Aether is a curious action/puzzle game that begins when a young boy befriends an odd, octopus-like sea monster. They set off to explore the universe together, aided by the creature's long tongue which allows them to latch onto and swing from clouds and other airborne objects.
Your first task is to escape the Earth's atmosphere by swinging upward into space. Once outside of the Earth's gravity you'll find colored directional markers that point the way to other planets. You'll have to slingshot yourself between moons and asteroids to travel, at least until you find yourself in a new planet's gravitational pull. Each planet hosts a hapless inhabitant in need of assistance, which you can provide by solving some sort of action-based puzzle.
Aether's hook-and-swing travel mechanic takes some getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll be swinging skyward and across space with ease. One of the game's most interesting aspects is the way it uses a small slice of 2-D space to create a large and freely traverseable universe, where the rules of gravity and direction shift as you swing. I couldn't help but think of both Super Mario Galaxy and Pixel Junk Eden as I played. Aether's minimal story elements don't always mesh well with the game design, and a few of its puzzles don't provide enough feedback and direction. Don't let those gripes stop you from checking it out, though. It's a unique, clever little game.