Developer(s) – Housemarque
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director – Harri Tikkanen
Producer – Ivan Davies
PEGI – 7
Conceived by the same team who developed both Resogun and Dead Nation, Housemarque, Super Stardust was another arcade shoot ‘em up similar to Resogun, but with arguably more variety in gameplay, as well as an endless mode thrown in for good measure. Personally, I think both this game and Resogun are as good as each other for various reasons.
Graphics – 7/10
The conceptual design of the game was fairly well done, and technically brilliant for what hardware was available at the time. The drawback it has when compared with Resogun is that there isn’t as much customization as there is in the former. For example, it isn’t possible for players to build their own ships. However, each level has the same degree of variety and helps it to stand out among not only Resogun but many other arcade indie titles too.
Gameplay – 9/10
Like many others, I believe that Super Stardust Ultra does indeed have much more variety than Resogun, with not only more game modes, but with players having to adapt to different styles of play by using different weapons for different situations. There are also not many arcade games in general that have been able to accomplish this to as great an extent as this game does, which is something to be greatly commended, as even some of the greatest arcade games could end up feeling repetitive after a while.
Controls – 10/10
As a gaming formula having been long since perfected, despite it taking place on a very different kind of stage than in many other arcade games, there would have been major issues if Housemarque messed it up, and inevitable criticisms from old-school gamers and negative comparisons are drawn between it, and almost other classic arcade games of the first and second generations. Thankfully, however, Housemarque got it to spot on, and there are no complications with the game’s control scheme.
Originality – 6/10
The capacity in which this game stands out as best as it can, much like Resogun, is in comparison with every mainstream AAA title that is being released today. At the moment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to develop an original indie title, and its re-release on the PlayStation 4 may seem finite to those who may not have played it beforehand when it was released on PlayStation 3 back in 2012. Back then, the game was a breath of fresh air, so by that logic, it’s no reason for it to lose out on too many points in my opinion.
Overall, Super Stardust Ultra is an extremely worthwhile game, and one of Housemarque’s better efforts. The Finnish development company has made waves throughout the eighth generation of gaming, but arguably, it was this game that allowed them to begin their ascendance.