Stereo Aereo might sound strangely familiar but developers StoneBot Studio insist it’s nothing to do with Mad Fellow’s smash hit Aero. While still very much a rhythm action title, Stereo Aereo steps back to the 80’s for a much more retro outing.
You control one of Stereo Aereo, a mediocre sci-fi rock-band intent on getting to the ultimate concert. It seems that their common sense is equally sub-par, and as well as dodging vehicles and asteroids, you’re going to have to defeat the police, some cyber-space mobsters and the queen of the space dump in order to reach your concert and five minutes of fame.
Similar to early guitar hero titles, you have a band of channels stretching towards the horizon. As obstacles rush towards you, you can dodge left and right using the left stick, d-pad or triggers, and timing your movement to the music will increase your score and multiplier.
Soon enough your first enemy (The Police) will appear and start throwing additional obstacles in front of you, these ones can be shot using the A or Y buttons (xbox) so while all five channels might occasionally be blocked, there’s always a way out if you’re quick enough.
Progressing through the early stages you’ll come across your first boss character, with 6 in total across the 10 stages, there’s plenty of variety in their appearance, but just like the standard levels, gameplay always remains the same, dodge the obstacles, and shoot what you can, Those not bothered about their score, will easily breeze through most levels with a bit of practice by concentrating on evading while shooting constantly, it’s not the most exciting way to progress, but it’s unfortunately easy.
The main difference from one stage to the next is down to the music, visuals and the tempo of play, some of the later levels will both drop the tempo as well as the inevitable increase meaning each track might take a few play-through’s before you start to pick up the beat and time your movements accordingly.
Initially the graphical presentation is pretty impressive, a cyber city flooded with neon lights is bright and appealing but some later levels fail to reach the same standard, the expected space level with little more than a few stars for company, or the desert looking a little too deserted. Unfortunately it all starts to feel a little too much on rails, there’s no tight turns, no 3D parallax effects portraying depth, instead it’s just the same five channels reaching into the horizon.
The overall story presentation is above average with some well drawn comic-book cut-scenes with some pretty good (although quite cheesy) voice acting, giving you a little more details about the characters and the personality behind them.
Sound continues to impress with the soundtrack, sticking with the 80s electric-rock style, there’s enough variation between the tracks to keep you playing, It’s safe to say without the audio diversity, most people would struggle to tolerate the gameplay alone, but the music and the way their implemented into your on screen movements, while nowhere near the standard of the ribbons of light in the aforementioned ‘Aero’, they still do a very good job of filling your concentration in a way that the gameplay or graphics alone just couldn’t manage.
Stereo Aereo, is a fairly short game, likely to last most 4-5 hours, and while there’s replay value in the arcade mode, and score based rankings, there’s sadly not the longevity in the gameplay to make many come back for more.
Stereo Aereo is a budget rhythm action game based around cheesy 80’s rock music, there’s a decent and fun story to play through with arcade and rankings to look at afterwards, but sadly most will tire of the repetitive gameplay and presentation..
Gameplay : 6.5
Graphics : 7
Sound : 7.5
Story : 7
Value : 6.5