A while ago a game surfaced on PSN called StarDrone, an innovative game where you guide a space ship round space whilst tethering it to gravity wells to adjust the trajectory and collect stars. StarDrone Extreme is Beatshapers new offering on the PS Vita. This is a completely touch control game and the OLED screen is the perfect tool for this. The game is simple yet highly addictive; what’s even better is that the level skipper is also available for download from PSN for free.
So as you can imagine there is no story here, simply guide your little ship around the screen, collecting stars and other puzzles pieces and try to avoid the spikes and bombs in your way. You begin the game by shooting your ship in one direction and then using your finger on the front touch screen you touch a gravity well to attract your ship towards it. Your ship then circles this well until you let go and the direction you let go is the direction your ship travels. Simply use the gravity pull of the wells spotted around space to adjust the course of your ship and collect stars. The later levels have you collect colored codes pass cards to open color specific gates and continue in your journey. There is also a lot of content in the levels where there are walls that speed your drone in a set direction, boost geysers, crystals to break for points or shields as well as all sorts of enemies and bad things like spiked walls and bombs. The good thing is if you get a good combo of stars going your drone is transformed in to a spiked ship and you can destroy the various enemies around you. If your ship goes off course you will be sucked into a black hole and have to start again.
This is a highly addictive game as you’re always thinking “just one more level”. There is a repetitive gameplay feature that sets in but after a while you get used to it and just play and play. The techno music is a good accompaniment however the sound effects do get tedious and can get a bit annoying. You can adjust the speed and damage you take via options. The novel aspect for Vita owners is the touchscreen nature of the controls, but since you’re using the front touch screen sometimes your finger gets in the way and you can’t really see what’s happening. The level design is simple to start with and gets progressively more maddening. There is also a small map on the bottom left that’s lets you see where the remaining stars or pieces are to complete the level. The graphics are bright, colorful and just what the Vita needs. The screen bursts with lasers and fast colors across it, never becoming dull. Sometimes you really just watch for a few seconds and with this game you need to watch and assess your options.
StarDrone Extreme is a good little PS Vita game, the cost is justifiable and with the once paid level skipper now free it’s worthwhile. It’s not a deep immersive game that will have you begging to see what’s next. It’s repetitive and if you know what you’re doing you can sink a good few hours into this and you will have fun playing it. Just be sure not to get sucked into your own black hole time sink.