Welcome to part two of my Seven Gaming Heroes series where I analyze some games you are likely to have heard of but might have not experienced yet. This week I’m going to be looking at one of the best rhythm games out there, Aaero.
Developed by two man team Paul and Dan, collectively known as Mad Fellows Games (Twitter handle @MadFellowsGames), and featuring music from artists such as Flux Pavilion, Subhuman and Noisia. To judge Aaero on its soundtrack alone would instantly find it ranked very highly for best music in a video game, including games made by studios a hundred times larger. Bringing a Playstation 4 Metacritic score of 77, the base game consists of 15 tracks with an additional two packs of DLC featuring artists such as 1000DaysWasted and Protostar that bring three more levels each.
If you are a gamer that likes a lot of replay value in their games then Aaero is most definitely for you, as its replayability is off the charts. Featuring escalating obstacles and enemies to fend off as you progress, as well as three difficulty settings for you to unlock as you play, there is a comfort level for everyone that makes Aaero extremely accessible. Paul and Dan were also nice enough to put in an invincibility mode allowing you to play through the whole game with unlimited lives as practise, something I’m very appreciative of as rhythm games take me quite a bit of time to get to grips with.
The core gameplay consists of piloting your ship to follow a blue laser line that moves around the circular axis you can fly in, with the ship defaulting to a central position when not being steered. Aaero also works as a twin-stick shooter as you steer with the left stick and target enemy ships and the games assortment of bosses with the right stick as you progress through the levels.
Later enemies are capable of creating barrier around themselves, or swarming you with several of them on-screen all firing projectiles that will destroy your ship upon contact. Later levels, even on the lowest difficulty, can prove very challenging as the amount of things you need to keep track of increases, but as the visuals and soundtrack of every level are so good and the loading times so short, you will not be put off trying again and again until you have conquered each stage.
The graphics in Aaero are some of the very best in gaming today with environments whose colours really pop off the screen. The tunnels that the bulk of each level take place in look outstanding too, though no words come close to capturing the majesty of the last level of the core game with the lightning arcing in time with the music as the final boss encounter emerges from the waves beneath you, spanning from shades of deepest blue and shining silver.
Long term readers of the site may remember I ranked my top 15 boss fights of all time last summer, and the Mechanical Spider boss from Aaero came 12th in that list. Not only is the Spider a majestic and imposing sight but the choice of music for this level, Revenge by Habstrakt and Megalodon, works very well in making this an amazing and unforgettable battle.
Thank you for reading part two of my Seven Gaming Heroes. I am pleased to report that Aaero 2 is confirmed as in development and I am very much looking forward to picking that up on its as yet unconfirmed release date. Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter @MaliceVER what your experience of Aaero was like if you have played it, or if it is a game you will be adding to your collection in the future. I will be back next week with part three to talk about the game with the most beautiful blood you’ve ever seen, the 2016 remake of Shadow of the Beast, and so I will speak to you then.