Runner games come in all shapes and sizes and it’s largely down to style, groove, difficulty and aesthetic that they are separated. Aerial_Knights Never Yield is on the more forgiving end of the runner difficulty spectrum but what it lacks in challenge, it makes up for in pizzazz.
You play as an escaped neon fugitive of sorts in a futuristic Tokyo/Detroit. You’ll always keep running forward through 13 levels of dodging, jumping, sliding and sprinting to avoid obstacles. You can do this with the controller but the keyboard works just fine on PC. Aerial_Knights has a great double system to help you know what is coming next. Each type of move is colour coded and those colours flair up on the right-hand side of the screen to prep you. The object will then also flash that same colour too. if you struggle, the actual controls will be painted on the background of the level too. It makes it nice and easy to pick up and understand. There is an optional flip button too for some stunt action.
The game comes with three levels of difficulty. Normal gives you slow down and those warning lights and they are reduced in hard mode in both size and length. Insane then adds more obstacles closer together and removes all warnings. Expert 3D runners should head straight for this mode as soon as they can as that is where the challenge is found. Checkpoints stay though so unlike a certain Bit.Trip franchise, you are not expected to complete a level in one run.
This is handy as some levels are five minutes long. Aerial_Knights is all about running from authority and chaos and so some levels have you avoiding missiles, another has a van sending out musical notes to avoid and another is running up a building thus changing the view. These are great as they switch up the core gameplay which was needed. One of the downsides of the game is that the same types of obstacles repeat stage after stage and so when you get a level that changes things up, they feel like a breath of fresh air. It is also worth noting that because the game is so forgiving, you can slide through half the obstacles and it looks a little clunky at times, as if you’ve cheated.
Whilst the angular graphics that look like they’ve escaped from an electrocuted comic book won’t be to everyone’s taste, the soundtrack is a resounding thumbs up. The game has Detroit artist Danime-Sama making some really chilled beats that straddle funk, jazz and hip-hop. It matches the graphical style perfectly and whilst it doesn’t flow with actual button presses (since you can sprint so timing will always be different) it gives the game a whole vibe.
Aerial_Knights Never Yield takes just over an hour to complete in Normal mode but will be a fair bit longer on harder and insane due to the amount of respawns you’ll have. If you are looking for a 3D runner challenge then I’d recommend Bit.Trip Runner 2 or 3 over this but if you want a chilled vibe to your running and obstacle jumping – yield to the purchase.
Review copy provided by publisher.
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