Air Twister: Review

air twister review cover

Originally launched on Apple Arcade, Air Twister is finally making its debut on consoles and PC starting from November 10, 2023. Developed by Yu Suzuki and published by ININ, this captivating title will be available for PC through Steam, as well as on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. We had the opportunity to experience the game on Xbox Series S.

In Air Twister, the AIR’s survival depends on Arch, a descendant of the royal family, who must take on the task of leading the resistance against the evil Needles and restoring the AIR and all its inhabitants to its former glory.

Air Twister: the return of the arcade

Air Twister is a rail shooter that evokes nostalgia for classic 80s arcade games like Space Harrier. The story mode comprises 12 progressively challenging levels, each culminating in a final boss battle, except for the two bonus levels. Throughout these levels, we encounter the Vanguards, hostile creatures that obstruct our path and launch ranged attacks against us. Each level showcases a distinct area of the AIR, ranging from the sea to the floating city and the desert.

These environments bear the marks of the Needle invasion and introduce us to various adversaries. In true old-school arcade fashion, it is imperative to complete all levels in a single playthrough or restart from the beginning. In between runs, we can utilize stars to acquire upgrades, such as increased health, special attacks, new weapons, and even cosmetics for our character. As we conquer levels, we unlock more potent upgrades and gain access to new secondary modes.

Air twister screenshot 1

In Stardust mode, our objective is to swiftly eliminate waves of enemies, with new waves continuously emerging after each successful defeat. Fluffy mode immerses us in a 2D side-scrolling game, devoid of weaponry, where our focus lies in evading enemies and obstacles while maximizing our collection of coins or stars. The Turbo mode amplifies the difficulty by enhancing the level speed, necessitating quick reflexes to evade obstacles and enemies.

Tap Breaker presents a mini-game that tests our ability to rapidly reconstruct number sequences. The Extra Stage presents a unique level wherein we must navigate a tunnel teeming with enemies and environmental obstacles. In arcade mode, the initial health is adjusted based on the chosen difficulty, and any acquired improvements are rendered unusable. With the boss rush mode, we confront all the game’s bosses in succession, with the aim of completing the mode in the shortest time possible to achieve the highest scores.

Air twister Tap Breaker screenshot

Air Twister brings typical ’80s arcade shooter gameplay back to Xbox. The graphical rendering remains faithful to the original version designed for Apple Arcade, although it falls short of the standards set by the current console generation. However, this does not detract from the overall visual experience, which is still satisfactory. The soundtrack, composed by Dutch musician Valensia and heavily influenced by Queen, complements the game’s surreal settings. Nevertheless, the soundtrack does not match the frenetic pace of the levels.

Air twister screenshot 2

Despite these minor drawbacks, Air Twister offers a satisfying shooter experience with its diverse levels, challenging enemies, and the ability to upgrade our character. It is unfortunate that we cannot purchase upgrades during gameplay, as this necessitates repeating levels to acquire better equipment. Nonetheless, the inclusion of additional modes enhances the game’s replayability.

Our verdict

If you love arcade titles, Air Twister is a must-have title in your library. Despite a few imperfections, the game offers an entertaining and enjoyable experience.

  • Satisfactory Shooting
  • Possibility of character evolution
  • Additional game modes
  • The gameplay and soundtrack don’t always blend well together
  • A bit repetitive