Yes, I know this one’s out for the Switch and STEAM, but for those of you who still only own a Wii U, you’ll be very pleased to know Aperion Cyberstorm is also available on your console of choice, it’s pretty darn good and definitely a game you’ll want to check out if you love arcade-style dual-stick action.
Featuring a solo campaign and some fun couch co-op and great versus multiplayer modes, this is a fantastic little twin-stick shooter that makes for plenty of nostalgic blasting action in campaign mode and plenty of mayhem as a “grab up to four other friends and have a total blast” manner in the mutiplayer modes. Indie developer aPriori Digital has made a very challenging and really solid experience that’s going to make quite a few Wii U owners very happy to see there are still signs of life left in the system.
(Thanks, Apriori Digital!)
Campaign mode is a good way to jump into things in terms of learning the controls and getting the hang of the basics before you play against friends. It’s more or less a top-down action game with maze-like levels and gameplay that’s reminiscent of Gauntlet or Diablo with a far simpler look. Actually, the visual style works well if you’re old enough to remember games like Star Castle, Defender and a few others. Your enjoyment of playing the campaign in its entirety will depend on how you deal with single player games in general. If you’re more raised on the internet, you may find the solo play somewhat lonely. On the other hand, if you like solo games or have less friends than you like, you’ll probably like what’s here a lot.
As new areas and their assorted challenges are introduced (there’s a lot of game here for that $15), the game has a way of dialing you into its story and as noted, there’s an almost action/RPG tone to things as you deal with waves of enemies, grabbing gems and power-ups and trying hard not to get wiped out by some particularly pesky bosses and hazards. As you play, new weapons and other helpful goodies are unlocked that add to your arsenal, but you can make the game a bit more difficult if you choose some weapons that seem more powerful at first, but sacrifice firing rate for pure power. Experimentation is a big part of the process, so you’ll see what I mean soon enough.
Co-op play adds to the challenge by beefing up enemies accordingly. As for the multiplayer, Versus offers up frantically paced play for up to five as well as the ability to tweak the rules a bit. But you’ll have to pack all your friends on your couch or go traveling to them with your Wii U or Switch (nope, there’s no cross-play between the two systems, sorry!). At least you can use a few different controllers to play this one, so if you happen to have a few spare Wii Remotes or a Pro or Classic Controller, you can hop in and get to taking your friends on in this laser-packed thrill-fest.
Free-For-All can be played along, but this as well as the Team Battle mode are also great stuff for multiplayer fun. Finally, you also get a survival-based Onslaught mode to tackle alone or with friends. It’s not at all easy as it shouldn’t be, but it’s another slice that adds value to an already inexpensive game. Accompanying the game’s retro looks and gameplay is a superb (and almost dance-inducing) soundtrack that nicely flows with the onscreen action. Of course, bopping your head to the beat will just get your ship of choice blown into space dust, so be careful when you get too into the groove.
I see by the official site this is also set for Xbox One owners at some point this year, but I don’t see a PS4 listing anywhere. Let’s hope that’s rectified soon, as Sony could use another cool indie like this in their lineup.
Score: A- (90%)
Review code provided by the publisher