StarDrone: review

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  • Format: PSN (version reviewed), iphone/ipad
  • Unleashed: PSN Out Now; iphone/ipad TBC
  • Publisher: Beatshapers/Tastyplay.com
  • Developer: Beatshapers
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://www.beatshapers.com/stardrone
  • Update: As noted in the comments, StarDrone can also be played using a Dualshock controller. Sorry for the confusion guys.

    StarDrone is not, as you probably thought, the name of a 70s glam rock band. It is in fact the name of a Move-enabled PSN title. PlayStation Move dedicated games are relatively few in number, and those that are actually worth your time and money are fewer still. Can this prove to be one of those chosen few?

    The basic premise is simple. The only direct control you have over the movement of your ‘drone’ is at the very beginning of each level, when you choose which direction (from a choice of the full 360 degrees) to fire it from the launcher. The drone is then in a state of perpetual motion thanks to a combination of inertia and zero gravity. There are ‘beacons’ dotted around each level and, by selecting one and holding down the Move button, the drone is pulled into its orbit; getting closer and closer until the drone is tightly circling the beacon itself. You therefore constantly adjust your drone’s course by deciding when and where to pull your drone into orbit, and for how long.

    There's a StarDrone waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us, but he thinks he'd slaughter us all whilst in Comet Rush mode.

    Each level has an objective to complete. Almost every stage has dozens of stars your drone lights up by touching them, and often you’ll be required to light up every one. Other times, you’ll simply have to get from the beginning of the stage to the end, or collect gems; and sometimes, you’ll need to destroy any and all enemies.

    The enemies are referred to as ‘G-Noids’, which include a ‘Vibemaster’ boss in one of the final levels; and if you ask us, ‘Vibemaster and the G-Noids’ sounds like a 70s disco funk outfit. There might be a good reason behind the name of developers Beatshapers…

    Anyway, beside the aforementioned Vibemaster there are self explanatory mines, and ‘Creepers’ – enemies which slowly but surely follow your drone when it gets too close. Enemies can be destroyed by luring them into the path of a rocket turret, or via Comet Rush mode – entered by collecting stars (initiated quicker by stringing a combo of stars together). During Comet Rush, you can plough straight through enemies without taking damage; but hitting spikes will still result in an instant level fail.

    Situations like this will have you swearing as though you have Turret's Syndrome. Hee hee hee.

    StarDrone has a distinctly old-school feel, relying as it does on quick reactions and (thankfully small) no-checkpoint levels. It also feels old-school in that it is, to be frank, massively addictive. Several times throughout the game, you’ll come across a level that makes you think ‘This is ridiculous! I’ll never be able to do that!’. Nonetheless, you’ll find yourself trying time and again until you reach that ‘Oh, I see‘ moment. A few levels later, you’ll say ‘This is ridiculous! I’ll…’ and so on.

    The final level in particular initially seems to be an impossibly evil masterplan of Bond villain proportions, consisting as it does of tight spike-lined gaps and mine heavy areas with no way of killing them without taking damage. Like every other stage however, it is beautifully designed. Later levels punish mistakes severely, but reward success with a sense of satisfaction (and a huge sigh of relief).

    There are over 50 levels; but StarDrone is a victim of its own successes, as many people will be driven to finish them all over a weekend – after which there is only trophy and leaderboard chasing to be had. It’s well worth the £3.15 PlayStation Plus price. It’s only worth the full £6.29 if you love putting time into beating the scores of yourself and others. If that’s you however, this is one game you don’t want to miss.


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    Written by Luke K

    Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He’s the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you’ll find something he’s written in there.

    Luke doesn’t have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

    2 comments

    1. Alexey Menshikov /

      The StarDrone is not Move exclusive, its support both controllers: Move an Dualshock.

      • Luke K /

        You’re absolutely right. This mistake is my fault entirely, for misreading the press release.

        Having sat down with StarDrone’s DualShock controls (I grabbed my last two trophies this way) I can confirm that it’s perfectly playable with the joypad, but Move offers an easier and more reliable control method.

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