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 Post subject: Super Star Blast (XBOX One - Nintendo Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:58 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 286
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Your trusty Shmup reviewer will play this so you don't have to.

Bad games are always existing since the dawn of gaming, and all genres suffer that calamity.
Fighting has that horrible Street Fighter live action movie arcade game, Shaq Fu on the SNES and the PS1 with Star Wars Masters of Teras Kasi and Saber Marionette J Battle Sabers.
Basketball has the plague, Jammit and Rapjam Volume One are the worst basketball games ever.
Hydlide on the NES is the pestilence of RPG games.
Run-N-Gun has C: The Contra Adventure and Contra Legacy of War as the worst of both Contra and the whole Run-N-Gun genre.
...and Shmups is not exempt of this disease: Broken Thunder and any of the Action 52's shmups.
But just when i thought Xenoraid was among the worst, oh no, there's always that game that goes down even more. Super Star Blast is that title.

¿Are you planning to buy this game, pilot? Reading this review will make you change your mind about it.

"Hey there, Shin! Glad you've made it back safe. Say, I've got some Sidewinders for real cheap. ¿Interested?"
- McCoy (Area 88)

Everytime you either start the game or complete a level you'll enter the Upgrade Center, which is your store where you can buy "The Four Essential Things" for your ship: Power (Stronger and faster rate firepower), Agility (faster ship movement), Shields (More hitpoints) and Ships (Extra lives).

Power gives you an increase of your slow-paced firing shots, starting the upgrading with a fast paced single shot, a slow Twin Shot, a rapid Twin Shot, a full frontal Triple Shot and Single Side Shots and finally a speed increase on the fire rate.
Agility increases the speed of your ship, making it more maneuverable with each upgrade you buy.
Shield adds one "hit point" to your ship's resistance. This is basically your life points that makes the difference between getting damage and getting killed.

Having to buy your upgrades is a common theme in shooting and general gaming. ¿But you know what sucks about it?, being unable to buy something at the end of the first level. ¿Remember when you played the arcade version of U.N. Squadron and you were unable to buy the second available weapon or an life/shield upgrade at McCoy's Storehouse 'cos Stage 1 doesn't gave you enough money to spend on at least a Belly Tank or a Shield?, well in Super Star Blast is even worse 'cos you have to deal with the first four, five, six, or more stages without being able to buy something because the most essential things like Power and Shields are very expensive, compare this with U.N. Squadron again, at the beginning of the game you started with an initial amount of money to buy a sub-weapon so you could have a chance against the enemy and rack up more money if you didn't used the weapon you bought. Back to Super Star Blast, we already know the shop is badly executed and to make things worse, Power, Agility and Shield increase their price on each buy, only the 1 ups keep their 10,000 price. This is just in like Disney's TaleSpin but much worse. To give you an idea of how much you're gonna spend on things, here's the complete price list.

POWER: 40,000-->80,000-->120,000-->160,000-->200,000
AGILITY: 50,000-->100,000-->150,000-->200,000-->250,000
SHIELD: 25,000-->50,000-->75,000-->100,000-->125,000

Talking about going one mission after another like Shin Kazama from Area 88 just to get cash like crazy, that's a total of 1,725,000 credits for everything. If the number isn't outrageous enough for you, just check how many stages you're gonna need to complete to obtain all those credits. Not 20, not 30, or 80, to fully upgrade your ship you'll have to survive 149 stages. Here's a screenshot just in case you think i'm joking.

Almost 150 missions to do...WISH...I...WAS...KIDDING.

Space combat on its worst. I feel like if my intelligence drops down every 30 minutes in this game.

The gameplay of this game is an "Arena-like" shooter, to be more exact is more like a "Spherical Arena" since there's no boundaries, and you can intercept your enemies going in the opposite direction to their trajectory. You have to track your enemies using your radar. The controls feel kinda odd. After going up/forward and stop, the ship is pushed back a little like some sort of deceleration, but instead it feels like if the control is broken. Unlike other shmups like Thunder Force II where pushing down makes your ship turn and go back, in Super Star Blast, it acts as the "brakes" to stop the ship's movement and a very slow reverse, moving left or right acts as the rotation of the ship. Firing can be done by pushing the A button or the Right Trigger. Since the game relies on buying speed upgrades, you might have to take some time to chase your enemies, from enemy ships to wandering asteroids that split into smaller ones and asteroid installed turrets. There's no boss battles in the game, so this game makes emphasys on stuffing the stages with more and more enemies as the stage number increases. Later in the game you'll encounter larger sized enemies like big spaceships, missiles, missile launchers and 5 bullet-curtain firing turrets. As i've mentioned before, surviving becomes more difficult than usual due to the price of the upgrades, so you're basically on your own with three lives and no continues.

