Super Stardust HD (2007) is a shoot ‘em up remake of the 1994 Super Stardust, which is a sequel to the 1993 game Stardust, which itself is a clone Atari’s arcade game Asteroids. Quite the series, right?
I was first introduced to the game when I and my sister got a PlayStation 3 as a Christmas gift many years ago. Super Stardust HD was a game that came free with the console. It was quite intriguing for me because it was probably one of the first video games I have ever played and the first game I played on a console.
The goal of the game is simple: defend your spacecraft and the planet below from alien attacks and asteroids. Basically, destroy everything in sight. You have the choice of switching between three distinct weapons each made for mining a different type of asteroid. Each level is set on a different planet and has five waves of attacks and a boss fight against a large alien spaceship.
As I open the game for the first time in a while, I’m reminded of one of the reasons why I really enjoy this game. As you start the game, a menacing robotic voice greets you by saying “Stardust”. It always gave and still gives me chills. Overall, the sound effects are amazing and give the game so much immersion. The soundtrack that plays when the boss fights begin will most certainly get your adrenaline pumping.
The gameplay itself is smooth and satisfying, which I would consider to be the most important aspect in a shoot ‘em up game. The three weapons of choice provide enough variety to keep things interesting as you do your best to obliterate your enemies. I did notice that you do not necessarily need to use the designated weapons for the different types of asteroids, so I wound up using predominantly only one of the weapons.
Super Stardust HD is also not an easy game. Ilari Tikkanen, one of the key members of the games Finnish developer Housemarque, has stated that they focus on making games for people who enjoy challenging games that require skill, and it shows. I’ve still never gotten past the third level, but it doesn’t bother me as I do not consider myself a very skilled player. Regardless, losing constantly is still frustrating.
I can’t say that this review is fully unbiased as this game gives me immense feelings of nostalgia, which cloud my judgment. Still, I’m confident in my opinion that Super Stardust HD is a solid game with nice mechanics and a beautiful soundscape. It has also aged quite well and is still fun to play, even though I’ve lately been more into story-driven games. I’d say that if you have a chance to play it try it out, but it isn’t so unique that it’s worth buying. Overall, it’s an enjoyable, basic shoot ‘em up game.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR
Genre: Shoot ‘em up
Release Date: 28.6.2007