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Aperion Cyberstorm campaign first impressions - twin-stick intensity with surprising depth

by: Eric -
More On: Aperion Cyberstorm

Aperion Cyberstorm, a feature-rich twin stick shooter from aPriori Games, dropped on Thursday for Nintendo Switch, Wii U (!), and Steam. I haven’t had time to dig deeply enough into this game for a full review, but I have played about three hours of the campaign. I thought that I would put together some first impressions about the game, as it is worthy of attention.

First, the official hype language, detailing what Aperion Cyberstorm has to offer:

  • Three modes of play: Campaign; Onslaught; and Versus
  • 1-5 player support in all modes
  • Campaign mode with ships, abilities, elements, and several difficulty levels to select/unlock
  • Onslaught mode with 16 maps of brutal challenge, with enemy compositions specific to each map
  • 16 maps in Versus, with a further 16 to unlock through play across all modes
  • Optional AI players in Versus mode for constant five player battles
  • Reverse controls, auto-activation of weapons and abilities, and scalable text for readability

To be clear, I haven’t been able to try out Versus mode, as I’m busy playing single-player for the time being. But I can say that the campaign totally rocks, and the gameplay is a lot deeper than I expected.

There is a story in the campaign, but in the interest of keeping things spoiler-free, I’ll just say that you are piloting a ship through some underground caverns, fighting off a variety of enemy attackers with some hot twin-stick action. Nothing unusual there, right? The game’s depth is revealed once you realize that you can customize your ship with a variety of weapons. Then you realize that you can change ships entirely. Then you realize that you can level up the weapons and abilities. Then you realize that you can replay levels to grind for materials to build up your stuff. Right about then, you discover your first secret. You realize that this is a twin-stick shooter with secret paths, and the rabbit-hole really opens up. At this point, I thought “Oh, I’m really going to spend some time on this game.” There is a lot going on in Aperion Cyberstorm, and I’m still on the single player campaign.

Aperion Cyberstorm’s campaign is structured in a way that has you moving from room to room, with rooms acting like stages and the spaces between allowing players to catch their breath. The stages are surprisingly varied, with different obstacles scattered about. Some enemies are blocked by obstacles, but some can cruise right through them, so knowing the difference becomes important. I would typically carve out a “safe” area behind an obstacle, and fight my out from there, retreating as necessary. Enemies are varied, and learning their abilities and patterns is part of the fun. Occasionally, you come across a safe area that allows you to level up your abilities and change your loadout.

The game looks great on the Switch screen, but once I tossed it up on a 55” television, the attention to detail really became apparent. The neon vector graphics really shine on a big screen, and once the action gets whipping around and the dark corners of the screen light up with the reflection of several hundred bullets, this game looks like fairly spectacular. With the lights out, and the soundbar cranked with the bass rumbling through the house, its easy to give yourself over to this game and fall into a twin-stick-shooting trance.

I’m really looking forward to trying out the multiplayer modes, once I’m able to recruit some of my older kids to play with me. I expect they will dominate me as usual, but that is to be expected. Advantages of youth and all.

Aperion Cyberstorm is currently available on Steam, Wii U and Switch (where I noticed that its on sale for a few bucks off). If you like twin stick shooters, this is a game that feels like it is pushing the genre forward in some interesting ways. It is definitely worth a look.

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