Clearing stages without dying gives you bonus points which you'll lose if you die and "continue" the game, and i put continue with quotes since the game keeps the acquired upgrades and remaining credits, but the game reveals a fatal flaw: Continuing doesn't bring your 3 ships back, so you'll restart with one life, so you have to buy them in the Upgrade Center. ¿What kind of screwed and unorthodox decision was that?, continuing the game doesn't have to be at expense of the amount of lives, compare that with Disney's TaleSpin and Megaman VII, both games used the store format where you can buy 1Ups even if you can find them for free while keeping your default 3 lives each time you died and continued the game. So what we have here is a harsh excuse to force you to buy extra lives. But you know what's even worse? The more lives per continue only work in the stage where you died, 'cos if you die in the next stage and continue, you'll be back to 1 ship left. So that forces you to keep investing on extra ships, making the game stupidly difficult.

If you think picking the Shields would help just like in other shmups like Gradius or Thunder Force, then think again, 'cos if you're close to a 5 bullet curtain and 3 of the bullets hit your ship, the 3 Shield points will go down instantly like if you had 1, making it almost useless as a defense, not to mention, the shield only works against bullets. Collisions with enemies or missile impacts result on Instant Death regardless of how many shields you have.

Apparently, the game tracks the progress of how much ships do you have from one stage to another, so if you lost 1 of 3 life in stage 2, you'll start stage 3 with 2 and so on. The only way to keep your lives intact is to quit the game and start the level again. Yeah, finding a way to "cheat" in order to survive and save 10,000 points in ship investment.

The game has two multiplayer modes: Competition and Campaign, if you have other three pilots dumb enough to play this brain destroyer of a shmup.

Graphically, this game is extremely boring as the gameplay as we're always in the same void of space among the stars, with a radial gradient blue sorrounding your ship, EntwicklerX advertises this as "Simple and Clean", i call it "Done on the Cheap". Everything about this game is simplistic and feels exactly done on the cheap: The title screen, the menus, the score indicator, the radar, everything. Not even a space station, planet or a galaxy insight to break the monotony of the combat zone. The simplicity of the game makes you wonder if you're playing a cheap phone app or a beginner's work in Game Maker, that's how it feels: Like a bad Game Maker doujin shmup the whole time. It makes Xenoraid look like NBA Jam, that's the best way to describe the laziness of Super Star Blast's graphics.

In music, this is one of those games that suffer what i call "The Silver Surfer Syndrome", that means a bad game with good music, since the electronic style is very reminiscent of the early days of Paul Van Dyke's music, but there's only two types of pace in the whole game: Calm and the Upbeat whose rhythms alternate during your mission, however, as you keep playing the game, this "playlist" of some sorts becames repetitive real quick. As for sound effects: Cursor Moving, Confirmation sound, "Unable to buy" sound, "Upgrade/1Up Bought" sound, Player shot, Enemy shot, Explosion, Player explosion, player "reappearing", "Get Ready" voice sample, "Game Over" voice sample. That's it. Eleven sound effects for a whole game. I think an NES shmup have the double or triple of sounds.

If you're gonna make a shooter with a store feature, make the prices more accessible even if you're gonna climb'em up, or better, don't climb them up. Learn from U.N. Squadron, buddy.
- LIVES ARE NOT "SOLD SEPARATELY" WHEN CONTINUING: The worst part of all, if i want to continue the game, make the continuing fair by resetting your ship stock back to 3, continuing with 1 using the store as an excuse is outrageous and absurd.
- GIVE US BOSS BATTLES OR GO HOME: Because space combat doesn't mean "spam the screen with ships and asteroids" all the time.

In the end we are looking at another Gamerscore Achievement milker at expense of wasting precious time out of your life. That's how i can describe the Jammit of shmups that is Super Star Blast. Star-blast it in the trash 'cos there's no reasons to lay down the cash on this one. Like with Xenoraid and We are Doomed, just wait until it becomes "Free With Gold" or something. Paying for this game will only encourage EntwicklerX to release more interactive trash like this one.

Keep flying everyone, there's nothing to look here.

The game designers face after realizing they failed in combat qualifications.

To EntwicklerX: Dude(s), you have to do some serious re-work on this game 'cos this has potential (i hope), and some rework and rebalancing could make it a little better and more enjoyable. There's a thin line between being simple for the sake of being retro (Super Destronaut DX and Zeroptian Invasion), and simplicity just because you're lazy and this game feels like a product made with laziness.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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