AIRRADE -AIR- - Studio SiestA - 2005


Studio SiestA - PC - 2005

Reviewed by Trisa.

Recently, I saw the animated series AIR which was an excellent show in my opinion. When I was looking for info on the computer game (what the series was based on), I saw a website containing a certain type of shooter called AIRRADE. Studio SiestA, the developers of this game, created a shoot em' up game using the characters, music, and the settings from AIR. This game is a Doujin title, meaning that it's a fan made game. I was totally blown away by this, and I had to download the demo (and eventually, find the full version). This is the third of the AIRRADE series. The first two are the original game, AIRRADE, and the expansion pack, AIRRADE -Summer-. This is the two versions combined packed with even more features.

Note that although this game is in Japanese, you do not need to learn the language in order to enjoy this shooter.

Gameplay [10/10]:

AIRRADE is similar to any shooter game out there. Basically you press a key to shoot at enemies, and you move your character with the arrow keys. However, not only do you get that, but also three attacks that the character can perform. One is a punch, which knocks the enemy out and destroying other enemies in the way. The next attack is an uppercut. Like the powerful punch, it also knocks a enemy out and destroys other enemies in the way. If you use the right arrow key and then press the key that performs the punch and uppercut, you will perform an EX attack, which is a stronger version of the punch and uppercut.

There is also another attack called AIR, which if used properly, can be very deadly. The attack will gather energy to the character, and you must move the character to the enemies in order for the attack to work. However, you must collect many items before it can be used. On the top right corner, there is a AIR gauge. Once it is filled up, you'll be able to use the special AIR attack. Also, the upgrades that you collected will be reverted back to its original form, slowly recovering.  Once you've mastered the moves and the controls, you will be able to have an easier time mastering AIRRADE.

Your main goal is to defeat all the enemies and bosses, collect as many items as you possibly can, and advance to the next level. However, you must also try your best to get the highest score possible. The key to mastering this game is creating a chain. When you perform a punch or uppercut, if you're performing it close to a group of enemies, you create a chain. The more enemies the better, because you rack up more points this way rather than just shooting at the enemies. However, the punch and uppercut requires energy, which will needs to be recovered. During this short process, you will be unable to perform the punch or uppercut attacks. You will have to have equal use of both shooting and performing these attacks to get many points.

Each character has their own weapon to use. For example, Misuzu is able to shoot dinosaur eggs at the enemy. Kano shoots at the enemies by using her magic, and Minagi shoots Rice Tickets at them. With upgrades, they are able to have even more powerful weapons. It's important to know which character works the best for you. There is no “best” character, so you must have the skill to master the game as well.

In terms of storyline, however, there isn't really much of a story. At the beginning of each level, you see text representing each “Day” or level, explaining a little bit about the main story. If you've seen or played AIR, you'll see that the story is similar to it. The main focus of AIRRADE is on the gameplay.

Difficulty [10/10]:

This game is fun and addictive, but it's not easy to master, even when you're in easy mode. You will not be able to get an excellent score the first time around, and may perform the same level many times before you advance further. Also, with the amount of enemies on the screen at the same time, it gets very crazy and chaotic. People who are fans of shooters will enjoy the difficulty that AIRRADE has to offer. People who are new to shooters may have a hard time beating the game. However, it is not so hard that you'll give up easily and quit playing.

Graphics [10/10]:

Perhaps the greatest part of AIRRADE is the graphics. Although the game is a traditional 2D shooter, the details the creators put into the characters and the enemies are excellent. The backgrounds are also very nice, as are the special effects. Although on my laptop I was able to play the game at full speed, you may need a fast enough desktop or laptop computer to experience the game at its best. Check the link for the demo at the end of the review to check the system requirements.

Another thing to point out is that the characters and the enemies have a cute look to them. Do not underestimate the enemies, for they will stop at nothing to take your character down. The enemies vary from cute looking dinosaurs, to dogs, birds, and other animals. The characters also are very cute looking.

Sound Effects [10/10]:

The sound effects add to the action packed shooter, ranging from explosions to the death of the enemies. There is some voice acting in the characters. They usually talk before the level begins, when they touch the enemy, and also if they're hit by an enemy. Although they do not sound like the real voice actors in the TV series, they fit the characters well and do not ruin the experience of the game.

Music [10/10]:

The music in this game is upbeat and has an action feel to it. There are some music which is slow, but during the game, you'll be hearing a lot of upbeat music. All of the background music in AIRRADE are remixes of certain songs of the original computer game and the TV series. If you liked the music in AIR, you'll enjoy the music in AIRRADE. Overall, the music adds to the game and to the overall experience.

Replay Value [10/10]:

This shooter is so fun and addictive in my opinion, that you'll keep coming back for more. With over 19 characters (only three can be played at first, but over time you'll unlock more characters), a replay system, two player mode, high scores, secret modes, different levels, various enemies and bosses, and a high difficulty setting, you'll be playing this game for a while.

Overall Thoughts:

This is an excellent fan made game. I was a bit doubtful at first, wondering how something like this could work. When I tried the demo, I no longer had any doubts at all. I can now see why this is a popular game for those who have seen or played AIR. A typical shooter fan will enjoy this game, despite the cute graphics, because of the gameplay. It may be very difficult for some who are new to shooters, but to fans of shooters, AIRRADE gives them a new challenge.


Character Selection

Here is the character selection screen. Here, you can choose your character. In the bottom left, you'll see information about how the character shoots.

Dinosaurs, Birds, And A Flying Girl...

This is the first level of the game, where you travel through this town fighting dinosaurs, bugs, frogs, and birds along the way. The character used in this screenshot is Kano.



The Doctor Is In

This image is an example of a chain. A punch was used to perform the chain attack. With chains, you are able to obtain more points than just shooting at the enemies. The character used is Hijiri Kirishima, one of the secret characters you'll unlock in AIRRADE -AIR-.

Through The AIR Of Summer...

This image shows an example of the special AIR attack. Although it's hard to see, you must move once you start the attack. If not, the attack will do nothing. If a high enough combo is obtain through the AIR attack, Fever Mode will occur, causing many dinosaur eggs appearing on the screen. The character used is Misuzu Kamio.



To The AIR of Sadness...

This image is another example of a chain. This is the boss on level two. One of her attacks is calling her dog, Potato. With Potato, the boss can be difficult to defeat at first, but with practice, you'll be able to defeat her. The character used is Minagi Tohno.

The screenshots featured in this review doesn't do the game justice in my opinion. Play the demo for yourself, and see if the experience is worth finding the full version of the game. For a fan made game, it is one of the most professional quality games I've come across. Overall, I highly recommend this game to those who want a challenge and enjoy shooters. It is quite an experience.

You can download the demo version by clicking here, which contains one level and you can only play as Misuzu. You also cannot change settings in the option menu. 

Links related to AIRRADE:


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie