My first article was about the playstaion3 (ps3) trophies. I think the best game to review to start off would be the only game currently on the Playstation network (PSN). This is Super Stardust HD. It has its roots in the old Asteroids game we played when we were kids pumping quarters into a black and white arcade game. This game is based off this simple concept of blowing up rocks on a 3d spherical planet, and not getting crushed in the process!
Even though the game play sounds very basic, the depth they built into the game play is nice. There are three basic types of rocks: regular, gold, and ice. Along with that you get three types of blasters: Rock Crusher (good overall and nice spread), Ice Splitter (very fast and great for ice), and Gold Meter (a gold stream which is flexible and great against gold rocks). Each weapon has its arch rock type and situational use to keep in mind when destroying the asteroids.
You also get two more tools that can make or break your survival and that is bombs and boost. The bombs blow up most small and medium objects in a set distance from your ship. The larger rocks will just break apart into smaller chunks. Your boost will propel your ship forward very fast and temporarily makes you invulnerable. It took me a bit, but the boost can be a nice weapon especially when there are enemies in a line.
Once you learn the weapons and when to change blaster types, each stage gets a set of enemies that has their own patterns, attacks, and vulnerabilities. For example, there are two types of UFO round enemies. One is small and has fast maneuvering and they are vulnerable to the ice splitter. The other types are larger spinning ships (like a band saw) that chase you around and gang up on you.
There are five planets with five stages each. At the end of a planet you face a boss enemy. I really enjoyed this game for what it is. It is very satisfying the way the rocks break up and inside of them sometimes are bonus (neon green) cores that have weapon type boosts, new ships, bonus points, etc. The game play is challenging in the beginning, but once you master moving and shooting and when to choose which weapon type it becomes much easier, but never easy (as you get up in planets).
The graphics are beautiful in 1080p HD. The colors are vivid and on a bigger screen the universe behind you (not that you get a lot of time to look at it) is a nice touch. It goes to show that even a fairly simple game can look great. With the colors, planet maps, background you tend to really become immersed into the visuals.
The sound is not bad. The music is clean and appropriate for the game. In the basic game there are three basic sound tracks. The main two are very upbeat and techno based which helps when the rocks are flying. The third is custom, so you can use a playlist of mp3’s from your PS3 if you have some. This is nice if you play this game a lot, since you can play and listen to an album that you enjoy. The multiplayer addition includes a grander orchestral soundtrack to give you more music in the game.
(1) Solo Pack: This pack includes a few new solo modes which really increase the replay ability of the game. These modes are extremely challenging. The almost impossible ones are bomber which you only have bombs, and survival which there are a ton of little pink objects that can’t be destroyed, and basically is how long can you survive. My favorite is endless where there are meta waves of enemies and asteroids which come at you from all over, and at the end of the wave there is a nuclear bomb, when you destroy the bomb a wave of energy clears the whole planet, and the next wave starts. I currently am trying to get the trophy on this level (destroy 10 nukes).
(2) Multi Pack: This pack is to add a few new modes. The first is split screen co-op mode where now you and your partner are basically playing your own separate screens, but on the same planet. When you are close to each other you boost your partner’s weapon power. In the basic co-op you have to always stay in range as only one screen (much harder). There is also some vs. modes with various types of battles (death-match, king of the hill, etc..). These are fun, and I think you can play up to four players. The only problem with multiplayer is right now there is no online play and the lack of online play keeps this from being a really great simple game.
I give this game 3.0 of out 4.0 Green Knights. It is low cost game with great visuals, fun game-play, and will challenge most game players. I think this game is a great example of what downloadable content should be for the PS3. Even if you are not sure there is a free demo on the PSN store for you to try out your rock crushing abilities.