Customizing Your Shooter
Stardust Galaxy Warriors – Stellar Climax has to be one of the most customizable shooters ever made. While not as bullethell-ish as Ikaruga but nowhere near at punishing as R-Type, this horizontal shooter, by default, is somewhere in-between. However, the default setting does not really mean much since the player as access to tweak many aspects of gameplay. Not only are there many difficulty settings to select, the game gives the player even more options through adjustable configurations in the options menu. Want to give yourself more health? Go ahead. Feel like facing nearly impossible enemies? Sure, go for it. Think you can survive when you increase your hitbox? Give it a shot! The amount of adjustability is impressive, unexpected, but yet highly appreciated. Then, at the end of each stage, the player can purchase upgrades according to the number of enemies that were destroyed. There are tons of unlockable upgrades to purchase but it is this combination of RPG elements mixed with the customization of the gameplay settings makes this eShop download unique.
Besides having the ability to tweak almost any setting (strangely, the player cannot adjust the control settings) there are multiple characters and weapons that encourage experimentation. Since four local players can play cooperatively, the amount of playable characters and weapons is welcomed; there is also a revive mechanic so buddies can help each other when one falls and friendly fire can be toggled. If playing solo, you probably won’t want to mix the limited range flamethrower with a short ranged secondary weapon, but when mixed with three other fighters of varying abilities, this selection could easily round out the pack.
There are four modes available via the main menu. Campaign is the game’s story mode. Gauntlet is an endless arcade mode that doesn’t allow upgrading after each stage. Strike is like Gauntlet only the player has the ability to purchase upgrades. Challenge mode pits the player against quirky challenges; the first Challenge, for example, has the player fighting to save Christmas as the end level boss is a giant Christmas tree that shoots red and green bullets. It is actually rather creative and humorous. There are also numerous in-game Achievements to entice the player as well. There is even an option to reset all the Achievements for players that feel like doing it all over again.
Even without all the charming customization options, Stardust Galaxy Warriors – Stellar Climax is a juxtaposition from its outer presentation to the actual gameplay. Outwardly, it could easily be assumed this is a serious shooter by glancing at a screenshot or even watching a quick trailer. However, the ridiculous Challenges and also the carnival-like soundtrack make this shooter sort of this happy-go-lucky casual experience. While there are some challenging segments in the main campaign, it is like the game never takes itself too seriously and just wants the player to have fun. So much so, there is even an option to turn the frame rate down to 30fps just to save power when playing in handheld mode. There is no questioning this is a thoughtful and unexpected shooter.