Soon after the Nintendo Switch launched, a title called Thumper released. At the time I didnt think anything would ever be able to one up what the genre defining ‘rhythm violence’ achieved so gloriously yet here we sit in the latter stages of 2018 and I for one can’t ever see myself going back to a quick game of Thumper to satisfy my rhythm gaming needs.
That’s not a slight on Thumper either, it’s just Aaero, from the quite sane chaps over at Mad Fellows, is on another level entirely, with every thing being turned all the way up to 75!!
In fairness to both games though, the comparisons should probably end here as they really are of different covens entirely and we’re here to discuss the intricacies of Aaero, not wax lyrical about Thumper.
OFF THE RAILS!!
Aaero is just shockingly good, like absolutely brilliant. It’s seriously sublime. Absolutely addictive.
Ok, that’s enough superlatives… for now…
Aaero blends on the rails rhythm with shooting elements and brings it all together with a soundtrack so dirty and incandescent that it really gives this game a ridiculous amount of swagger.
In fairness, it takes a while to get used to the controls, the delicate method of rolling the left analogue stick in order to navigate the rails of light is an art form in itself.
It does soon become second nature and before long, complex rolls followed by double backs and pitch shifts were all performed with consummate ease.
Shoot the runner
Once the basics of the rythmn aspect have been mastered, Aaero mixes things up a bit with the addition of an on the rails shooter aspect. This controls relatively well, you use the right analogue stick this time to target any enemies or pesky projectiles that you want to shoot, and the press ZR to execute the command.
Unfortunately I found 2 of my very few gripes about this game within the shooting section.
The 1st of these is that when you take damage you phase in and out of focus, in the time honoured manner to allow a moment of invincibility. However, I found this to be incredibly disconcerting and the moments after taking damage were some of the most heinous in the entire game, utterly unplayable. However, on the flip side, it did make me want to – to phrase a saying empowered by the great unwashed, ‘Git Gud’.
The second little annoyance was that performing a full sweep of targets, namely missiles more often than not seemed to miss a few and therefore, it at times became very difficult to avoid attacks, leading back to point one.
I genuinely found that if I took damage even once, due to the somewhat jarring implementation of temporary invincibility, I was already done for.
On a technical front Aaero performs admirably. The framerate is solid which is an absolute must for a title of this nature. The visuals whilst not overly detailed are crisp and for the most part unobtrusive. This lends itself perfectly to the star of the show, which to the surprise of nobody, is the soundtrack. For an indie game, as opposed to an AAA game such as DJ Hero for example, the track list is very good indeed. The majority of the music here is euphoric, upbeat and very fast, but it has some subtle moments too where the game slows to an, albeit still incredibly quick yet slower pace, and offers softer more ambient tunes, which are given license to take centre stage.
From lugubrious drum and bass brain mashers to the Lily Allen light-esque styling of Katy B, Aaero has a great mash up of club bangers, house anthems and dance music.
Due to the nature of this game, a good pair of headphones, or a quality sound system is advised.
In handheld, things take a bit of a turn for the worse but it’s by no means unplayable, simply a little harder to focus on for prolonged periods of time. Because of this, I’d recommend, for an optimal experience, playing this one docked.
All in all Aaero is a really unique offering for Nintendo Switch and certainly brings something to the table that we haven’t necessarily seen before. As a music, rhythm game it plays incredibly well and is probably more akin to Guitar Hero in terms of just how much of your life (and sleep) you will lose to this game. As I’ve mentioned on my Twitter page, I’ve procrastinated so much trying to write this review, simply because I’ve told myself 1 more game, and then it’s been 3 in the morning.
And I think that’s the best way to describe it, it’s an incredibly addictive gaming experience that despite your best intentions you will play long in to the early hours of the morning.
A few little niggles aside, Aaero is an absolute tip top indie gaming experience on ecstasy bread.
Verdict An adrenaline fuelled twin stick shooter on acid. Ridicoulously addictive with infinite replay value. 4/5