Anyone who ever owned a PS3 will remember Super Stardust HD, one of the best and most colourful twin stick shooters ever made.
Coming on like the illegitimate offspring of Geometry Wars and Asteroids, the game plonked players into a little starship and they then dashed about blasting the hell out of falling boulders and flying enemies in ever increasing waves.
It was derivative, sure, but it rose above the status of ‘clone’ effortlessly, thanks to tight controls, a small yet effective clutch of bonuses and leaderboards that inspired players to challenge their mates on a semi-addictive level.
Super Stardust Ultra VR Review – Cash cow
Super Stardust HD was an awesome success and its popularity saw it land on all of Sony’s platforms beyond the PS3 – the PSP, the PS Vita, the PS4 and now, with Super Stardust Ultra VR, it’s made its way to the PS VR.
With any other title, one could make the reasonable accusation that Sony was trying to milk a franchise for every penny it could get. In the case of Super Stardust, however, every single console version has been absolutely brilliant. That is, until now.
Super Stardust Ultra VR Review – From the cockpit
Super Stardust Ultra VR is essentially a VR port of the version that landed on the PS4 two years ago, with one new extra mode. The new addition here is called ‘Invasion’ and instead of seeing their ship from a top-down perspective, players view the action from the cockpit in a first-person perspective.
The thumbsticks are now entirely mapped to the ship’s movement, with triggers offering missile and laser gun attacks. The headset takes care of aiming duties; players look in the direction of their target and open fire. All of the action takes place in an enclosed space, which can be traversed entirely in a matter of seconds.
Super Stardust Ultra VR Review – Sick in space
Herein lies the rub; there’s not a lot going on in Invasion mode. Familiar enemies and power-ups will pop up but they never appear in large numbers, which undercuts the base game’s main draw – that players are always up against a wall thanks to the ever increasing numbers of targets.
Furthermore, skipping along the surface of a planet can initially feel disorienting, especially since players are required to mark targets by looking at them. To be frank, one may find that after about thirty minutes of Invasion, they’ll start to feel nauseous. This is a drawback that’s thrown into sharp relief by EVE: Valkryie, because whatever complaints one could hurl at CCP’s arcade dogfight shooter, the onset of queasiness isn’t one of them.
Super Stardust Ultra VR Review – Newbies rejoice, veterans avoid
That having been said, the base game is still riotous fun to play and the VR representation has a certain visual flare. When the player’s ship explodes, for example, the debris flies directly towards their eyes and the massive asteroids crashing into planets seem larger and more impressive than they ever did in previous versions. The main problems veterans have is that first off, they’ve probably played this game to death and second, in this case they’ll already have all of the game’s Trophies.
Super Stardust Ultra VR Review – Verdict
In other words, Super Stardust Ultra VR is a visually flashy port of a fantastic game that contains one new mode that’s bespoke for the PS VR. That mode on its own is not enough to recommend it and hey, if you’ve never played this game before, it’s likely Super Stardust Ultra is going for a much cheaper price on the PS Store.
- Super Stardust Ultra VR was reviewed on a PS4 with a PS VR. A review copy was provided by the publisher.