A Long Overdue Review
We got this game from Vasara (now known as DreamLoop Games) a few months ago. These guys are from Finland, and if I’m not mistaken this is their second title. Although I believe that Mike and the squad gave SGW a shot to consider playing it on the FoH live stream, the truth is that 2D bullet hell games just aren’t their thing. Well they’re my thing, and I’ve been playing Stardust Galaxy Warriors for weeks now. The fact that I’m still playing it is a good indicator that I’m loving it! Which I honestly do, and I will continue to play this game in the future as well. However, there are a few things that bugged me and I really feel like there is a lot of potential behind this game. I wouldn’t call it underdeveloped, but I certainly feel like SGW could offer more, and maybe will in a future patch. So if you’re a 2D mech-lovin’ gamer, below is my 2¢ on Stardust Galaxy Warriors.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a side-scrolling game, which means that you are basically flying toward your enemies whether you like it or not (which is a bummer when you’re trying to stay alive, but hey, that’s bullet hell, right?), blasting away everything in your sight; which are mostly asteroids during the first stage, but don’t let the tutorial trick you – the game gets though as hell really fast. The atmosphere of the game is really genuine, a major plus for this title, and I have to say that it provides a significantly better experience when compared to games of similar genre in terms of how pretty all that space and design actually looks.
The concept of the game is pretty much self explanatory. This is that type of a shoot-em-up that you would stumble upon at your local arcades back in the day and fall in love with immediately. The story of the game serves merely as a frame for the utterly-awesomey (and very straightforward) bullet hell gameplay, and the overall feel of the SGW feels like quite a retro experience. Which I can only respect: I love when new games look like knockoffs of old titles, and I love how SGW provides an even mix of high quality designs and old fashion type of action.
One important aspect of this game is a co-op mode, which is cool if you have friends and kind of a letdown if you are forever alone during your bullet hell time like me, because certain aspects of the game (like choosing characters) are designed with the idea of having multiple players on-board. However, and this is a huge minus for SGW: you cannot play it in co-op online at all. I realize programming for online multiplayer is more difficult, but this turns out to be a pretty major problem because some levels are practically impossible. At least, I do believe they are solo, because it appears that Stardust Galaxy Warriors is primarily intended as a two or more player game. Okay, enough bitching and let’s get to the good stuff.
The first thing on the menu is the myriad of awesome Stardust Galaxy Warriors characters.
Bring Out The Big Guns
Call me a sucker for mechs, but these robots simply look bad-ass. Each robot has its own strength, and the best part is – they are all completely customizable in terms of weaponry. Although you can pick up a bunch of upgrades as you play along, and they will enhance your firepower and all (which reminded me of Nintendo’s Contra for some reason), the general selection of weapons and additions is available straight away. Energy meters tell you when you’re ready to bring out the big guns during gameplay, and it’s quite fun watching their special moves in action as they blast their way through the vastness of space.
I am not sure where to begin with with my song of praise for the SGW gameplay. The look, the feel – everything falls into place once that awesome music gets you going. For single players (like myself), there is a campaign mode with over 30 stages and a huge variety of enemies trying relentlessly to to take you down. Although the story behind the game is hardly worth mentioning, I have to say that it pretty much honors the retro/anime style of the game; so there is enough story to keep you entertained during your play, but it’s hardly a focal point of this title. Actually, the thing that really got me excited is the gauntlet mode. This is pretty much what it sounds like: an endless high score race which lets you blow off some steam and simply plow your way through hundreds of villains coming your way. Feeling tough? If you feel like you could handle more, the best thing about Stardust Galaxy Warriors is the fact that you can actually alter and customize every aspect of the gameplay. You can add more enemies or even enable the Iron Mode (I think you know what that means…). Here is a recording of the tutorial, and my favorite stage combined with my favorite mech in the game, followed by some official screenshots of SGW. Enjoy!
Stardust Galaxy Warriors Update
Ironically, this overdue review is just in time for a big announcement coming from the Dreamloop studios. The next update (a completely free one as well) should be available on August 19th. The Stellar Climax Definitive Edition will include a new character (which makes me a happy camper), and a new game as well. All designs are also said to feature further polish (I don’t think that this was necessary since the original edition looks pretty neat already), and additional upgrades will be available as well. All in all, can’t wait for the 19th to try out that new mech!
FoH would like to say thank you to Dreamloop games, especially to Steve Stewart for providing us with a copy of SGW. We would also like to give some recognition to Matias Lehtoranta who made the soundtrack for this title. The game wouldn’t be the same without his amazing music, so enjoy in this 8 bit piece of heaven that I’ve embedded below. We like to give kudos to everyone involved in creating space games, and this guy deserves some credit!
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