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For: Android   Also on: iPhone, iPad

Earns a Pocket Gamer fist bump

Product: Auro | Developer: Dinofarm Games | Publisher: Dinofarm Games | Format: Android | Genre: Action, Puzzle, RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Auro Android, thumbnail 1
Auro is a game based around exactly the type of behaviour I would not normally condone - pushing people in puddles.

It was a simple playground pastime that, my stern-faced teacher later told me, was not a suitable form of recreation. Well how wrong you were Mrs Mellet, because I've just played an entire game based around it. And it's brilliant.

All bump, no grind

Auro is a tactical bumping adventure, where clever use of movement, magic spells, and plain old barging will get you through randomly generated maps.

The levels are laid out on hexagonal, honeycomb-style grids. Anyone who's played Magma Fortress's celebrated Hoplite will be familiar with the set up - but Auro takes it so much further.

You play the eponymous Auro, a spoiled, 12 year old prince who should be celebrating his birthday and passage into manhood by slaying a dragon. Unfortunately, his Dad (the King) points out that no giant lizard slaying can occur because the wayward prince has skived off all his training lessons. Presumably to push people in puddles.

Instead Auro is instructed to prove his manliness by tootling down to the sewers where he must unclog a drainage pipe.

Now the nuances of subterranean plumbing would make for a very boring game, so thankfully a whole host of rats, bats, ogres and 'mysterious-foxy-women-who-throw-fireballs' are scurrying around down there to make Auro's life (and yours) difficult.

All the action is turn-based. There are no attacks per se, instead you use brute force and nine magical skills to bump monsters into the water surrounding the honeycomb grid.

The fact that all maps are randomly generated adds an extra dash of anticipation. You'll never face the same challenge twice.

Thinking a few turns ahead is crucial. When you move your score multiplier decreases, and when you bump a dungeon-dwelling denizen into its watery grave it maxes out at four. Some monsters can be bumped, others can only be magicked into oblivion. Random button mashing will not work here.

A puzzler dressed as "BAM!"

It means that while on the surface Auro looks like a dungeon crawler, it's really a cleverly designed puzzle of strategy and tactics.

The only downside is battery life. After a couple of hours playing, your phone's juice levels may have taken a hit, though thankfully not enough to force you into breaking out emergency mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

What earns the developers extra shiny clever points, however, is the design. While Auro's concept is delightfully atypical, its boardgame graphics makes the whole thing feel oddly nostalgic.

So while you may have never been treated to a game of this ilk before, the pixelated quality of Auro's head as it bobs up and down in time to the retro music, combined with some addictive puzzler gameplay, is wonderfully familiar.

Sort of like a Labrador that's been in your family for generations, but you've only just discovered it can play synth.
Reviewer photo
Alysia Judge | 3 October 2014
Auro is to puzzler fanatics what Aeros are to chocoholics. Old school, addictive satisfaction served up in a (minty) fresh package
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