There’s a lot happening in Air Twister. The arcade-style shooter from legendary designer Yu Suzuki is out right now on Apple Arcade, and it pushes gamers by means of a unusual fantasy world filled 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 Space Harrier, Shenmue, and Virtua Fighter, it was a likelihood to construct a fantasy universe filled with issues he beloved. “It’s an amalgamation of all of the different things that I would like to see in a fantasy world,” he tells The Verge.
Air Twister is a traditional rail shooter — assume Space Harrier or Panzer Dragoon — the place gamers tackle the function of a sci-fi princess combating to save lots of her residence world. It has 12 levels, that are comparatively brief however packed with enemies and punctuated by gigantic boss battles. It looks like a long-lost Dreamcast sport however with the fashionable addition of contact controls; you may spotlight swarms of enemies with your fingertips to fireplace off a volley of assaults. It’s very satisfying.
The gameplay is stable, however essentially the most placing factor about Air Twister is its downright weird world. You begin out hovering throughout a huge ocean with large mushrooms rising out of it earlier than shifting on to levels that embrace a barren moon, a stark mechanical lair, a large backyard filled with impossibly enormous 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 seems like they may not fit together, and as I was putting these parts together, I wasn’t really consciously thinking about how they would actually fit together in this world,” he explains. “For me, they just naturally fit.” Part of constructing this work, he says, was specializing in “the texture and the density and the color” of the landscapes and enemies when rendering the visuals. “I wanted everything to feel as if it was aged 100 years,” he explains.
The music was approached in a related manner. Air Twister options a prog rock soundtrack from Dutch composer Valensia; Suzuki says that he’s been a long-time fan of the musician and even “wanted to have the world fit his music.” But Suzuki had no connections to assist him get involved. So he resorted to a random Facebook message — and it labored. “Once he got a feel for the world we were trying to create, he was totally on board,” Suzuki says of Valensia.
Aside from the contact controls, Air Twister does make a few concessions for contemporary gamers. In its primary mode, you may 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. Given that Air Twister can get fairly difficult, this construction is designed to assist less-skilled gamers make it to the top.
That stated, the sport nonetheless has a extra conventional arcade mode with various levels of problem. Just like in the event you 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 wanted to make this like an old-school arcade game,” he says.