Aperion Cyberstorm (Switch eShop) Review
Twin stick shooters are interesting to me. I don’t play them incredibly often, but I do always have a blast while playing them. But, a lot of the ones I’ve tried are just a bunch arenas, not really connected to each other. Which is fine, but I still tend to always prefer games with a sense of exploration along with progression. Aperion Cyberstorm has scratched that very particular itch for me, being the first time I’ve been entirely enthralled with a twin stick shooter.
So if you’re unfamiliar with the term twin stick shooter, it’s thankfully pretty simple- the left stick moves your ship around, and the right stick shoots in whatever direct you point it. Because it’s top down, that connection instantly makes sense, and makes dodging and shooting pretty easy.
Aperion Cyberstorm is a bit more than just the controls, though. There’s a selection of different ships and abilities, with more to unlock as you play through the campaign. Different ships have different qualities, like speed, durability or even just how many streams of bullets it fires. The abilities then work on top of that, upping your firepower in a variety of different ways. My personal favourite was using a ship with 2 fire streams, with an ability that doubles your bullets for a short time, leading to 4 streams.
All of these abilities have cooldowns, meaning you’ll be paying attention to how often you’re using them and when it’s best to do so. You can have two on you at a time, one mapped to ZR and the other ZL, seeing as the triggers are freed up from the typical shooting mechanic. You can upgrade these abilities as well, using points you gather from killing enemies or destroying crystals around some of the levels.
Which does lead me to one of my favourite parts of the game- each room is connected, with some being for combat, and others for looking around. It’s usually obvious which is which, with combat arena rooms cranking up the tunes as soon as you enter. There is just something satisfying, though, about taking a little break from shooting to have a room or two that’s just about mining through blocks and finding power-ups or crystals.
The combat is also incredibly solid, bringing the chaos you’d expect from a twin stick shooter. On top of ships and abilities, elemental charges will also drop, adding another layer of strategy to the gameplay. These power-ups will follow you around until you want to use them, which is incredibly handy.
All of this gameplay revolves around a handful of game modes, including a campaign mode, a versus mode (with AI if you’re lonely like me!), and Onslaught mode, which is basically just play until you die while the enemies get tougher. The beauty of it though, is each of these modes supports a total of 5 players!
So the game already plays incredibly well, but a lot of what makes Aperion Cyberstorm addictive is the neon art style and techno music. It’s a sort of neon retro look and feel, without relying on pixel art or chip tunes- it’s very distinct and adds to the atmosphere of the game. The only complaint is that sometimes the levels are a bit too dark, making level boundaries harder to see, while the neon enemies are sitting just outside of them.
There’s only a handful of nitpicks I can make about Aperion Cyberstorm. The dialogue text in campaign mode is tiny- too tiny for handheld mode. There’s also a sound that plays when you beat a room that’s a smidge too loud. Neither really affected my enjoyment of the game that much, though, and could probably be fixed in an update.
Overall, Aperion Cyberstorm is a well polished and incredibly fun game. Even if you’re new to twin stick shooters, or have had a bad time with them before, I reckon this is still worth picking up. There’s a variety of modes, control schemes, and tons of content to play either solo or with friends!
+ Incredibly solid and addictive gameplay
+ Great neon artwork
+ Pumping soundtrack
- Some levels are a bit too dark
- Dialogue text is tiny on handheld
- Playing until 4am happens a lot