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StarDrone (PlayStation 3) artwork

StarDrone (PlayStation 3) review

"Stardrone sits somewhere between pinball, Arkanoid, and Sonic the Hedgehog"

Stardrone sits somewhere between pinball, Arkanoid, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Like pinball and Arkanoid, you have to guide a ball to hit what you want it to hit, but can't control it directly. And like Sonic, the round object is often blasting through the level at high speeds, interacting with environmental pieces that speed it up and change it's direction.

In each 2d level, you must guide a drone (basically a little satellite floating out in space) to either hit every star in the level, collect a bunch of crystals and take them to a certain point, or simply survive to a goal point. The only control you have over the drone is linking it to fixed points in the level. When you hold down X, you latch onto the nearest point and begin to orbit around it. Letting go sends you flying off, following a trajectory that is projected out from the drone as you orbit around the point. This projected line is really useful for lining up your shots and getting the drone where you want it to go. You can also hold the analog stick in any direction and hold X to latch onto the nearest point in that direction. Many levels are designed with a flow that pretty much automatically means you will be near the latch point you need at any given time, meaning you'll mostly just be pressing and letting go of X. Many other more open levels will require you to pick your latch points with the analog stick to traverse across levels.

There are a few other objects in the environment you can interact with. There are these ribbed curved structures you can slide across that sling you around the level and speed pads that shoot you off in a direction (a la Sonic), as well as bumpers, blocks, and walls you can bounce off. There are also enemies that chase you around. These guys can only be killed when you are powered up. You get powered up by hitting a lot of the stars that are found in each level in a row. Once powered up, you just ram into the enemies to take them out. Lots of levels require you to run around to power yourself up so that you can take out some enemies in order to get where you need to go. There are also a handful of powerups which have really powerful effects and are always a joy to pick up. I don't want to spoil what they do; it's really cool to see them for yourself the first time and be like, “dang.”

There is quite a lot of variety to the levels. Some require you to blaze through them really fast as you hug curves in the structures by clinging to latch points. Others require you to bounce around and feel really similar to pinball. Still others require you to travel from orbit to orbit to get across big areas and find all the stars or crystals you are looking for. And some are filled with deadly spikes and require precision navigation.

Audio-visually, the game looks and sounds pretty good. A lot of the levels take place in these weird structures floating out in space, and although the levels are 2d, you can see that the structures extend way out into the background. They kind of look like weird, gigantic 3d cages; it's a striking look. The soundtrack is mostly ok, with a few standout, intense tracks that lend a great feel to the more intense levels.

The 60 levels go by pretty quickly, and only a few are really challenging. They are almost all fun though, and it was fun to go through and beat the time limits on the levels to earn medals. To hit some of these goals you may need to crank up the game speed, which can be adjusted at anytime from the options screen. This is pretty interesting as you can change the speed at will, but at high speeds things can spin out of control quickly, and aiming becomes quite difficult. A few of the levels offer really great and fun designs that had me playing them multiple times, and the last level, which is very challenging, features a really well thought out structure.

Stardrone was a fun little experience, and a nice addition to the Arkanoid/pinball family of games. It wasn't anything really great, but there's enough fun and cool ideas to keep your attention for a few hours, and even make you say “wow” a few times. It's a 3 out of 5.

Robotic_Attack's avatar
Community review by Robotic_Attack (April 21, 2016)

Robotic Attack reviews every game he plays... almost.

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