Aaero: Complete Edition Review — Were You Rushing Or Were You Dragging?
Aaero can be fun, especially if you're a fan of the EDM genre, but it has a tendency to be a bit inconsistent at times when it comes to its other aspects.
Musical rhythm games have always interested me. I think music can make or break a game, so to see a title centered around the medium will almost always catch my eye. Aaero: Complete Edition centers around Electronic Dance Music, a genre that I’ve been particularly fond of for awhile. So when I saw the trailer for the game, it immediately sunk its hooks into me. All sorts of genres of music have been represented in games before, but I personally feel like EDM rarely gets a fair shake, even though it’s one of the most popular music genres and it has been bleeding into other genres like Pop and Hip Hop for years now. After being in the world of Aaero for a bit now, I can say that it does do the genre justice, and it can be fun for twin-stick shooter fans, even though I do have problems with it.
First off, let’s start with the most important aspect of Aaero: the song selection. While I wouldn’t say it’s exhaustive by any means (there are 21 songs in total), there’s certainly enough to stop it from being boring, at least for a long while. If you’re a fan of EDM, you’ll love these tracks. Hits from when I was in high school like I Can’t Stop and Bass Cannon are featured, which are two tracks that I always gravitated towards when playing Aaero.
There is also a good variety of tracks in the game; it’s not all dubstep. You have some decent Glitch tracks and House tracks in the mix as well. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find any music outside of EDM, so if that’s not your thing or you hate the genre, Aaero might not for you. But if you like the genre in any way, you should definitely give this a shot.
In terms of gameplay, it’s interesting, to say the least. You control one of four different ships in a semi-on-rails style of level. The ship is always moving straight ahead on a fixed path, but you can move the ship in a 360 circle with the left thumbstick in order to avoid obstacles like falling debris or enemies. On top of that, you also have a blaster of sorts, which is controlled with the right thumbstick that can be used to defeat enemies and stop incoming missiles.
The concept itself is cool and every shot and explosion you make is tied to the track that you’re playing, making everything sounds in-sync. The accuracy, however, isn’t so great. There were multiple times where I was aiming right on-target and my shots weren’t registering properly. It quickly fixed itself after I moved the target a bit, so I can’t complain too much, but it still annoyed me to no end.
During the course of Aaero, you’ll have two objectives: make sure your ship’s path lines up exactly with the corresponding beat lines on-screen, and defeat as many enemies as possible before you die. Aaero has a good variety of enemies as well. There are small ships that are only there to serve as an annoyance, there are giant bosses that need a good amount of skill to defeat, and then there’s everything in between.
One particular level that I enjoyed, which has been shown in a number of different photos and videos, features a giant spider-like creature, whose steps match perfectly with the tempo and beat of the song playing. Like any other rhythm game, players have to try and be as accurate as possible. Too many misses on the beat line and your combo meter will deplete, which means you won’t get as high of a score. These scores then allow you to unlock new levels, but I wish they did more than that. I almost feel like Aaero doesn’t reward you enough considering that some of these levels can be pretty difficult, even on the easiest difficulty. It should be noted that all of the levels in the game can be played on a “Chill” difficulty, which essentially just gives you unlimited lives so you don’t have to worry as much about enemies.
The graphics are another aspect of Aaero that can be a bit hit or miss. Aaero’s art style itself is cool, but in some levels, it just looks annoyingly bland, having nothing but dull colors and flat, matte surfaces. In other levels, however, you can see gorgeous reflections in water and vibrant colors, which left me in awe and wondering why these looks weren’t put on full display more. While the game doesn’t claim to have outstanding graphics, I couldn’t help but want more consistent textures. One thing that is consistent though is how it looks across both handheld mode and TV mode; it’s about the same either way, so you won’t run into any jagged edges, at least from what I saw.
In short, I think the best thing Aaero has going for it is its song selection. While it may not be extensive and bring hours upon hours of enjoyment, Aaero does highlight the best of the EDM genre during the height of its popularity. This doesn’t mean I hate everything else in the game — far from it. I enjoy the controls, the gameplay, and the graphics but I think they don’t do anything to stand out or are wildly inconsistent with each other. If you’re an EDM fan, I would certainly recommend picking this up, especially on the Switch. But if you’re a casual twin-stick shooter fan, I don’t know if there’s much here to satisfy your cravings.