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Review: Super Stardust HD

A short game that is a good introduction to twin-stick shooters

  • Developer: Housemarque
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Genre: Twin-stick shooter
  • Release: 6/28/07 (PS3), 12/8/08 (PSP)
  • Platforms: PS3, PSP
  • Modes: Single-player, Co-operative Multi-player
  • Availability: PlayStation Network Store

Graphics:

Super Stardust HD is visual treat with plenty of shiny and glowing effects that give it a visual vibrancy that most games don't have. The style of vibrant lighting helps with the alien sci-fi visual theme. Texture wise, they are simple and nothing to write home about, but the intense visual effects compensate for it.

Game-play:

Super Stardust HD is a twin stick arcade shooter where you guide a small ship around a 3 dimensional sphere and destroy as many enemies and rocks as possible in each wave. Each wave has a certain amount of rocks and enemies that need to be destroyed before you can advance, but new ones will drop in on you as you play. Surviving 4 waves on a planet will trigger the boss fight that can only be hurt from his weak point. Once you beat a planet, you will unlock it in it's respective mode and will have to beat 4 more planets.

As it is an arcade shooter, there are plenty of power-up's to utilize in your survival. There are extra lives, shields that let you take a free hit, points, and ammo powers. You have access to three weapons for the three types of rocks you encounter. It is possible to destroy rocks with other weapons, but they are not as effective as their color coded counterpart. The green rock cutter, the red gold cutter, and the blue ice cutter. The rock cutter shoots thin beams that go fast but has a moderate effective range. Gold cutter is like a flamethrower that has shorter range, but can lock onto multiple enemies without aiming. Ice beam shoots thicker projectiles that travel far, but are slower then the other two. Bombs are limited, but can destroy everything on screen. Enemies don't have any weapons they are weak to so you are free to use any beam that is strong enough and effective.

You control your ship with the left analogue ship and aim with the right stick. You press x to shoot, square to launch a bomb, use the L1 and R1 buttons to switch buttons, and push down on the left stick to activate a boost. The boost lets charge through enemies and rocks without taking any damage. You will be relying on the boost to make it intact as you will often be surrounded or have everything be dropping right on top of you. The controls are simple and easy to learn, but that isn't enough to survive.

The game is easy to pick up and play and comes with an arcade mode, co-operative mode, and a planetary conquest mode. Arcade mode keeps playing as long as you survive each and complete planets while planetary conquest ends the game once you complete a planet. When you complete a planet, you weapon's power levels are saved at the end of each completed planet when you play planet conquest mode. Each game mode has three difficulty levels levels to give you the challenge you need. For those who are not good at twin stick shooters, easy mode will give plenty of a challenge. The game has DLC for 3 additional game modes which I have not tried.

Audio:

The sound track is techno themed with an alien tone to it. It is energetic and upbeat with a hint of retro arcade familiarity to it. The soundtrack is small with each of the five levels have there own music for the level, the main menu theme, and the game over theme.

Thoughts:

I enjoyed Super Stardust HD despite not being that great in arcade shooters. It's a simple to pick up and play, but challenging to master. With multiple game modes and difficulties, it will keep you entertained for awhile. If you can get past the cheap death traps the game pulls, it's fun to play. I would say this is a game anybody should give a try if they are interested in the Twin-stick shooter genre.

Gameplay

The overall impression on playability, mechanics and features.

Ok
Graphics

The overall impression on visuals, effects and framerate.

Good
Value

The overall impression on value for money and longevity.

Ok
  • I'm not that great at arcade shooters.
  • I only played on easy mode, which was hard enough for me.
  • Completed arcade mode, but still have two planets to go on planetary conquest mode.
  • I don't have a second controller so I couldn't play co-op.
  • I didn't purchase the dlc for the game, though they are variations of arcade mode.

N/A

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I like all kinds of videogames from many genres. I've been playing videogames since I was three from the SNES, Genesis, and Atari. I like to write videogame reviews for fun and to test my writing skills. My blog were I host my reviews is http://justforfungamereviews.blogspot.com/

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