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 the moment on Apple Arcade, and it pushes gamers by 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 cherished. “It’s an amalgamation of the entire 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 preventing to save lots of her house world. It has 12 phases, that are comparatively brief however filled with enemies and punctuated by gigantic boss battles. It looks like a long-lost Dreamcast recreation however with the trendy addition of contact controls; you possibly can spotlight swarms of enemies along with your fingertips to fireside off a volley of assaults. It’s very satisfying.
The gameplay is stable, however essentially the most placing factor about Air Tornado is its downright weird world. You begin out hovering throughout an unlimited ocean with huge mushrooms rising out of it earlier than shifting on to phases that embrace a barren moon, a stark mechanical lair, a large 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 eager about how they’d truly 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 every part to really feel as if it was aged 100 years,” he explains.
The music was approached in an identical approach. 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 received a really feel for the world we had been attempting to create, he was completely on board,” Suzuki says of Valensia.
Apart from the contact controls, Air Tornado does make a couple of concessions for contemporary gamers. In its fundamental mode, you possibly can gather stars, which may 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 tip.
That mentioned, the sport nonetheless has a extra conventional arcade mode with various levels of issue. Similar to in case 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 wished to make this like an old-school arcade recreation,” he says.