Housemarque has built a bit of a reputation for itself thanks to the Super StarDust series. Its fast pace, eye popping action not only helped Sony promote 3D on the PS3, but it also eventually found its way to PSP too, although the latter perhaps wasn’t quite as appealing thanks to the lack of a second analogue stick. The problems of the PSP version are about to be a thing of the past though, thanks to its successor, the PS Vita. No longer do developers have to figure out alternative controls and this it seems this has made Housemarque’s latest attempt at Super Stardust the best yet.
Super StarDust, for those who have not played, simply sees you using the twin sticks to blast your way around a planet, taking out asteroids and enemies along the planets surface. To do this you make use of the Vita’s twin sticks; one stick being assigned to moving your ship and the other used for blasting away at anything that moves. There are 25 stages, made up of five planets to get through, each increasing in difficulty as you go, thanks to enemies becoming greater in toughness and number.
As you progress you get more tools to do your job, with weapon and shield pick-up’s becoming a frequent occurrence. The more pick-ups you collect, the stronger your weapons become and when combined with your devastating, limited use bomb, you can clear the screen of enemies and ready yourself for the next attack. It’s worth mentioning that while the PS3 version has three weapons types, the Vita version only has two, based on Fire and Ice.
The main aim of Super StarDust is to score high, therefore gaining multipliers and surviving until the boss fight at the end of each stage is essential, after all, you’ll want to see your name near the top of the leaderboard and not your friends.
While this is the perfect replica of Super StarDust on the PS3 in terms of gameplay, it’s not a exact one. This is due to the addition of Delta Mode, allowing you to choose from a new, limited use effects to take out the enemy – Black Hole, Missile Strike, or EMP bomb. This sees you use the Vita’s touchscreen to control the Missile Strike, while the rear touch opens Black Hole. Finally shaking the Vita deploys the EMP Bomb. To add to these new additions you can also tilt the Vita to see around the planet and also slow down your ship while boosting, giving you a little more control.
Those who don’t like the sound of these new additions can stick to the Pure mode, which is essentially the game as it’s usually played, with two analogue sticks and the motion controls switched off.
In addition to the main game, as you play through you’ll also unlock some mini-game style modes, each with their own unique challenges and scenario. The different game modes include “Arcade”, “Planets”, “Endless”, “Bomber”, “Impact”, “Twin-Gun”, “Crush!”, “Disc Slide”, “Orbit Bomber”, “Rock & Roll”, and “Trucker.” Each mode makes use of the Vita’s capabilities in some way, although some are most certainly better than others. There are leaderboards for all of these modes, allowing you to compare your scores to friends.
Anyone who has played the PS3 version of this game will know how good it looks and Super Stardust Delta is no exception. The action feels fast paced that you’d swear it’s popping out of the screen. There are some moments when things do get a little too hectic, almost seeing you lose your ship amongst the madness taking place on screen, however there is little we would change about the way the game is presented.
It’s hard to argue with the presence of Super StarDust Delta in the PlayStation Vita launch line up. It provides a console quality, retina burning experience in the palm of your hand. It’s also addictive (oh so addictive) and best of all given the low launch cost, its affordable too. Super StarDust Delta is worth ever penny, just remember to put it down occasionally and try out some other games.
Rating: OutstandingReview Policy(Version tested: PS Vita [import])
Super StarDust Delta is released on February 22, 2012 alongside on the PlayStation Network.