Previews// Dispatches from EGX: Aaero and Anarcute

Posted 8 Oct 2015 15:00 by
Chris O'Regan, host of The Sausage Factory (the inside baseball of the videogames world), has been out and about once again, keeping his nose to the ground at EGX to sniff out the best upcoming games you might not have heard about. Here's what he found...

Developer: Mad Fellow Games
Format(s): PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC

Music and games have become increasingly entwined with one another ever since the likes of Vib Ribbon and Rez came into being. Aaero is a new take on this music/arcade shooter hybrid game that combines dub-step with an on-rails shooter, adding in breathtaking visuals that are somewhat akin to Panzer Dragoon, only the rail in question is the baseline of the soundtrack to Aaero.

The player controls a ship that is flying in third-person into the screen. It has a landscape flying by and with it a long glowing beam. This beam, when struck by the player's ship, not only increases the player's score, but also emits a baseline beat that alters the music to Aaero considerably. This acts as a type of player reward as it provides direct feedback to them that what they are doing is correct thanks to the texture of the music becoming much more interesting and pleasing to the ear.

When I sat down to play this at the Rezzed section of EGX 2015 I was told by the developer who was assisting with the demo that I had to play it with headphones on. He was right, of course, as once I donned the headphones I really began to appreciate that the music wasn't just flavouring sprinkled on Aaero, but was in fact very much core to its make-up.

The controls were very simple, with the left thumb-stick being used to move and rotate the ship to match the location of the beam, which was quite tricky in some of the later levels. Combat uses the fire and forget method of missiles that requires the player to lock onto enemies and then fire off a volley that would destroy and/or damage the target.

My time with Aaero left a very big impression on me after playing it for quite some time. I actually returned to it on several occasions during the EGX 2015 weekend and also managed to drag some friends along so they could see and hear it for themselves. The only negative thing to say about Aaero is that it's not coming out until Q1 2016, but it will appear on PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC when it does.

Developer: Anarteam
Format(s): Xbox One

There's a very odd appeal to a host of very cute and fluffy things being incredibly destructive. I'm not entirely sure why this is - maybe it's the juxtaposition of liking cute things while being horrified at what they are doing somehow lessening the impact of their destructive behaviour? Who knows? I do know that Anarcute is a game that revels in the idea that an oppressed group of cute things want to change the world by looting a city that appears to be set in the same world as Crossy Road. At least that's what it looks like to me!

Tucked away in the indie section of the Xbox One booth at EGX 2015 was a single demo pod that was playing Anarcute. As I gingerly picked up the controller I found myself herding a large group of little people. They were intent on destroying things as a means to break free from the yoke of oppression that their colourful world was beset by. Instructions were given on the streets of the world that explained what the player was required to do. I thought it was terribly helpful of the authorities to offer guidance to cute things on how to riot properly.

Soon I was gathering more and more of the great-unwashed as I rumbled around the brightly-coloured city that was in the thralls of what appeared to be some kind of police state. Anything that wasn't bolted down was picked up by the hoard I had unwittingly created and they used these items, ranging from street side benches to station-wagons, to cause as much death and destruction as they could. All of it under my guidance of course, which had me alternating between saying 'awww' and 'oh now that's just naughty' a lot.

Like with any game that focuses on the destruction of many things, Anarcute does a great job of presenting an extremely visually pleasing world that is just begging to be rampaged across; preferably by little cute things in the name of the proletariat, of course. Anarcute is due to appear on Xbox One sometime in 2016.

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