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  • Writer's pictureOle Gamer Joe

Air Twister Review - Is Yu Suzuki's Latest Rail Shooter Redemption?



Air Twister Reviewed on Steam/PC by Ole Gamer Joe

11/10/23

Ys Net/ININ

PS/XBOX/PC/SWITCH


In Air Twister Yu Suzuki draws inspiration not just from Space Harrier but other classic series such as Ultima, Panzer Dragoon, and even Out Run. It is an on-rails shooter first and foremost and a beautiful one at that. True to its name you'll weave and twist through enemies as you fly forward dodging oncoming projectiles. Locking onto your foes is as simple as gliding your lead character over them as if she were a paint brush or gliding your finger across the screen if playing on Steam Deck, and then unleashing your own plasma-based attacks with the press of a button. It's as easy as that, with multiple difficulty options should the going get tough. You'll control Princess Arch who is battling alien-like creatures that are attacking her planet. Much like the gameplay the story is a cut and dry affair and not a major focus at all. Yet, for as simple as it all seems there is something undeniably inviting about the world of Air Twister. Perhaps it is the enemy design, a mix of pulsating orb shaped robots, winged elephant creatures, or even yellow flying sting rays to name just a few. Or maybe it's the bosses, massive creatures that hurl everything at you except the kitchen sink. One of my personal favorites was a dancing clock and candle set that wouldn't have looked out of place in the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. The world of Air Twister is a majestic one full of whimsey and magic, and it's 12 gorgeously crafted levels are just as beautiful to breathe in as they can be difficult to survive.


girl flying in tunnel
Air Twister is beautifully strange

Further heightening the world of Air Twister is a fascinating soundtrack from Valensia who summons the majestic beauty of a Queen album through 19 spellbinding musical pieces. Featuring tracks both old and new these stunning works feature powerful vocals, piano, percussion, and gorgeous orchestration that had my jaw on the floor. As someone who absolutely loves Queen, I thought someone had summoned the ghost of Freddy Mercury for this soundtrack, it's that good. When you factor the gorgeous visuals and amazing music together Air Twister suddenly feels more like a religious experience than a cut and dry arcade shooter. It's so beautiful in fact that one would be forgiven for taking additional damage simply from being lost in the majesty and fantasy of it all.


If you are concerned Air Twister will be a one and done experience fear not, as the game features a surprising amount of gameplay modes and even a built-in adventure map where you are able to spend stars that you've collected to obtain new items and unlockables. New items include everything from weapons to outfits and you might even learn just a bit more about the world of Air Twister itself. With each unsuccessful run it felt good knowing it wasn't all for nothing as I was constantly looking forward to getting further and further on the adventure map. Even the simple act of redressing the princess brought me great joy, as some of her outfits look amazing.


Air Twister also features more than just a simple campaign. Other modes can be unlocked including a stardust mode that puts you on a timer, a fluffy mode that I won't spoil here, turbo mode, extra stages, and even some minigames. If that weren't enough players looking for an additional challenge will also find a more difficult arcade mode. Here you'll have one life to live so best of luck to you! If that weren't enough the developers have even included a boss rush. Air Twister is a surprisingly well fleshed out product that doesn't skimp out on content which can sometimes be one of the bigger complaints' gamers have with arcade rail shooters.


fire dragon creature
PC performance is excellent

It's also nice that Air Twister performed beautifully on my PC blazing along at 120 FPS. I was playing on a 4070 Nvidia graphics card which is likely overkill for a game that honestly has the art direction of a souped-up Dreamcast game, but this isn't to sell the products presentation short. I loved the visuals of many Dreamcast titles, and it was nice to see that style brought to life again yet refined for more modern times. If players wish to enjoy the game on Steam Deck the experience will not look quite as majestic as on a large screen and I did encounter some pretty nasty framerate dips from time to time. I would also say while both options are available, swiping your finger over enemies didn't feel as fun as gliding over them as it almost dumbed down the gameplay a bit too much. In a way it is ironic that Air Twister was originally a mobile game because experiencing its world on a massive screen at high resolutions is where it truly shines. Still, with proper Steam Deck support and optimization the handheld version could eventually become more serviceable.


If I had to levy criticism at Air Twister it would be in the simplicity of the gameplay itself. Ultimately, there isn't much to do in terms of gameplay outside of dodging shots, tagging enemies, and shooting back. If you weren't a fan of this genre before, Air Twister will not change your mind. While challenging and engaging for me, it is ultimately an arcade shooter, and in 2023 fans of the genre itself seem to be somewhat of a dying breed. While the game does try to speak to more modern audiences through its aforementioned skill map and upgrade system, at the end of the day this might not be enough for many gamers. Air Twister is undoubtedly a niche product with a specific audience in mind. Also, as much as I praised the world, music, and art direction I could just as easily see all of those features being a turn off for other players. This is a very strange game in the way it is presented and you'll either be on board with that as I was, or completely dumbfounded by it all.


mushroom world
The game won't be for everyone

All told, I found Air Twister to be a welcome return for Yu Suzuki and company. By making a smaller more focused title YS Net have crafted a unique well-made product that won't be for everyone, but in the right hands is a captivating experience. I am awarding Air Twister the Silver Genie Lamp of Approval.


PROS

+ Gorgeous Worlds

+ Lots of Content

+ Stunning Soundtrack

+ Great PC Performance


CONS

- Steam Deck Support Needs Work

- Simplistic Gameplay Won't Be For Everyone

- Unusual themes and setting won't appeal to the masses


silver genie lamp

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