If you own a PS3 and have an internet connection then you own it to yourself to download Super Stardust HD. Released exclusively on the PSN in 2007, Super Stardust HD was a phenomenal twin stick shooter which featured stunning visuals, great audio effects and timeless gameplay that still holds up five years later.
Now that Sony are ready to release the Playstation Vita, which boasts a pair of gorgeous analog sticks, it’s only natural that a new Stardust game would be available in time for the systems launch.
Like most great games, Super Stardust Delta is incredibly simple to learn but difficult to master. From an aerial view you pilot a ship around the surface of small spherical planets, ridding it of falling asteroids and destructive enemies. If you’ve already played the PS3 version or other twin stick shooters such as Geometry Wars you’ll know what to expect but newcomers will have a blast trying to stay alive on these derelict yet deadly planets.
Each planet is divided is up in to five increasingly difficult phases, the last of which contains a boss who will undoubtedly put your skills to the test. Thankfully you have two different weapons (fire and ice), bombs and the ability to boost, all of which makes your job a fair bit easier. Additionally you can collect power ups and additional points which litter the environment.
Graphically Super Stardust Delta looks extraordinary! The sheer amount of explosions, colour pops and enemies that are on-screen at any given time is impressive and the Vita manages to process all of the action without any hiccups. The game’s upbeat, futuristic soundtrack is also sublime especially with the Blast Pack DLC installed (more on that later).
If you opt to play the game’s new Delta mode you’ll be given two new devastating abilities which, in my opinion, makes this Vita release the definitive Stardust game. Tapping the screen deploys a barrage of homing missiles which ruthlessly attacks everything on-screen while tapping the rear touch opens up a black hole which sucks all nearby enemies in to oblivion. Conquering each planet grants you access to a set of mini-games which utilize the Vita’s unique abilities and are great to play in short bursts.
There’s no story in Stardust Delta, your main goal is to rack up the highest score possible before daring your friends to challenge your leaderboard position. Therefore having other Delta players on your PSN friendlist is essential if you wish to receive the full Stardust experience. It’s also worth noting that Super Stardust Delta can be purchased either as a standalone game or as part of an “Interstellar Bundle” which also contains the Blast Pack DLC. I’d strongly advise players to go for the Interstellar bundle which is slightly more expensive but contains four new game modes and three additional soundtrack options.
This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the PlayStation Vita provided by Sony.