Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Platform: PS Vita
Release: February 22, 2012
Genre: Space Shooter, Arcade
Multiplayer: No, but has leaderboards
The best way to describe Super Stardust Delta is frenetic. Frenetic means fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way. If you’re not familiar with the Stardust series it’s a twin stick space shooter, reminiscent of the old arcade classic: Asteroids, but seriously pumped up.
The Vita is a perfect place for this frenzied shooter.
You have 2 modes to choose from: Arcade and Planets. In the Arcade Mode you have 5 planets to clear, in ever increasingly chaotic game play. In Planets Mode, you can play any planet you’ve completed. Both Modes have 2 play styles: Delta and Pure. Delta has uses touch, motion and button controls and adds a black hole super-weapon and missiles. Pure mode uses only the buttons and no access to the black hole or missiles weapons.
Finally we have 3 game level difficulties: Casual, Normal and Hardcore. Hardcore has to be unlocked in Arcade and isn’t available in the Planets mode. In the main game there are also 5 mini-games that can be unlocked as you complete each planet. They are: Crush!; Disc Slide; Orbit Bomber; Rock & Roll; and Trucker.
When playing in Delta Mode you’ll need to be very careful of where you place your fingers on the rear touch pad. There are 2 spots on back where you can rest your fingers without activating the black hole super weapon. Otherwise you’ll end up activating it too many times and run out of the ammo for it before you’ve actually used it to good effect. Using the front touch screen will set off the Missiles super weapon. Shaking the Vita side to side will detonate the EMP Bomb.
Game play is pretty simple otherwise. You’ll use the left analog nub to maneuver your ship and the right analog nub to shoot. You’ll use the left shoulder button to activate the Boost (which speeds you out of danger) and the right shoulder button to change weapons. In Super Stardust Delta weaponry has been fine tuned to 2 weapons: fire and ice. Some might find this to be a reduction in weaponry since the PS3 version contains 3 (fire, ice and gold) but with the somewhat faster and more chaotic action, you’ll be thankful for the quick change in weapons.
To Co-ordinate with the finely tuned weapons, your asteroids and opponents are in 2 colors: red and blue. Using the fire weapon on blue opponents will reduce its effectiveness and vice versa. Use fire on red and ice on blue for the best damage output.
Each planet has 5 stages, with the 5th bringing on a final ‘boss’ to fight. Once you’ve cleared a planet for the first time, you’ll be able to play it in Arcade Mode and unlock a new mini-game. In Planet Mode, you’ll progress to the next planet automatically upon completion of the planet you’re on. When you restart, you can then choose any of the planets you’ve previously unlocked to start on, even in Planet Mode.
One of the biggest draws to Super Stardust Delta is the ability to rank yourself with your friends or check the global, online leader boards. It’s a pretty automatic feature as far as your friends go. As soon as I fire up the game I can see if any of my friends have beaten my scores or if they’ve unlocked anything new.
If you’re a fan of this type of game then you’ll have no trouble getting your money’s worth out of the game. If you’re looking for a game that’s good in small bursts then Super Stardust Delta fits the bill. It’s a lot like an arcade game. If you weren’t all that impressed with the PS3 version then you probably won’t enjoy the newer version much. Overall it was a fun game. It can be frustrating at times, but well worth it.
Game play: 9/10 Very easy to get into. Addictive. Perfect for the Vita.
Graphics: 8/10 Nice but not really the reason you’d buy this game anyway.
Sound: 7/10 Simple background soundtrack but overpowered by the game play sounds.
Overall Rating 8/10