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Super Stardust Ultra (PS4 and PlayStation VR) Review

The highly addictive arcade shooter Super Stardust has had many re-releases and updates over the years and this newest version brings the asteroid shooting firework fest to the PS4, but does it bring anything new or is it just a rehash of previous versions?

Through each of its iterations the Super Stardust games nailed the most basic gameplay elements early on, picking up on what made arcade classics like Asteroids so popular and giving it a new lease of life on each generation of computer and console it was released on. The idea is simple, you pilot a small ship around the atmosphere of a planet, using your trigger finger and lightning quick reflexes to dodge and shoot incoming asteroids and the alien menace that have hurled them at your planet. Best described as a twin stock shooter, you are able to use the whole of the globe to plot safe routes as hundreds of rocks are hurled at you. Across each of the planets there is a variety of enemies to take out, each reacting differently to your presence, some try to avoid your lasers and ram into you from behind whilst others are made of stronger stuff, taking you head on with a hail of bullets; add three types of asteroids into the fray and each level is a frantic attempt at survival at all costs. Thankfully your ship is well prepared for the onslaught, with bombs that can take out all enemies in a close radius and an impact boost that will rush you out of harm’s way; most importantly though are the quick change lasers, from the rock crusher that takes out basic rocks, an ice laser that can deal with blue asteroids and the impressive fire shot that melts gold asteroids with ease, each one having the ability to be upgraded and overloaded from picking up power-ups. 

With a healthy selection of game modes there is quite a bit in game to keep you entertained, starting with an arcade mode which has you play through waves of attacks before taking on the final boss of each of the five planets. Though initially enjoyable, the over reliance of reusing the same boss battles was a little disappointing, not really adding any challenge on the later planets other than having to deal with two bosses instead of just one. The arcade mode however is just the beginning, with more score based modes included like Endless and a Planet Mode. Survival has a continual drop of indestructible probes drop all around you, your goal is to last as long as possible by grabbing time boosts whilst also shooting at incoming enemy ships. There are a couple of modes that take away the use of your lasers, relying on only your bombs or a mode where you only use your impact boost to take out enemies. Blockade is my favourite mode by far; another survival mode but this time rocks spawn from behind you, creating an impenetrable wall similar to arcade classic Snake.

In keeping with the PS4’s focus on community there are also a few multiplayer modes including local versus and two types of co-op, shared and split screen. An interesting addition is the Interactive Streaming mode, where viewers are able to vote for different waves as you play. As with all of the modes mentioned above, attaining a high score not only gives you bragging rights on the world leader board but you can also issue challenges to your friends list, offering out any mate you feel may rise to the challenge. 

As with previous versions, Super Stardust Ultra runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second, impressive when you consider the amount of action that is going on in front of you, with spectacular explosions ripping across the planets atmosphere, it is a real challenge to not just blink and get killed.

Super Stardust Ultra keeps what made the series so addictive in the first place and adds a few new elements to the experience and whilst not enough to sway owners of the previous iterations, any newcomer looking to spend a few quid will not be disappointed by this arcade classic.

PlayStation VR

So what of the PlayStation VR version? Well, this is the exact same game that released in 2015, albeit rebuilt for VR in 3D. This means you'll get the same, excellent experience, that you got previously, except you'll have it in 3D, right in your face and it's absolutely fantastic. This obviously means that if you've played before then you'll know what to expect, otherwise read the review above.

So what else is different then? Well, really it's only the new Invasion Mode – a new option designed exclusively for virtual reality. Here you'll find yourself on a planet's surface, tasked with taking down enemies, aiming with your head and firing blasters and using homing missiles, with the Dualshock 4. As I've found with most fast moving FPS style games so far, this one didn't really agree with my stomach too much, but everyone is different, so maybe you'll get on ok with it.

The problem with the VR Attack Mode is that it's not very good really, it just feels tacked on for the sake of it to me. Luckily though, the standard arcade mode is even better than before, so there's always that.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: @_wotta

(Version Tested: PS4/PlayStation VR)


+ Looks amazing
+ Adds new elements into play
+ An arcade classic experience
+ So good in 3D VR Mode


- New VR Attack Mode won't be for everyone

Edited On 15 Oct, 2016

( 2 )
Mangaman1's avatar
Mangaman1 3 months ago
Hey joe do you realise you put a screen shot of resogun in there! ????
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 3 months ago
Cheers, lol. Not sure how that got in there. :D

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