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Review

Super Stardust Delta Review (PS Vita)

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

This isn’t Housemarque’s first portable release in their Stardust series but the previous one was a fairly lacklustre affair, stymied by the PSP’s control restrictions. This PlayStation Vita outing is something of a fresh start for the Stardust name on portables then, and it won’t be held back by hardware this time.

Super Stardust Delta is practically the same as the PS3 version, with a few important differentiations. There are now three different special weapons, although they all make use of the same limited pool of Special Attacks. There is a bomb, as in the PS3 version but there is also the option to create a miniature black hole which swallows up smaller asteroids and enemies or let loose a radial burst of missiles to stave off enemies and allow yourself a little space.


The boss battles are big but shouldn't be too difficult.
The three weapons of previous Stardust games have been cut down to just two. Perhaps “honed” is a better way to describe the reduction though. Only having two weapons to switch between, via a shoulder button, means that you don’t waste valuable hundredths of a second cycling to the correct weapon for taking down a particular enemy.

Delta is far too fast and chaotic for cycling through weapon banks. You’ll need to master the art of weapon switching too, different enemies and asteroids require different weapons. The Ice weapon is a blue hail of pellets and best used on blue enemies and rocks. The Fire weapon snakes around like a sparkling oxy/acetylene torch emitted from your tiny craft and is best used against red targets.

Using the wrong weapon type for a certain enemy results in much reduced damage.

In the default mode, your boost button engages a kind of slow motion effect as it bursts you through rocks and gets you out of the way of the encroaching enemies. If you prefer the classic Stardust boost, you can play in Pure mode, which removes the slow motion boost as well as the two new special weapons, making Delta much more similar to the PS3 version’s gameplay.

There’s also a neat bit of gyro control which allows you to tilt the device slightly and peek around the horizon. This can be more of a hindrance sometimes, depending on how you’re holding the Vita, but it’s easily switched off completely.


It never fails to be impressive visually, or in terms of frame rate.
The main mode has five planets, each consisting of five stages. Each stage sees a hail of asteroids landing on the surface, along with waves of different types of enemy. The ultimate goal of each stage is to clear enemies but destroying the rocks gives you more space and uncovers ship upgrades and bonus points to help you along.

The final stage of each planet consists of a large-scale boss battle and completing each one unlocks a new mini game from the main menu.

The mini games seem to exist primarily to show off the new control systems the Vita allows. Each one makes use of some fancy new control scheme, whether it’s using the front and rear touch to crush rocks between your fingers or the gyroscopic controls to aim and shoot at waves of enemies from orbit. They’re no replacement for the main play style but they do present some nice diversions and the leader boards will encourage friends-list feuds.

Pros:

  • It looks gorgeous, as you would expect.
  • Solid, fast framerate and a great sense of action.
  • Controls are snappy and natural.
  • Mini games to show off your Vita’s fancy new tech.

Cons:

  • It feels a little bit light on content, with DLC making up the deficit.
  • Visually manic so it can occasionally be difficult to track your ship.

Super Stardust Delta is a cheap, download-only showcase for several of the PS Vita’s selling points. It looks fantastic on that big bright screen and the new control systems are utilised without feeling too tacked on and gimmicky — at least in the main mode.

The mini games may only be there to show off the hardware but they still provide some potential for high score battles and are a welcome addition to the reasonably short main mode. For the price of admission, though, you’d be crazy to miss this.

Score: 8/10

14 Comments
  1. yogdog
    Member
    Since: Feb 2010

    Probably THE game I’m most excited about getting on the Vita (with Lumines and Uncharted not far behind)as I loved SSHD on the PS3, first ever PSN game I bought.
    Can’t afford a Vita just yet though, but somewhere down the line I’ll play this :)

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 16:04.
    • manicminer
      Banned
      Since: Feb 2012

      This comment is hidden.

      Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 17:41.
      • yogdog
        Member
        Since: Feb 2010

        I think 8/10 is a pretty good score, I’ll see whether it deserves better or not when I play it myself but 8/10 is far from a bad score.

        Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 18:24.
  2. zb100
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    Top tagline!

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 16:22.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      :)
      Glad someone noticed!

      Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 16:28.
      • aphex187
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        Oooh yeah nice!

        Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 17:25.
      • ico
        Member
        Since: Aug 2010

        Cannot beat a bit of blade runner. When Rutger made good films.

        Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 20:46.
  3. cam the man
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    Haven’t played the PS3 version but decided to go for this with my pre-order voucher, just waiting for the PSN code to drop into my ‘mail-box’.

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 16:25.
    • freezebug2
      Member
      Since: Dec 2008

      You must! One of the best and earliest PSN releases for PS3!

      Comment posted on 23/02/2012 at 10:41.
  4. DixNeuf
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I grabbed this a couple of hours ago, light years better than the PSP version.

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 16:52.
  5. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    “It feels a little bit light on content, with DLC making up the deficit.”

    Lets hope it doesn’t start a trend, that’s a couple of games now.

    Although they are outnumbered by what you’d consider ‘full’ games but if the maths start stacking up in favour of ‘release half a game now at standard-ish price & get customers to pay extra for the other half as they go along’ then more devs/pubs could follow suit.

    Love the PS3 one & will pick up this when a Vita is mine, which will be a whole lot sooner if someone will just send me one.

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 17:57.
  6. skibadee
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    this was the game I asked for a discount on :) great review.

    Comment posted on 23/02/2012 at 01:20.
  7. CarBoyCam
    Member
    Since: Sep 2009

    Played this game on a demo Vita at Gamestation. I absolutely loved it. I have the original on PS3, and the PSP version too! Stardust is just good old fashioned shoot-stuff-and-stuff-goes-BANG.

    Comment posted on 23/02/2012 at 10:05.
  8. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    Looks n sounds great.

    Comment posted on 27/02/2012 at 23:09.

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