Super Stardust Ultra: PS4 Review
Developer: d3t Ltd
Asteroids, a scrolling yet fixed shoot-em-up and 1080p rendering.
Yep, after the success of the somewhat brilliant Resogun (should actually be called Reso-fun), Super Stardust Ultra blasts onto the PS4 platform in what appears to be its third iteration. (It was first released in 1996)
Utilising the same kind of duel-stick controls that were last seen in Resogun, you get to defend the solar system as the last remaining fighter in the midst of a deadly meteor storm. Choosing from three types of weapon, it's up to you to try and save the day.
Giant floating asteroids which when blasted unveil a green floating nugget and potentially deadly fragments all litter the screen to make things difficult - and if that wasn't bad enough, each planet has a swarm of enemies flying at you, determined to kill you off.
Super Stardust Ultra is arcade gaming in the extreme, given a highly polished HD makeover.
Crisp graphics and high def colours show no sign of struggling when the screen becomes overwhelmed with critters and littered with bits; it's essentially a type of 3D Asteroids with you slap bang in the middle of it all.
Using a choice of weapons from rock-crushers, gold melter and ice splitter, this intergalactic game of scissors, paper and rock requires you to be precise in your calculations or risk being blasted. Though it has to be said, using the rocks to take out the enemies is intensely satisfying.
Blasting the green nuggets housed within the rocks gives you power ups - which degrade down if you leave them too long. Much like Resogun though, you can speed boost your way through rocks to cut them down to size and to power yourself up; though this ability is limited.
Controls are fluid on Super Stardust Ultra and it's certainly playable enough thanks to each level needing five victories before you can move onto another planet. But it's nowhere near as addictive as it could be - granted, I've not played the original so can't comment on whether it's been upgraded for the next gen or simply ported across, but it lacks a little of the buzz you need for playing time and time again.
Additional levels are a little harder to come by - and as ever with these types a lack of a continue function is a real blocker to going through it all again and what seems fun soon becomes a little tedious as you have to re-repeat to blast through to the end. Additional modes (arcade, planet, endless) all add to the action so there's no end of playable content to get through - even if each is simply an add on from the last.
Ultimately, Super Stardust Ultra is a solidly disposable arcade game - it looks great, plays slickly and rewards those simply wanting to pick up and play. That's no bad thing - but compared to the inventive and fresh Resogun, this shooter feels very much of the last generation consoles.