Legendary designer Yu Suzuki returns with a wild arcade shooter
There’s rather a lot occurring in Air Tornado. The arcade-style shooter from legendary designer Yu Suzuki is out at present on Apple Arcade, and it pushes gamers via a wierd fantasy world stuffed with armored birds, flying squids, skeletal dragons, floating cities, and evil clocks. For Suzuki, who’s finest recognized for his work at Sega on video games like House Harrier, Shenmue, and Virtua Fighter, it was an opportunity to construct a fantasy universe stuffed with issues he liked. “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 House Harrier or Panzer Dragoon — the place gamers tackle the position of a sci-fi princess preventing to avoid wasting her residence world. It has 12 levels, that are comparatively quick however full of enemies and punctuated by gigantic boss battles. It looks like a long-lost Dreamcast sport however with the trendy addition of contact controls; you possibly can spotlight swarms of enemies along with your fingertips to fireplace off a volley of assaults. It’s very satisfying.
The gameplay is strong, however essentially the most placing factor about Air Tornado is its downright weird world. You begin out hovering throughout an enormous ocean with huge mushrooms rising out of it earlier than shifting on to levels that embody a barren moon, a stark mechanical lair, an enormous backyard stuffed with impossibly big 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 might not match collectively, and as I used to be placing these elements collectively, I wasn’t actually consciously interested by how they’d really match collectively on this world,” he explains. “For me, they simply 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 all the pieces to really feel as if it was aged 100 years,” he explains.
The music was approached in the same means. Air Tornado contains 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 involved. So he resorted to a random Fb message — and it labored. “As soon as he received a really feel for the world we have been attempting to create, he was completely on board,” Suzuki says of Valensia.
Apart from the contact controls, Air Tornado does make just a few concessions for contemporary gamers. In its principal mode, you possibly can acquire stars, which might then be used to unlock new objects, starting from beauty upgrades like new hairstyles or outfits to genuinely helpful gear like a protecting protect 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 top.
That mentioned, the sport nonetheless has a extra conventional arcade mode with various levels of problem. Identical to when you have been shoving quarters into an arcade cupboard within the ’80s, right here you solely have your individual talent to depend on — which is how Suzuki initially envisioned the expertise. “I needed to make this like an old-school arcade sport,” he says.