Housemarque has once again offered a wonderful chaotic experience with Super Stardust Delta that I will be enjoying for a long time to come.
Ignoring all the praise Super Stardust HD received when it was released on PS3 back in 2007 I never tried the game until the trophy patch came out, with the sole purpose of seeing how trophies worked. But what I got was an addictive twin stick shooter that offered big challenges and fun score chases (along with a little frustration, I am looking at you Late Boomer trophy). So I got excited when I heard that a new Super Stardust game was releasing on the PlayStation Vita, and thankfully that excitement was fully justified.
With Delta the classic Arcade mode is back again for another round with 5 new planets to protect. I was initially disappointed to find out that the basic weapons were cut from three to two (fire and ice), but it works really well with each enemy weak against one or the other and both behaving in different ways. This really plays well in boss fights where both weapons have to be used effectively. Take for example the Buzzsaw boss who is weak against fire but its numerous buzz saws are quick and deadly, and must continuously be slowed down using ice in order to survive.
The basic controls of the game are similar to the PS3 incarnation (and thankfully just as responsive), controlling the ship with the left analogue stick and your weapon with the right. New in Delta is the ability for you to control your viewing angle by moving the vita around and using different inputs to discharge special weapons when those tough situations arise: the classic bomb (by shaking the vita), missile barrage (by holding your finger on the touch screen), and the black hole (by holding your finger on the back touch panel). For those that prefer the classic way to play, a pure mode has been included that allows you to play without the touch and motion controls and leaves you with just the bomb as your special weapon. While the new special weapons were interesting, I am glad that they gave players a control choice as I found I played better and enjoyed Pure mode more.
Once a planet is completed in arcade you unlock it to play it in Planet mode along with one of five mini games. These mini-games take advantage of the Vita inputs to allow different experiences in the Super Stardust Universe and are a fun addition to the main arcade mode. Unfortunately the game can seem a little light on content unless you pay extra to get the day one Blast Pack DLC. This DLC adds four more addictive modes to the mix with three of them returning from Super Stardust HD: Endless (where you have one life and you have to survive as long as possible against increasingly difficult enemies), Bomber (which leaves you with only bombs to defend yourself and get the best score possible) and Impact (where you have to continuously boost through enemies). The only new game mode that has been added is Twin-Gun, which has you going through each of the planets controlling two different weapons with the analogue sticks and tilting the vita in order to move. While it was nice to see some of my favourites return in Delta I feel as though these modes should have been included in the base game and DLC should have been left for the completely new modes like Twin-Gun.
With Delta the familiar twin-stick shooter game play that we all loved is back again, with some nice improvements to the overall formula. It’s nice to see with so much happening on screen that the game runs perfectly on the vita with no slowdown and the controls are responsive, which could have been very detrimental to the experience otherwise. Housemarque has once again offered a wonderful chaotic experience with Super Stardust Delta that I will be enjoying for a long time to come.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
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