PSX 2016 – Aaero Preview – Riding Beats, Slaying Beasts (PS4)
Rhythm games are hard to come by on home consoles these days. While Amplitude was thankfully revived with a Kickstarter early this year, nothing else out there is quite like it on the PlayStation 4. Aaero hopes to take the feeling of Amplitude, and jack it up on steroids by mixing in some shoot-em-up mechanics. We got our hands on the game at Sony’s PlayStation Experience 2016, and have a preview available to read through below.
The Aaero demo started out innocently enough. My ship was racing through a tunnel, while a bass-heavy track was playing. I used the left stick to steer my ship along a glowing rail, and for as long as my ship was close enough to the rail, the music played, I collected points, and built up a multiplier. This continued for a good minute or so, with an occasional pause as the inevitable bass drop hit. Things felt a little boring, to be honest. Then the tunnel ended, and my ship was outside. Turns out, this was just the introduction to the song, and some of the game’s mechanics.
Now things began to pick up. I encountered my first enemy – some sort of flying robot bug-looking thing. I used the right stick, and held down R2 to lock onto the enemy. Releasing after obtaining multiple locks did the most damage, and I made short work of the robot. Meanwhile, the track was still playing, and I had to stay near the rail as best as I could while battling these enemies. Naturally, towards the climax of the song, I was dodging enemy fire, locking on to dozens of enemies, and moving in all directions to stay near the track’s rail. By the time the track was finished, I felt relieved and accomplished, having only missed three enemies on my first attempt.
The audio in Aaero features electronic beats with incredibly heavy bass. A good portion of the track was dubstep, but there were quieter moments in between the frantic waves of enemies. The demo station I was placed at included headphones, so that the noise of the show floor could disappear into the background and I’d be able to better focus on the game. If you’re into electronica, EDM, dubstep, house, and even trance music, you’ll likely enjoy Aaero’s soundtrack.
Next, we skipped ahead a few missions to a boss level. Here, while the core mechanics of Aaero stayed intact, I was tasked with defeating a gigantic, killer worm. It would leap out in front of me like a dolphin breaching water, and in the few moments that I could see its body segments, I could attempt some lock-ons while also avoiding colliding into it. If I didn’t release my weapon locks in time, though, some of my shots would hit nothing but sand as that portion of the worm disappeared underground again. Eventually, the worm disappeared entirely for a while, before blasting up right in front of me and swallowing me whole. The entire time, the thumping audio track continues to play, and the inside of the worm becomes part of the level. This cycle repeated three or so times, at which point the worm swallowed me for good. I failed the level, but I came very close to defeating the worm as indicated by its nearly depleted life bar. A level like that just begs to be repeated.
Aaero felt like the kind of game you can easily get lost in. Gameplay is deceptively simple – anyone can pick it up, but few will master all the multitasking you need to do in order to attain the game’s highest scores. Developer Mad Fellows is currently hard at work finalizing the game, and it should launch in Q1 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam platforms. Keep it locked to PlayStation LifeStyle for continuing PSX 2016 coverage!