App Reviewed on: iPhone 6s
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Stellar Wanderer immediately invokes thoughts of Elite. It has you wandering the universe, mostly completing missions as and when you want. You have a choice of paths to pursue, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Stellar Wanderer succeeds best in short doses. Stick with it for too long, and you realise it’s quite samey, but for 10 minutes at a time, it’s reasonably satisfying.
Negotiating the galaxy
You’re controlling a spaceship as you go from A to B with some deviating towards C. There’s a choice of control method - either accelerometer based or virtual joystick. You want to pick the latter, as the former is a bit awkward in the heat of battle. Shooting is a matter of hitting the relevant fire button, with other options existing to boost your speed temporarily, as well as interact with other objects.
It’s the kind of control system that will take you moments to learn, further ensuring why you can - and should - come back for short bursts.
But is it fun?
The problem is that Stellar Wanderer is oddly soulless. Pursuing various missions with an aim to level up, buy better gear and so forth, is reasonably appealing, but getting there is samey. You soon end up repeating yourself frequently, exploring the empty universe just to get to the next waypoint. Stellar Wanderer lacks a bit of personality in that respect, and it soon shows up to be a problem.
The bottom line
It’s certainly a big game, but kind of like with procedurally generated dungeons, it all feels too familiar in no time at all. Stellar Wanderer lacks the wow factor that it so proudly wants to offer. Play it in short sessions, and you’ll enjoy those moments where you’re dogfighting an alien ship. You’ll know when you’ve played it for too long though - that’s when you sigh when an enemy appears for yet another duel.