Legendary designer Yu Suzuki returns with a wild arcade shooter
There’s quite a bit occurring in Air Tornado. The arcade-style shooter from legendary designer Yu Suzuki is out right this moment on Apple Arcade, and it pushes gamers by means of a wierd 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 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 the entire 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 function 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 possibly can 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 large mushrooms rising out of it earlier than transferring on to phases that embody 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 as if they could not match collectively, and as I used to be placing these components collectively, I wasn’t actually consciously eager about how they might 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 wished the whole lot to really feel as if it was aged 100 years,” he explains.
The music was approached in the same means. Air Tornado incorporates a prog rock soundtrack from Dutch composer Valensia; Suzuki says that he’s been a long-time fan of the musician and even “wished 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 attempting to create, he was completely on board,” Suzuki says of Valensia.
Except for the contact controls, Air Tornado does make just a few concessions for contemporary gamers. In its foremost 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 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 top.
That mentioned, the sport nonetheless has a extra conventional arcade mode with various levels of issue. Identical to in case you had been shoving quarters into an arcade cupboard within the ’80s, right here you solely have your personal talent to depend on — which is how Suzuki initially envisioned the expertise. “I wished to make this like an old-school arcade recreation,” he says.