Twin stick shooters, once the indie smash hit and since copied, rehashed, spun-off, evolved and developed many times, it’s about time that the Switch had it’s own. And Aperion Cyberstorm doesn’t disappoint by adding simple gameplay to some clever concepts.
An intergalactic conspiracy sets the scene as you engage campaign mode to find your missing team. Character models for dialog help flush out the pixel style graphics and simple yet bright colours, but for me the campaign was better for the gameplay of flying about, uncovering bits of the levels under the cover of a darkness shroud. Controls are exactly as you would expect, one stick to move, one to shoot with the usual power ups to engage, but variety in baddies is good and health bars are a neat addition.
Sounds like an odd thing to say but in bullet hell twin-stick shooters, it’s often overwhelming odds rather than longer fights. Health bars help with this and give an element of strategy to attacking foes with more health than a single hit, or shields which you need to deplete. The other thing that Aperion Cyberstorm adds to its take on this style of the game is co-op action.
All modes support up to five players. Five! Campaign with more than one friend quickly gets chaotic but is well suited for local play thanks to the Switch’s functionality with controllers. Should you bore with working together, you can fight each other in Versus mode. Not content with just fleshing out the campaign with a healthy dose of maps, the Versus mode contains 32 (!!!) maps and nine modes. Modes vary from the standard deathmatch to limiting abilities to one use until you can find more, King of the Hill, or Control (holding the most points on the map).
Further to this, you can customise the ships (and add in AI ships if you have no friends), and customise the mode. Want to lose a point when you kill yourself in King of the Hill? You can set that up. Onslaught is the final mode on offer, which is a horde mode affair where you can on waves of enemies of increasing difficulty.
The customisation aspect of Aperion is really obvious throughout. Not only can you edit the modes you play to your own taste, but you can make the game text bigger or smaller (especially useful if you’re in portable mode) or even add in one handed controls if perhaps you have less abled gamers who want to play. Having said that, because of how chaotic it gets on screen I did struggle to find where I was and follow the action. Over time this improves as you get used to it, but on portable mode especially it is a struggle sometimes following the action and hitting the right power ups to collect and not run into baddies.
I enjoyed Aperion Cyberstorm. I think it is great on the Switch as a pick up and play title, but you could also find yourself sinking a good amount of time into it, particularly on Versus mode and the massive amount of combinations. My favourite has been playing two human players teaming up against the AI – this also avoids arguments around the house on who wins or loses!
Reviewed on Switch