Au Sable is the spiritual successor to All Of Our Friends Are Dead created by Amon26. That being said: you don't need to play the first one to fully enjoy it. It's side scrolling platformer set in a terrifying nightmare world. It follows the main character as she descends deeper into a haunted forest. Anyone with a survival instinct would look and immediately run in the opposite direction, but running home with your tail between your legs wouldn't be as engaging or as fun. Such an ending would consist of you cowering under your blankets clutching your pillow wishing for everything to be over.
The goal of the game is to find Harmonia, which is lost amidst the nightmare world. You're followed around by two mysterious spiritual giant eyes who aid in striking key blocks scattered about, which unlock doors evil seems to set up throughout the world. As you progress, you are able to sabotage one of the near by "guards" in order to acquire a powerful shotgun. The weapon plays a major part as you play pest control with all the hostile creatures attempting to kill anything within their path. If you are planning to take on any sort of nightmare creatures: hell spawn, etcetera; don't forget to take a shotgun... and a towel.
The gameplay is fairly straight forward and simple: run about, shoot creatures, solve puzzles. That said, it's a working formula, and the game is more about giving an experience than revolutionizing platforming. The game features many simple puzzles solved by finding buttons/blocks to open a locked door or trigger some other action; so if you're looking for complex platforming with a boatload of keys/maps/magical-transporting-flutes/buttons etc. and complex moves then you'll probably be left disappointed. Everything in the game is kept simple and easy to get right into, which works in its favor, as you'll be able to run straight into the experience without having to master any tricky button combinations.
Visually the game follows the same aesthetic as its predecessor. If you haven't played All Of Our Friends Are Dead then what you're missing out on is a stunning visual style, using pixel graphics that wouldn't be entirely out of place on a platform such as the NES. However, its retro look doesn't take away from its intended atmosphere: dark and gloomy and definitely not somewhere you would want to visit yourself. The amount of detail put into the world is really pleasing, the characters look appealing, while still managing to look gruesome, and the backgrounds and landscapes look brilliant and completely draw you in as they immerse you into the world of Au Sable. A great job is done of putting forth a haunting atmosphere and does not disappoint.
Along with the stunning visuals, the game features an original soundtrack that compliments it in everyway. If dark ambient lo-fi is your thing then you're really gonna love it, at the very least you will be in for a treat. The haunting soundtrack, filled with lo-fi glitchy sounds and drones, really keep the atmosphere going throughout the game. You may even find yourself staying in one zone just to hear the background music.
Overall I really enjoyed playing Au Sable. Its simple gameplay and its dark atmosphere make it a worthwhile experience. It's a short game that doesn't overstay its welcome and can be played through in one sitting. You're kept engaged and interested enough to make you want to play it till the end. Its freeware and under 10mb to download, so what are you waiting for?
Download Link: Right Click & Save
Gameplay Preview Video:
Video Note: Takes about 3 minutes to get really into the action.