Air guitar warrior 2 is a strange hybrid of a game. Merging the styles of side scrolling shooters and rhythm games similar to rock band and guitar hero.
Made by the aptly named Virtual Air Guitar Company, I’m not making that up by the way. The company is based in Helsinki, Finland and again this is very apt, considering Scandinavian prevalence for heavy metal.
The Virtual Air Guitar Company has had a hand in making mainly kinect games in the past. With titles such as kung-fu for kinect and boom ball for kinect the next logical step for them was something more musically inclined.
The game is unfortunately completely storyless and depends much on its gameplay to support it. As with any kinect port though this isn’t much of a surprise, as they are designed to be more for party play.
The gameplay is much like any side scrolling shooter. Waves of enemies are flung at you and you have to kill them. It couldn’t be simpler. That’s where you’d be wrong. The rhythm side of the game comes from how quickly you push each button to fire. With certain enemies being vulnerable to types of fire, it helps to have good timing.
From the outset you are given four different firing modes for each weapon. The first two modes are based on rhythm with its slow strum or fast chug. These two fire modes are used primarily for clearing the screen of enemies and destroying the blitz of gunfire from various monsters.
The other fire modes are based around the lead guitar side of playing, solos and whatnot. Be it with slow melodic solos or super fast finger tapping. These modes are used for more precise shooting. These are needed for destroying enemy shields and are particularly effective against bosses.
You also have a special mode, where you go into overdrive and have a rapid fire mode. Other abilities are unlocked too with such things as a shield available to avoid damage in a pinch. The weapons are all modelled on various types of guitars. A Gibson figure 8 design shoots fire balls and the flying V freezes and slows enemies down.
The enemy designs are bright and colourful with weird and wonderful ideas behind them. The game starts with an army of floating skulls, culminating in a giant demon skull as the first stages boss.
This trend tends to continue depending on which level you are on. You could be fighting aliens while riding on a meteor and flying through the galaxy. Perhaps you’ll find yourself in prehistoric times and fight dinosaurs while riding a Tyrannosaurus Rex. My favorite was probably flying through the Himalayas, riding an Eagle and fighting wizard moles on giant dragons. Seriously.
The big problem I have with this game is the music. Which, in my opinion, should have been the most important thing in the game. It unfortunately seems to have taken a side track to the graphics. It’s such a shame to see this title sideline this. I would have been better if the music was more tightly integrated with the gameplay. For example if they had set the enemies up in a way where the background music was complimented by what you do with the guitar. I would have been more satisfied with this effect. As it stands though it’s lacklustre.
They could have explored more of the genres of music, that would have enhanced the experience, at least musically. However I would also be concerned that it would have been handled the same way as the rest of the music has been.
The other problems are more apparent. While I like the level, enemy and character models, none of it feels very original and at times can feel derivative of other games from the genre. There isn’t much here that hasn’t been done better and with better mechanics.
Overall, the game could be more original and the music, arguably the most important aspect of this game, could have been implemented better. I do however like the character models and level designs but it needs more work to feel original.
A review copy for Xbox One was provided for the purposes of this review.
Find out more about the game here.
- Great character models
- Enemy designs are great
- Graphics are decent
- Music is not used a well as it could have
- Isn't as good as other genre titles