It’s been a good while since I’ve played anything rhythm or music based, so I’m glad that my return to this genre was with the exciting, albeit challenging, Aaero.
Every rhythm based game I have played gave a unique meaning to playing with music, introducing mechanics that exaggerate or build up on the beats present in the songs. So, it is only fitting that Aaero would be the next in line to introduce something unique.
If I was to classify the basic gameplay, I would call it a flight shoot em up, where you not only have to dodge obstacles, but also fight against different enemies. However, everything is timed with the music and follows the “ribbon of light” mechanic.
The ribbon of light mechanic works in the sense that you have to trace along it in order to amp up certain instrumentation or introduce bass lines to a song. However, before you can understand how the ribbons work it is imperative to know how the player’s ship is controlled.
The player’s ship is controlled with the left analogue stick, which is used to move it around the screen constrained to a 360 ring as the ship moves forward autonomously, so you can’t stop or slow it down. When enemies appear on screen, you have to hold down the right trigger and while keeping it held have to trace over the enemies using the reticule that appears to get a lock on them. Once the projectiles that are launch at the players have been locked, by letting go of the trigger you can launch your own mini rockets which destroys the enemies. Again, all this is timed, so your weapon fires alongside the beats of the song. The ribbon of light appears around the 360 ring, which I have mentioned before, so the players are required to trace along them by moving them around it.
The game scores players based on accuracy, which fills up depending on how much of the ribbons they manage to trace. Players can earn up to 5 stars each song, which are used to progress to different songs that all require a set amount of stars to unlock.
Even though it may sound complicated, the game is very simple to control and especially easy to pick up, which really works towards the game’s exciting nature.
The highlights of the game for me, however, were the unique boss fights and the amazing selection of songs I played through. One of the first bosses you come across is a sandworm-like creature that burrows itself beneath the ground for a while before emerging every now and then, allowing you to target it and take shots. What makes it more interesting though, is that it sometimes pops right out in front of you and swallows you, so you have to shoot through its innards while tracing the ribbons. The transitions for boss fights are impressive and keep the game varied.
A music game is nothing without a good selection of music, and fortunately Aaero has a very strong selection, compromising of groundbreaking artists such as Flux Pavillion, Noisia and Habstrakt. What particularly frustrates me is when even some games do have big artists they don’t have some of their best tracks. Luckily that is not the case with Aaero as you can expect hits such as I can’t Stop by Flux Pavillion, and Split the Atom by Noisia. It is worth noting that the game is meant to be exciting, so most are drop based or with long build ups that keep the players engaged.
It also helps that the game looks absolutely stunning with minimalistic, but clear visual aesthetics that cleanly and vividly build up Aaero’s extraterrestrial world and guide the players where they need go. Not to mention some of the boss fights and set pieces are huge, with a very blockbuster feel to them.
The only minor problem I have with the game is the way certain ribbons are placed for certain music which are a bit unrealistic to follow, but that might just be my sore loser side talking, especially when it comes to the game’s online leaderboards where if you are good enough, you may just end up on top of other people’s performances.
Overall, Aaero is a flashy and exciting rhythm based shooter which features an excellent selection of songs bolstered and amped up by the unique gameplay timings and features that truly make use of the musical genre.
+ Easy to Pick up and Play
+ Unique Visuals
+ Makes Full Use of Music
+ Exciting and Huge Boss Fights