HomeVideo GamesGAME REVIEW | "Air Twister" a Wild Rail-Shooting Rhapsody

GAME REVIEW | "Air Twister" a Wild Rail-Shooting Rhapsody

GAME REVIEW | "Air Twister" a Wild Rail-Shooting Rhapsody

Sometimes games should be allowed to be weird! Yes, that means that some titles will be completely nonsensical and lack any sort of coherency. But you know what? I like a game that can be both weird and fun to play. And I think that just about sums up why I kinda love Yu Suzuki’s latest contribution to the gaming world: Air Twister!

Taking place in a world that’s either the future or an alternate past, Air Twister has you playing as Princess Arch. There’s a war going on, and only she has the power to end it all. Whether it’s solo or riding on a giant swan/chameleon/elephant, Princess Arch aims to shoot evil down with her powerful laser bow. As she roams through the twelve worlds, the challenges she faces grow increasingly fast.

Acting as a spiritual successor to Space Harrier, Air Twister will have you on your toes in every second of its adventure. After giving you a proper tutorial, the game gives you a false sense of security that this will be easy-as-pie. Alas, as soon as you jump into the first world, you quickly see that this game ain’t no picnic!

Enemies will engulf your screen very quickly, as they shoot lasers, fire, and other things at Princess Arch. And despite the amount of lives you are given, you will quickly see those dwindle the more you dive into the game. It results into a nail-biter of an adventure, as hard enemies will soon leap towards even tougher bosses, which include dragons, stingrays, and giant crabs. And despite their ridiculousness, their skills can be terrifying!

So what does one do in order to get better in Air Twister? Well that’s where the stars you collect can come in. As you play, you will be given stars that can be used to unlock new weapons, costumes, and upgrades for your health and defense. One can also find out secrets about the people, enemies, and world of Air Twister, which may help with making some sense of what exactly is going on. The more you play, the more powerful you will become.

As such, Yu Suzuki’s latest game is not meant to be played in a single play-through. In fact, that may be impossible, as attacks get more harrowing the deeper in the game you go. Twelve levels may not seem like much of an offering, but once you see how many times you’ll have to play the game before you can actually reach the final boss, the level quantity may make more sense. After all, like Space Harrier and other arcade classics, it’s gonna take more than a single quarter to beat a game you’re new to.

Visually, Air Twister is pretty gorgeous. It brings to mind a more polished NiGHTS into dreams…, where its characters and surroundings feel like something out of a psychedelic acid trip. Granted, some areas may look bare, but that’s quickly remedied when the world becomes filled with enemies. There’s also something appealing about both the swan and chameleon Princess Arch fly on, with their appearances being endearing and filled with spirit.

I did a double-take when I heard the music playing. Composed by Dutch musician Valensia (who has a bigger popularity in Japan than in the US), the songs capture a very Queen-like vibe in its sound. Not only does the music sound like a Freddie Mercury and Brian May, it also feels like one. Songs like “Symphony of the Swans”, “Princess Mystique”, and the game’s title track have a Night in the Opera aura to them that make the song not carbon copies of Queen, but homages to one of rock’s greatest acts. (The Mercury version, of course. We don’t talk about either the Paul Rodgers or Adam Lambert-fronted ones.)

With all of that being said, the one complaint I have regarding Air Twister is its controls. While the JoySticks on the PS5 DualShock help move Princess Arch around seamlessly, shooting is a whole different story. Although you can defeat the enemies with the lock-on aspect, the thing about rail shooters is that there’s always the urge to keep on shooting in them. And this game’s control setup wasn’t set up for such a thing.

Yes, you can hold down R1 and just let it fire. However, only one bullet every 2-3 seconds comes out when you do that. In order for more to fly, you gotta keep hammering down the button. And doing that after twenty odd minutes results in so much pain, that you are forced to hit the pause button and take a few minutes to wait for said pain to recede. No, you can’t quit the game, as it’ll make you start from the beginning if you do. (You don’t lose the stars you earned, which I think is for the best.)

On top of the main 12-level campaign, Air Twister also has a boss mode, arcade mode, and a few others to play through once you’ve had your story mode fill. There are also some daily and weekly challenges, which will help you earn more stars when you complete them. Although the campaign is short, it’s one that’s definitely meant to be experienced in more than one play-through.


  • Campaign has classic arcade feel
  • Kick-ass soundtrack
  • Always challenging gameplay


  • Short campaign
  • May cause trigger finger soreness


Air Twister may have a weird name, but it fits with the all-around strangeness it contains. However, Yu Suzuki’s latest is as kooky as it is fun, giving off the best arcade shooter vibes in a very long time. It may lack a bit of sense at first, but those who dive into Air Twister will find no trouble embracing the weird and wild game that it delivers.


Promotional consideration provided by Derek Reeve of PRHound. Reviewed on the PS5.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)