Review: Air Guitar Warrior for Kinect
Developer: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Publisher: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Platform: Xbox One
There’s no getting around it: the Kinect for Xbox One has been phased out. The Xbox One S (and presumably, future Xbox One consoles) does not come with a Kinect port to hook up Microsoft’s motion camera peripheral, and Xbox themselves have stopped all marketing push for it. That doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun with your Kinect if you still have one, however, as the occasional game pops up every now and then. One such game, is Air Guitar Warrior from Virtual Air Guitar Company. It is loads of fun, challenging, and it sends players on a journey through landscapes that looks they’ve been ripped straight off an Iron Maiden or Dio album cover. Get ready to (air) rock out!
The basic premise of Air Guitar Warrior is extremely simple: rock out with a variety of air guitar strums to shoot the hordes of enemies that are trying to shoot you. Players can execute a number of different strum styles (slow lead, fast lead, slow rhythm, regular rhythm, and fast rhythm) as well as special techniques like leaning backwards to unleash double the amount of projectiles.
Players are put into the game itself by the Kinect, being superimposed onto vehicles riding through hellish heavy metal album cover-inspired landscapes. Most vehicles simply travel from side to side through a level, but there are times where the player can steer the vehicle or animal up or down by tilting the neck of their air guitar. The level designs are a lot of fun, there’s a dense jungle, haunted cemetery, sweltering lava pit, and more. Populating these levels are armies of monsters, all attempting to thwart your progress.
In addition to regular levels, there are also the occasional boss battles. These are surprisingly quite challenging, though they aren’t unfair in the slightest. In fact, Air Guitar Warrior is a pretty balanced game when it comes to gameplay and difficulty.
Defeating a boss both completes an area and earns you your own personal album cover. If you’ve ever wanted to stand victoriously on top of a mountain throwing up devil horns, or soar majestically on a giant eagle, AGW can fulfill that rock fantasy.
Playing the game is immediately fun, both because of the novelty of seeing yourself air guitar to vanquish monsters but also because the gameplay has a surprising amount of depth. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much more than a throwaway, gimmicky title, but the fact is that Air Guitar Warrior is much more than pantomiming a rock performance – it’s actually a damn fine shoot-em-up. The amount of enemies on-screen, the fact you have ammunition that needs to recharge, the sheer challenge of it all, it all adds up to a game that has more in common with a bullet hell shoot-em-up like Enter the Gungeon than the usual Kinect games.
Of course, a game that focuses and relies on heavy metal culture needs a decent soundtrack to back it up, with Air Guitar Warrior offering a mix of songs, each with a different feel. Some songs are better than others, but Virtual Air Guitar Company offered musician Mr. Fastfingers a unique challenge when constructing the game. As players are able to strum slowly and rapidly with both lead and rhythm at any point in a stage, the music needed to be able to accommodate to that. Some of the songs sound like basic jam tracks that you might practice along too with a real guitar, and while the game is very much all about metal, the songs are very accessible. I was hoping for some songs that sounded like homages to actual bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden and Avenged Sevenfold, but the soundtrack does a serviceable job as it is.
It’s apparent that AGW was made on a modest budget, but if you look beyond that you’ll find one of the best experiences you can have with Kinect. It’s hilarious, but also surprisingly challenging. Definitely check it out if the idea of living out a bullet hell rock-and-roll fantasy appeals to you.
|Air Guitar Warrior is a bullet hell shooter cleverly disguised as a motion-based novelty title. It's simple and enjoyable in a way that it outperforms a great deal of it's AAA rivals. Dust off your Kinect and check it out if you're after a great night in with friends.||3.9 3.9 ( on 5 rating)|