Stardash Review
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Stardash Review

Our Review by Carter Dotson on October 27th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RETRO STELLAR
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Stardash is a trial platform with a Game Boy-inspired aesthetic.

Developer: OrangePixel
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 1

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Not too long ago, when it came to handheld gaming, it meant that games were to be played in decadent 4-color grayscale on systems like the Game Boy. Those nostalgic for these 20th century wonders, but afflicted with a bit of the 21st century ADD might find themselves intrigued by OrangePixel's latest retro throwback: Stardash.

Stardash runs players through 40 levels, each of which is a gauntlet of tricky enemy placement and devious platforming segments. Though, the goal is more than just surviving the levels; the job is to collect stars by either completing a level before the clock reaches zero, or to collect all the stars in a level. There are also keys hidden throughout levels for the purpose of unlocking the temple at the end of each world.

The game uses virtual controls, but with only left/right movement buttons and a jump button, everything is very simple. The game is a universal app, though it feels kind of silly to play a game that looks like it's straight out of 1989 on a powerful device with a huge screen like the iPad. The game also supports Joypad for remote control, and the simple controls work well. For a game where death is frequent, thankfully restarts are immediate. This is an element that is key to any trial-based game, that ability to get back in right away.

Many of the keys are hidden behind background walls, and unlike in a similar Game Boy-inspired title, 1-Bit Ninja, this feels more like cheap obfuscation rather than clever level design. Cloud-based saving would be great to restore progress, either through OpenFeint's saves or through iCloud. It is a universal app after all, and those stars were difficult to earn on the iPad! I don't need to earn them again on my iPod touch! The game also annoyingly doesn't support orientation flipping at all.

Those looking for a trial platformer that will give them a taste of handheld gaming back that would devour alkaline batteries with aplomb will find a frustrating yet enjoyable trip down memory lane with Stardash.

Stardash screenshot 1 Stardash screenshot 2 Stardash screenshot 3 Stardash screenshot 4 Stardash screenshot 5 Stardash screenshot 6 Stardash screenshot 7 Stardash screenshot 8 Stardash screenshot 9 Stardash screenshot 10
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