- Developer: Mad Fellows Games
- Publisher: Reverb Triple XP
- Release Date: April 11, 2017
- Platform: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
- Playtime: Four Hours
- Acquisition: Publisher-provided Review Copy
Every generation of players has a title that belongs to them. For older players, Mario was their platforming title, while for those in the early 2000s it was the Ratchet & Clank series. Experiencing a genre for the first time is something that is impactful, and sticks with someone their entire life, especially if the game is good.
With the rhythm shooter Aaero, players new to the genre are lucky enough to have their generation’s version of Rez. Simply put, Aaero is unforgettable and provides near excellence in the genre.
STICKING TO THE RYTHM
Placed in an on-rails experience, players need to destroy enemies, both small and large, while listening to a pulsating soundtrack.
Where Aaero manages to differentiate itself is that it’s not just an ode to Rez. Besides adding additional sound effects when destroying enemies, players must follow a ribbon in the environment which represents the music. Somewhat reminiscent of Amplitude, the music ribbon is an area that Aaero excels at.
With the ribbon trail taking on the shape of long lines, it can be both mesmerizing, and nail biting, trying to follow it completely to score a high combo. Not only that but if the ribbon trail isn’t followed the player immediately dies and loses one of their lives.
Playing through Aaero, the job that developer Mad Fellows has done in designing the ribbons for each of the different tracks is tremendous. Rather than feel as if it was randomly generated, the music ribbon feels directly tied to the music. Reminiscent of sheet music, the music ribbon of Aaero has curves, lines, and ridges indicating music in place of notes.
Mad Fellows has really succeeded in how they implemented the music ribbon from a gameplay perspective. There’s a certain addicting feeling while playing in wanting to have perfect ribbon accuracy during a stage, and keep the music going.
There is a slight learning curve at first since it takes time adjusting to the movement of the ship players control since it requires small subtle movements of the analog stick. But over time it becomes second nature to follow the ribbon, and achieve perfect accuracy.
PERFECT BUTTERY BEATS
Rhythm games often live or die on their soundtracks, and Aaero features one of the best in recent memory. Rooted in EDM, Aaero has a varied selection of musical tracks – all which perfectly fit the levels. Instead of coming across like an interactive music video, Aaero is a cohesive gaming experience that has perfect buttery beats.
ENGAGING IN ACTION
Aaero isn’t just about having the perfect rhythm as there’s also an equal amount of shooting as well. Similar to Rez, which is never a bad thing, Aaero allows the player to lock onto multiple enemies. With a responsive control system, combat in Aaero feels great, and the enemies themselves provide an enjoyable challenge. Moments are present where it’s easy to get overwhelmed by enemies firing multiple missiles which require fast timing to destroy. So altogether Aaero isn’t as much of a cake-walk as Rez was at times.
That aside, Aaero features combat which feels fresh since enemy patterns are interesting, as are their designs. Ranging from crustacean to insect-inspired, there’s a very cool design approach in Aaero which easily maintains player interest. It would’ve been nice if there was a wider array of enemies since only a few are specific to select stages. Besides that qualm, the game is fantastic in what it provides, especially when it comes to the boss battles.
Larger scale than Rez, the bosses in Aaero are sprawling events with entities much larger than the player controlled ship. Basic in their attack patterns, the bosses are nonetheless an enjoyable occurrence. Mad Fellows doesn’t over-use bosses since there is only three in the game, which helps make them feel like special events.
SHORT BUT SWEET
Aaero is rather short since players can complete it in around an hour, but it does have some longevity. Besides the inner-perfectionist within players wanting to improve their score and accuracy stats, the game also has advanced difficulty modes and secrets located within levels which net a Trophy/Achievement.
Not only that, but Aaero is a relaxing game to play at times thanks to its soundtrack. Players who want to enjoy the game without having to worry about dying can enjoy the Chill-Out mode. Featuring all the stages unlocked from the start, Chill-Out mode removes players lives, and certain Trophies/Achievements. The mode also serves as a nice training ground for players wanting to improve their skills for the main game mode.
FOR THE NEW GENERATION
Executing everything it sought out to achieve at the highest quality, Aaero is Rez for a new generation of players. With the same originality and enjoyable gameplay that Rez provided, Aaero is a great addition to the rhythm-shooter genre.