.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP3 +
  • Processor: 2.0GHz CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512MB graphics card
  • Storage: 500 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.6.8
  • Processor: 2.0GHz CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512MB graphics card
  • Storage: 500 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12
  • Processor: 2.0GHz CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512MB graphics card
  • Storage: 500 MB available space

Related posts

Sakura Fantasy

Sakura Fantasy

Sakura Fantasy features an intriguing storyline, interesting characters, and beautiful artwork, but ends with too many unresolved questions. This wouldn't have been so bad if the planned sequels were ever released, but unfortunately, this was not to be. Unfortunately, this means anyone playing the game for the story will be disappointed. However, players who are purely interested in the lewd content will find plenty here, especially after installing the optional uncensor patch. Gameplay: Interesting until the story just ends without any real conclusion. Graphics: The visuals look great is filled with the usual amount of fan service. Sound: Decent Japanese voice acting and the soundtrack is good too.

Eye Of The Beholder

Eye Of The Beholder

As far as classic DOS era First Person Role Playing Games go you can do a lot worse than this AD&D effort. It doesn't hold your hand and isn't afraid to put up a stiff challenge, but overall it aged well and still offers hours of enjoyment. Gameplay: Challenging but also entertaining and addictive. Graphics: All things considered, not bad. Sound: Very limited music and feeble sound effects.

Suicide Guy Deluxe Edition

Suicide Guy Deluxe Edition

Suicide Guy Deluxe Edition features engaging and unique puzzles that are very rewarding to complete. The unique premise of the game allows for a lot of creativity when it comes to the levels and how your character can die. The controls can be a little wonky at times, and there are a few tedious parts, but overall the game is a lot of fun and more than worth the low asking price. Gameplay: Unique challenges with plenty of variety. Graphics: Decent visuals and a unique theme for each level. Sound: The music and sound effects are very fitting.

planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~

planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~

Planetarian is set 30 years after a devastating war pretty much ended the world and follows the story of an unnamed man entering the ruins of a dangerous city looking for things to scavenge. Instead of supplies, he finds a friendly robot waiting with unwavering optimism for customers to return to the planetarium where she works. The story is rather bleak, but like other titles by Key, it is very moving and quite memorable. Gameplay: Planetarium is a kinetic novel so there are no choices or branching paths, but although short and linear the story is very good. Graphics: The visuals show their age with static backgrounds and limited sprites, but the overall art style is still good. Sound: The game features full voice acting for both its primary characters and is accompanied by a melancholic soundtrack that is quite haunting.

Conarium

Conarium

Even if you don't know your shoggoths from your Mi-go, there is a lot to like about this Lovecraftian horror title by Zoetrope Interactive. They are no strangers to the genre and are huge fans of H. P. Lovecraft, which is evident in this game. The slower pace and lack of combat might scare away some horror fans. However, the attention to detail and the way that the game perfectly captures the atmosphere of Lovecraft's work makes it a must-play for fans. It might lack a little polish in some areas, and it is over too soon, but it is still a remarkable effort by a small indie team and deserves to be played. Gameplay: Plenty of exploration and puzzle-solving in environments that perfectly capture the style of H. P Lovecraft. Graphics: Your surroundings are detailed and quite atmospheric. Sound: The voice acting could have been better, but the rest of the audio is very good.

Prince of Persia®: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia®: The Sands of Time

Definitely one of the most engrossing, entertaining and action packed games I've played in a long time. Despite some minor flaws, this game is essential to any good game collection. Gameplay: A bit slow paced & frustrating at times but has it's moments. Graphics: Not outstanding but for the genre it's not too shabby. Sound: Decent voice overs and nice music.

Leave a comment

19 − ten =