Every once in a while a game comes along that makes me go: “Where did that come from?” I love shoot ‘em ups, and Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a really great one of those. It never takes itself seriously, and the stages are both fun and memorable. I am still humming the disco sequence towards the end, oh and that final boss, talk about bullet purgatory.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors looks like any standard left-to-right shooter. Enemies crop up on screen, and players constantly hold down the attack buttons to mow them down. This is a formula as old as video games themselves, but it is the flare and personality mixed with pitch-perfect controls that make this particular entry special.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
Multiplayer: 1-4 offline only
The game boasts a lineup of characters, each with their own unique mech suit. The broad array of colors and personalities remind me of something like Voltron. There is even a story here that has them bantering back and forth, and bringing out their personalities throughout the roughly two hour campaign. The biggest draw though has to be the option for four player co-op. The absolute insanity that happens when four players are on screen is a treat for the eyes.
With so much insanity on screen, one of the coolest and most unique features of Stardust Galaxy Warriors is the ability to tweak the difficulty down to the last detail. I was able to customize the size of my hitbox, the amount of bullets enemies fire, and even the damage they do. It is great for players of all skills, and the only punishment for playing on easier settings is locking out some of the specific Achievements.
Outside of the campaign, there are also other modes to keep that shooter itch scratched. Survival mode is exactly what it sounds like, as players are tossed harder and harder enemies until they ultimately perish. Gauntlet mode delivered level after level of challenges until I was defeated. There are also light RPG elements. As I progressed through the game I could unlock new perks for my selected mech. These included things like extra damage, and more powerful attacks. Progression in this sort of game is nice, especially when it carries over.
At the start of every game, players can also select a loadout for their chosen character. Mixing it up with a standard laser rifle and grenades is cool, but tacking on homing missiles to a rail gun makes for plenty of interesting match-ups. I love the variety in this game. It made every play feel just different enough to keep it interesting.
Visually the game is extremely colorful and gives off a very Saturday Morning cartoon vibe. The frame rate is nearly rock-solid, and the action is intense. It really just splashes the screen with color, which is always a nice change of pace. The music is stellar, mixing up tunes of all genres, including disco. I was bobbing my head on almost every stage.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors is an exceptional title in an underappreciated genre. Anyone who remotely enjoys shmups should not miss out on this.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.