Aether is a puzzle platformer with washed-out pastel colors where you swing through the clouds and stars to reach other planets. The game was made by a collaboration of Edmund McMillen and Tyler Glaiel, and it was published by Armor Games.
You use both the mouse and keyboard to control the creature. You click on the left mouse button to launch the tongue of the creature up into the clouds and the tongue remains attached to the cloud as long as you hold down the mouse button. WASD keys controls direction and while the tongue is attached, you can use the WASD keys to swing around. Two-key combinations can also help you gain momentum, for instance pressing up and left at the same time can help you can gain enough swing to go completely around in a circle.
The game starts on Earth, where a boy gets a visit from a strange blob creature that takes him on a strange odyssey. You launch the tongue of the creature up into the clouds in order to grab hold of a cloud. Swing from cloud to cloud to go higher up until you reach space, then swing from star to star to launch yourself toward one of four other planets. When travelling through space and entering a planet's orbit, the planet's gravity will help pull the player towards it. On each planet, the creatures living there require your help. In order to help them, you must solve each planet's unique puzzle. Each planet's puzzle has a different type of solution. When you successfully solve each one you see a flash of light. After you complete all four puzzles, head back to blue earth to complete and see the ending of the game. Once you're above the clouds and you have enough speed, you can also just hurtle through space without being attached to any stars. There are different colored navigation indicators pointing you towards each planet that look like butterflies. Once you solve the puzzle on a planet, that planet's location marker disappears.
The game's plot describes a journey through a child's emotions and anxieties. Once the boy has befriended the monster, they leave Earth together, the boy riding on the creature's back. They look for life on other planets in the galaxy, hoping to find someone they boy can relate to.
The hollow planet Gravida's surface is patrolled by a creature that complains of stomach pains. This larger creature is followed by several tiny creatures, some of which ride on its back. One of these smaller inhabitants has fallen into the core of Gravida. Though it is isolated and lonely, the creature consoles itself that nobody can harm it. The planet Malaisus is composed of water, with a monster identical to the player's swimming around with a shoal of fish. The monster tells the player to leave. Planet Bibulon has two faces on opposite sides, one angry and one happy. A two-faced creature travels across the surface; one is happy and the other morose. Bibulon is orbited by four moons, each of which has differing opinions on an unnamed man or boy. When players find the planet Debasa, they discover that it is surrounded by a green fog. Gravity is very intense within the fog. Four orbiting satellites produce the fog, which has trapped two boys. Earth shrinks slightly after each planet has been completed. After restoring color to all the surrounding planets, the game is completed by returning to Earth. The Earth has shrunk until it is only slightly larger than the monster; it is destroyed when the boy and his monster land. Both fly upwards and land on the moon, where the boy is free to craft a future of his choosing.
This space adventure game has a varying soundtrack consisting of a piano, synthesizer, guitar, and percussion piece. Each planet has its own soundtrack. As you approach a planet, the soundtrack gets louder and louder which lets you know if you are moving towards or away from said planet.
- The badge's name is a reference to an old game of the same name that was later remade for the Wii.
- In ancient and medieval science, aether is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere.