Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Shooting Stars seems like the kind of game that you could easily have fun with. Even if you’re not into simple jokes about celebrities it has a sort of madcap air about it that’s easy to get swept up in. And yet the first time I played it I found myself surprisingly underwhelmed. It got a little better, though.
This is a bizarre game that sort of coasts along on its bizarreness (much like one would coast on a hoverboard). You control Tscherno, a hipster who rides on a hoverboard (called it!) and uses a laser-shooting cat for a weapon in what is basically a weird for the sake of weirdness shoot-em-up. You know, drag a finger along the screen to move while your character automatically shoots, grab power-ups, try not to get shot, that sort of thing.
I wasn’t very impressed after my first game, honestly. Sure Shooting Stars looks strange (in a good way) and is silly, but the shooting felt both sluggish and unforgiving at the same time. But repeat attempts have changed my mind about it somewhat, thanks to the semi-random level generation and a few roguelike elements. It’s mostly the items and special power-ups you can acquire that will enhance your shots for the duration of a single run.
While I absolutely appreciate the fact that each playthrough will be different, I’m not entirely onboard with the way Shooting Stars has approached it. Some sections are challenging and fun but others are kind of boring (I’m looking at you, part with the flying drones that just stay in one spot and shoot straight down), and it seems as though enemy patterns are separated by level; in other words, it won’t take very long for you to recognize what set you’ve ended up with at the start of a given section.
I’m also not too crazy about the random enemies - not because I think it’s unfair or anything, but because what an enemy is and what it does aren’t always consistent. One level will have red drones firing missiles while another will give that job to purple drones, or a wave might have little girls that shoot lasers from lollipops but later on they’ll fire normal projectiles. This applies to the bosses as well, which vary in difficulty to a somewhat ridiculous degree and can appear in just about any order. Sometimes I luck out and get a decent first boss, and other times it’s like trying to fight a brick wall made entirely out of guns.
I really like Shooting Stars for its permanent (for a single game, anyway) upgrades and can appreciate the attempt at being somewhat roguelike-ish, but it feels too inconsistent; randomization for enemy waves doesn’t seem random enough while actual enemy randomization feels too random, that sort of thing. It’s an enjoyable spin on SHMUPs that could use a little more focus.