Reviews by dan958

87

'quite challenging, enjoyable, and engrossing'

dan958 | June 6, 2013 | Review of Stardrone

When I first saw some screenshots of StarDrone, I didn’t really think too much of it. I thought it was going to be an Asteroids clone, similar to Geometry Wars, or Super Stardust – both games I enjoyed, but nothing that would get me super excited. However, after a few minutes in the game, it was clear that it was nothing like these titles, and instead a lot more like pinball. It’s insanely addictive, and at times frustratingly challenging. So the basic concept of the game is that you shoot a drone in one direction. After you shoot it, you can grapple onto set points in each level to make your drone orbit around said points. It’s an incredibly simple mechanic. Your drone won’t release until you let go of the mouse button, at which point it will slingshot off at whatever tangent you let it go. This allows you to adjust the trajectory, either with tiny adjustments, or full alterations. At first it seems a little boring and bland, but after the first couple of levels, which serve as unlabelled tutorials, you will find yourself drawn into the game and enjoying the simplicity it offers. There are 53 levels in the game, and each level has one of three end goals required to pass it. The most common goal is to light up all the stars. This is achieved by simply passing over them with the drone. Some levels might only have 20 stars, others might have a few hundred. Some levels will also have pickups such as magnets, which allow you to suck the stars towards you, and others might have enemies that stand in your way and will destroy your drone. But if you get enough stars, you will upgrade your drone, albeit temporarily, to a spiked drone, allowing you to fight back against the enemies. This brings us to the second goal type; destroy all the enemies. This might sound simple, but at the beginning of each level, you are defenceless against the enemies, and can only survive a few hits before your drone is destroyed and you have to start again. Likewise, some enemies will knock you off course, and could send you careening into a spiked wall, or off into the vast nothingness of space. You will need to think about the level in order to be able to take them all down. Finally, some levels are just about getting to the end. These levels are often the most complicated, and require very careful timing, a lot of dodging, and sometimes a dash of luck. Indeed, some of these levels can be insanely frustrating, but they are also the most rewarding when you do finally ace it. Levels such as these are exercises in perfect after trial and error. There’s honestly not a lot else to the game. StarDrone makes a very good case of the age-old concept of “less is more”, being that it is one of the simplest games I have played in a long time, but also one of the most rewarding. There is no plot, only one or two real game mechanics, and you only need to use the mouse for aiming and a single mouse button for the entire game. This doesn’t stop it being quite challenging, enjoyable, and engrossing. I’d fully recommend this title to anyone who enjoys puzzle games, pinball, or a good challenge.