Gamer Mania 2

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Super Stardust HD (PSN) Review

I'm bored, so I figure I might as well come back for a review. Since we stopped blogging I've picked up all 3 of the new consoles, the PS3 just recently and the Wii back in February.

Here goes.

Super Stardust HD is the latest downloadable title to hit the Playstation Store and the third space shooter available. Unlike Blast Factor and Nucleus before it, SSHD does a lot to seperate itself from the pack. Instead of the normal flat, square grid that most shooters like this have, Stardust puts you on a spherical planet that your ship can fly around all 360 degrees of. You'll encounter gold, ice, and rock asteroids along with mechanized thingy-mabobbers [Yeah.. thingy-mabobbers, got a problem with my vocabulary? :-P] of all shapes and sizes that want to hurt you. To stop them, you get a Rock Crusher, a Gold Melter, and an Ice Splitter. Each weapon destroys the matching asteroid fastest, adding a level of strategy to the game. The asteroids have green power up rocks inside them that hold points, shields, or upgrades for your weapons. Also in your arsenal are bombs that clear the screen and a Dash, which shoots you across the screen, destroying everything in your path. The downside is it takes 10 seconds to recharge after you use it.

There are 5 planets that all have slightly different designs and enemies, along with different types of asteroids. Each planet is broken down into five phases, with more crap flying at you the further you go, and in the last phase of each there's a boss for you to ass-kick. There's both an Arcade mode and a Planet mode, but I haven't really figured out the difference between them. The official description is that Arcade allows you to unlock new planets and Planet mode is just for getting high scores, but I unlocked a planet in Planet mode too.. So I'm not sure if there's actually a difference between them or not.

The graphics remind me of Asteroids on steroids. Everything is hella shiny, from your weapons (the gold melter is especially pretty) to the enemies, to the planet. What I like most about it is how when you shoot the asteroids they break into bits very smoothly. It's just so incredible!

I'm not usually one to have much to say about sound, and that's the same this time around. I'll just say it's not bad music, but some of the sound effects are suuper annoying (one of the boss fights where rockets get fired comes to mind).

The most disappointing aspect of this game is the lack of online play. There's co-op, but it's only offline. It's not as good as the single player because your lives are shared and you have to stay on the same screen, but it still would've added longevity if it was online. There are still a lot of different leaderboards, which are a nice touch.

Overall for $10 this is a great deal, especially if you love games like this. I'm not going to say this is the PS3's Geometry Wars, because it's not that amazing, but it's the best bang for your buck on the PSN so far. 8/10

Now this doesn't mean we're coming back for sure, but I definitely had fun writing this and it didn't take too long, so don't be surprised if we do come back - Just like when we started out - Games only.

Keep an eye out.

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