Developer: Big Fish Games
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Deeply reminiscent of Peggle, Stardust Hero has a fair share of randomness and physics based quirks to its gameplay, but it still manages to remain an entertaining if unusual distraction.

The point of Stardust Hero is to collect up stardust throughout a level, within a 90 second time limit, while also smashing up various blocks along the way. The more stardust that is collected, the more powerful the star gets, meaning he can crash his way through different types of blocks, eventually leading to an all consuming Supernova move. It’s simple stuff, but quite charming.

Early levels are pretty easy to gain the full three stars in, with few obstacles in the way of the best path in order to gain everything possible. Later levels, however, offer challenges such as monsters that freeze or blacken the star with a kind of bloop, restricting its movements for a certain number of seconds. Wormholes and teleportation areas also affect the star’s trajectory, throwing it off course but also, sometimes, getting it to areas that it wouldn’t normally be able to access. Bouncing around starts out quite simply, but it’s not long before that time limit feels quite strict as it’s all too easy to struggle to gain even one star, let alone three. Each new element is introduced at appropriate times, ensuring that Stardust Hero feels quite fresh.

It’s not entirely fresh, of course, echoing much of what made Peggle so popular, but it does have that same addictive vibe. It’s a little more random than the peg based title, with it possible to complete one stage with no stars yet go straight back in and find luck to be on one’s side, but it’s still curiously entertaining.

With different modes to access including a rather relaxing Zen mode and a frantic Time Trial type challenge, as well as 60 levels to play, there’s a fair amount of content here for the price. The kind of content that lends itself to short bursts of commuter play, as well as with the family, as it’s immensely simple for kids to learn. There might be slight moments of style over substance but it’s still an attractive proposition.

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