Legendary designer Yu Suzuki returns with a wild arcade shooter
There’s quite a bit happening in Air Tornado. The arcade-style shooter from legendary designer Yu Suzuki is out at present on Apple Arcade, and it pushes gamers by means of a wierd fantasy world filled with armored birds, flying squids, skeletal dragons, floating cities, and evil clocks. For Suzuki, who’s greatest identified for his work at Sega on video games like House Harrier, Shenmue, and Virtua Fighter, it was an opportunity to construct a fantasy universe filled with issues he cherished. “It’s an amalgamation of all the various things that I want to see in a fantasy world,” he tells The Verge.
Air Tornado is a basic rail shooter — suppose House Harrier or Panzer Dragoon — the place gamers tackle the position of a sci-fi princess combating to avoid wasting her dwelling world. It has 12 phases, that are comparatively brief however full of enemies and punctuated by gigantic boss battles. It seems 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 fireplace off a volley of assaults. It’s very satisfying.
The gameplay is stable, however probably 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 transferring on to phases that embrace a barren moon, a stark mechanical lair, an enormous backyard filled with impossibly big roses and topiary animals, and a desert filled 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 as if they might not match collectively, and as I used to be placing these components collectively, I wasn’t actually consciously interested by 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 all the things to really feel as if it was aged 100 years,” he explains.
The music was approached in an analogous method. 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 obtained a really feel for the world we had been attempting to create, he was completely on board,” Suzuki says of Valensia.
Other than the contact controls, Air Tornado does make a couple of concessions for contemporary gamers. In its fundamental mode, you’ll be able to accumulate 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 stated, the sport nonetheless has a extra conventional arcade mode with various levels of issue. Similar to in the event you had 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 recreation,” he says.