It’s no secret to anyone that I was a big fan of Aaero when it released last year. I rated it with a stellar score of 95/100 and often mentioned it as my personal GOTY when asked about it on social media.
When I interviewed the developer, their DLC plans were also a recurring topic and I’m over the hills that the first additional content for this masterpiece is finally here. I was one of the first people on the Xbox One platform to get my hands on it.
So let’s have a look shall we? The DLC comes with 3 new tracks, each with 4 levels of difficulty (counting the no-death chill out mode) and all tracks are songs from the Brittish DJ 1000DaysWasted. I’ll rate each track seperately and then have a short look at the cosmetic DLC as well because there are also 3 new ships to download.
The first track is called The Sickness and its easily my favourite of the three (I’m not afraid to admit that this is partly because it’s the easiest; I usually don’t look for too much of a challenge when playing video games). The song itself is also the one I’d be most inclined to purchase and the ribbon, my favourite mechanic of the game: a path you need to stay on to multiply your score, is also the most fun to follow. No clue what I’m talking about? Have a look at the video:
It also has the least amount of enemies (and the easiest ones out of the bunch at that) so you can just enjoy the music to its fullest and focus on getting the highest possible Ribbon accuracy. In the harder difficulties you’ll have to face more enemies than in the video above, which is played in normal mode, but you should manage to get through the level unscathed.
Level design-wise you’ll notice a lot of re-used elements from existing tracks in the main game. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it would have been nice to see a little more new assets.
My rating: 9/10 –> It’s in my top 5 tracks of the game
The first boss of the main game is a Giant Wurm, the second DLC track, Rage, is an earwurm that’ll burn itself into your hippocampus. The song has a repetitive line “let me see your hands in the air” that I found myself singing throughout the day, much to the dismay of my wife and daughter. Musically I wouldn’t listen to it outside of this game, but it lends itself well to the level design of this track: it has plenty of corkscrews, a seemingly faster pace and plenty of multi-target enemies that drop like flies.
The corkscrew ribbon was a bit difficult for me to master though, below you can see my second attempt at the track and I only managed a 70% ribbon accuracy. Though the aim of the game is to improve upon your previous run at each new attempt.
I also really liked the easter-egg (if we can call it one) at the end, where you see one of the main game’s bosses: the giant spider. It’s only a shame that this points out one thing I’m really missing from this DLC Pack: it has no boss-level. The main game had 3 bosses to beat: A giant wurm, a giant spider and a giant octopus (the ‘giant’ part being the common denominator) and I would have LOVED to see a new bos introduced. Hopefully we’ll get to see one in a next DLC pack.
My Rating: 8/10
The final track, Dissonance Constant, gave me mixed feelings. Music-wise it’s my least favourite of the three; there are some lyrics that I could hardly understand and the beats/bass aren’t all that memorable to me. It’s hard to say why, but I just didn’t click with this song. Your taste may very well differ (in fact I hope it does, or the world would be a bland and boring place to live in) so judge for yourself if your into it or not:
Graphically though, it’s the most interesting of the pack. I could really dig the sunset vibe I was getting from it and it felt the most unique out of all of them. There was even a nice little ending where you see multiple ships touching down on a landing strip. The ribbon movemens, while fun to perform, were one of the hardest for me to master out of all the tracks in the game. Even after multiple attempts I just did not seem to be doing a lot better at them and that’s without taking into account that harder difficulties will often throw enemies at you during these sections. speaking of which, the main enemies of this track are also the most annoying ones out of the entire game: they have plenty of health, often throw up shields that you need to destroy first and they shoot homing projectiles at you.
One bright side is the new enemy that was introduced: the snake/dragon-like creature you face a few times is basically a variation of the 8 seperate enemies that you’ve often encountered before, but I really like the look of it and how it feels like you’re destroying a multi-part enemy by shooting each seperate bodypart.
My Rating: 7,5/10
Looking at the three tracks as a whole I can say I’m anything but disappointed but I do feel like it could have used a few more extra elements to really spice things up: completely new level designs that don’t resemble any of the original ones, secrets spread around the track (the main game had 100 secret targets to shoot, some deviously hidden) and most of all: I would have loved the final level to be a boss-battle.
I’ve been looking forward to this added content for most of a year and I can’t wait to see what new content could be added at a later stage. I would love for this game to keep growing and I feel like everyone should at least play it once so be sure to grab the demo on whatever platform you prefer (Xbox One, Playstation 4 or Steam) if you haven’t played the main game yet. If you did play the main game, I’d find it hard to believe that you’d turn down new content for this amazing masterpiece.
Next to the new tracks, there were also new ships added to the game, each one costing $0.99. I won’t be giving these a review score as they’re only cosmetic changes but if you’re big on those, have a look:
Personally I prefer Phaser out of the three, as that ships leaves the most interesting trail out of them all (and it’s their behin you’ll be staring at the most) but Sol gives it a run for its money with its sharp and sleek edges.
I’ve never been much into buying new cosmetic content in games myself, but for those who do care it’s good to now have the option and it’s always a great way to support the developers of a game you’re really into.