PS3 Attitude’s 20 Days of PSN – #9 Super Stardust HD
Super Stardust HD blasts in at #9 in our ‘20 Days of PSN’. This glorious twin-stick asteroid shooter is Housemarque’s second entry in our list, after Dead Nation came in at #13, proving that they really are one of PSN’s best developers. Read on to find out what makes Super Stardust HD so special.
Released in 2007 exclusively on the PSN, Super Stardust HD became an instant hit with Team Attitude, thanks to its tight and intense gameplay, which always has us begging for one more go. One of the reasons why the gameplay is so effective is because it’s kept simple.
It has an intuitive control set-up that allows anyone to dive in; the left stick moves the ship while the right stick handles aiming and firing. The shoulder buttons also trigger bombs, boosts and weapon changes, but the main twin-stick action is all anyone needs to get started.
The concept is simple, too: it’s essentially an asteroids clone, just like the previous Stardust games. In a small heavily armed sharp, players protect a planet from an onslaught of gigantic asteroids and alien ships. If they collide with anything, they are finished, so it essential that they remain alert and vigilant at all times. It is a real test of hand and eye coordination and reflexes.
Sure, the asteroid format is old, but Housemarque has successfully managed to make it feel modern and exciting again. This is partly down to advances in technology, which have allowed them to throw more enemies at the player at once than has ever been possible before. It sounds simple but it’s a real game changer.
It’s common to have over a hundred objects on the screen at once, all of which moving in real-time and reacting to collisions and blasts. It usually starts comfortably with a few larger asteroids arriving into the atmosphere, but before long, threats literally cover the spherical map, leaving nowhere to hide. The screen becomes a moving minefield.
It can be an unforgiving game, at least on the five-planet arcade mode, which can easily last for over an hour. Failing near the end is hugely dispiriting; however, you can guarantee it will be one of your most memorable gaming moments when you win. Don’t worry if this sounds too intense though, because you can just play through single planets if you wish.
One of the things people often don’t realise about Super Stardust HD is that it has a rich tactical aspect to it. For starters, there are three different weapon types, each effective against specific threats, and there is also a fine art to accumulator building. Knowing when to use boosts, bombs and when to pick up weapon, points, shield and life tokens (if at all) is an art in itself. Super Stardust HD is a test of both your mental and physical gaming attributes. Sure, it can be a hard slog at times but you’d be hard pushed to find a more rewarding experience on the PSN.
It’s also a visual treat, thanks to its rich detail and impressive lighting effects. Incredibly, it runs at a smooth 60 fps despite it having so much happening. The intense techno soundtrack is also one of them most fitting soundtracks you’ll find anywhere; it puts you in the right frame of mind and keeps you there. It’s also the final attack of the senses from a game that is a true sensory overload in every sense.
Super Stardust HD is also a landmark PS3 title, because it was the first to receive trophy support, and more recently, it became one of the the first 3D enabled games. It was also one of first PS3 games to use DLC, and it did it by offering excellent modes such as Bomber and Endless — DLC that actually added to the game. If only more developers could figure it out.
Super Stardust HD is a must have for anyone looking for a pure gameplay experience.
#9 in our 20 Days of PSN goes to Super Stardust HD.