Legendary designer Yu Suzuki returns with a wild arcade shooter
There’s so much happening in Air Tornado. The arcade-style shooter from legendary designer Yu Suzuki is out in the present day on Apple Arcade, and it pushes gamers by way of an odd fantasy world stuffed with armored birds, flying squids, skeletal dragons, floating cities, and evil clocks. For Suzuki, who’s finest identified for his work at Sega on video games like Area Harrier, Shenmue, and Virtua Fighter, it was an opportunity to construct a fantasy universe stuffed with issues he cherished. “It’s an amalgamation of all the various things that I wish to see in a fantasy world,” he tells The Verge.
Air Tornado is a basic rail shooter — assume Area Harrier or Panzer Dragoon — the place gamers tackle the position of a sci-fi princess preventing to save lots of her house world. It has 12 phases, that are comparatively quick however full of enemies and punctuated by gigantic boss battles. It appears like a long-lost Dreamcast recreation however with the trendy addition of contact controls; you’ll be able to spotlight swarms of enemies together with your fingertips to fireside off a volley of assaults. It’s very satisfying.
The gameplay is strong, however essentially the most hanging factor about Air Tornado is its downright weird world. You begin out hovering throughout an unlimited ocean with large mushrooms rising out of it earlier than transferring on to phases that embrace a barren moon, a stark mechanical lair, an enormous backyard stuffed with impossibly large roses and topiary animals, and a desert stuffed with lethal flying manta rays.
Suzuki describes the worldbuilding as a “collage” of concepts, citing influences just like the artist Michael Parkes and the movie The NeverEnding Story. “At first, it looks like they could not match collectively, and as I used to be placing these components collectively, I wasn’t actually consciously fascinated about how they’d truly match collectively on this world,” he explains. “For me, they only naturally match.” A part of making this work, he says, was specializing in “the feel and the density and the colour” of the landscapes and enemies when rendering the visuals. “I needed every thing to really feel as if it was aged 100 years,” he explains.
The music was approached in an analogous approach. Air Tornado encompasses a prog rock soundtrack from Dutch composer Valensia; Suzuki says that he’s been a long-time fan of the musician and even “needed to have the world match his music.” However Suzuki had no connections to assist him get in touch. So he resorted to a random Fb message — and it labored. “As soon as he bought a really feel for the world we had been making an attempt to create, he was completely on board,” Suzuki says of Valensia.
Other than the contact controls, Air Tornado does make a number of concessions for contemporary gamers. In its most important mode, you’ll be able to acquire stars, which may then be used to unlock new gadgets, starting from beauty upgrades like new hairstyles or outfits to genuinely helpful gear like a protecting defend that kicks in when your well being will get low. Provided that Air Tornado can get fairly difficult, this construction is designed to assist less-skilled gamers make it to the tip.
That mentioned, the sport nonetheless has a extra conventional arcade mode with various levels of issue. Similar to if you happen to had been shoving quarters into an arcade cupboard within the ’80s, right here you solely have your individual ability to depend on — which is how Suzuki initially envisioned the expertise. “I needed to make this like an old-school arcade recreation,” he says.