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Just a few years ago back in the heyday of the Xbox 360, rhythm based games were very popular indeed.  Grown men struck rock god poses in front of their TVs while holding plastic guitars playing the likes of the Rock Idol and Guitar Hero series’, which then spread out to other peripheries such as drum kits and DJ decks.  Things then went pretty quiet with this type of game on the Xbox One, so getting my hands on a game like Aaero was a welcome return to something where interaction with the soundtrack is crucial. 

 

Mad Fellows have made a game that combines the rhythm based game with a sci-fi shooter that feels very fluid for the player and an experience that you can easily become immersed in.  There are two main aspects to playing the game, which are introduced individually but as the levels become more difficult you need to master both parts simultaneously.  Firstly, your left stick controls your spacecraft as it flies through the environment, rotating the stick to follow a line that moves around according to the melody of the music.  This is the most fluid part of the game, as the line changes according to a change in note or phrasing of the lyrics.  On initially attempting a level it may be a little tricky but as you learn the track you get a feel for which way the line is going to move and you experience the flow of the music.  In a way that reminded me of the Guitar based games of the 360, you need to hit the line to hear that part of the melody, and the longer you stay on the line, the higher the score multiplier you’re rewarded with.  The second mechanic of the game uses the right control stick and trigger to shoot enemies and take out incoming missiles.  It’s less instinctive than the movement of the craft but still ties in with the music scoring you more points if done to the beat.  Incoming missiles will come at you all on the same radius and you rotate the stick to light them up with your sights before hitting the trigger and dispatching them with your lasers.  In the earlier levels, you’ll have to perform the different parts of the game alternately, with a minute or so of flying followed by a short shooting section, then taking you back to the flying.  The learning curve then gradually steepens until you are trying to do everything simultaneously, something that can require intense concentration, especially on the longer levels of up to 10 minutes.

This type of game can succeed or fail on the strength of the music, and Mad Fellows have rightly put a lot of effort into not only securing a great soundtrack.  Although the tracks are all of a dance or techno flavour, there is plenty of variation within the genre to make each level unique with its own distinctive feel.  The gameplay matches very well each track included, so it feels good to just stick on the headphones, notch the volume up a bit and enjoy the challenge. 

The graphics follow a certain style throughout, with your ship flying through futuristic canyons or the inside of immense buildings with a feel that will be familiar to sci-fi fans used to the chase sequences of movies like Star Wars.  Again, as with the music, there is enough variation in the setting and good use of different colour schemes to give each level its own identity and stop the game becoming repetitive despite similar actions being performed in the game. The transitions that take place within each level work well with the different parts of the music so you may have a shooting section for the verse and then your ship dives back into a tunnel for a speed run through the chorus, before again being catapulted back out into the open.  Every few levels, there comes the boss fight which shakes things up a bit, asking you to combine all your skills to defeat the bigger enemy.  This can be as much of a grind as a challenge, demand you still at it and barely blink for fear of losing one of your three lives and having to start over.

Overall Aaero breathes some new life into the genre of music/rhythm based games, with a great fusion of gameplay, graphics and banging tunes that you can lose yourself in for a fun gaming session.

Many Thanks to Reverb Inc for the review copy.

Developer:  Mad Fellows

Publisher:  Reverb Triple XP

Website: www.madfellowsgames.com/

Twitter: @MadFellowsGames

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Community for FIFA 19 League players on Xbox Live. We run the very best FIFA Fantasy League with players from all around the world. AbsoluteGaming also offers members a variety of leagues and tournaments on games such as TGC Tour 2019, Gears of war, Call of Duty & Forza Horizon 4.

 

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