Indie Game Radar: Super Star Path

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This edition of Good Indie Games No One Is Talking About is for one that actually came out last June. It was one of the games I picked up during the last winter sale at a likely completely trivial price, and I just played through most of it. Since Destructoid is the closest thing to a mainstream gaming site that has said anything about Super Star Path (that tends to be how it goes for games this obscure), I thought I’d at least say a few words.

Basically, Super Star Path tries to combine the shoot em’ up with the falling block puzzle game. For the most part I think it succeeds at creating something that require the skills of both genres. When you think about it it’s a really smart mix of gameplay and is very well executed. It’s just that this is a small game. I mean really small. I reached the final boss and got just about every collectible in less than two hours.

Here’s how it goes: you’re in a ship shooting at aliens in space which come down in randomized formations of different colors. When you destroy one alien it causes a chain reaction, blowing up any neighboring aliens of the same color. However, neighboring aliens of different colors freeze solid and are rendered indestructible. You have to be cautious and think about where you shoot in order to make a path for yourself (thus the title) through the formations of aliens. There are a few other details but that’s the basic crux of the game. The bosses at the end of each level are pretty traditional bullet hell SHMUP bosses.

Super Star Path manages to have that quality of puzzle games where you constantly scan for patterns to take advantage of, but you have to do this while flying your ship through the patterns as well as avoiding bullets. Each of the six stages contains unique obstacles, among them enemies who do all the actual attacking (the colored aliens don’t even hurt you on contact). They aren’t that numerous but can still make things intense in later levels. The other obstacles can do this too, like spikes, mines, and lasers. That’s where the different ships you buy come in.

Super Star Path has a few different ships you buy with the gems you collect after the colored aliens drop them, each with a different special ability. Most are simply immune to a certain type of attack which combined with the theme of each level, effectively means there’s a “right” ship for each level. You can also find upgrade points in each level that you spend on your ship’s attack, defense, and maneuverability. At the beginning the game tells you that you will only ever get 18 upgrade points to spend.

All that stuff does a little to extend the play time, but not much. You can still probably do everything in the game in less than three hours, and that’s including all times you might die and retry levels. There’s a boss rush once you beat all the bosses in the main game.

Super Star Path manages to come up with an idea that’s pretty unique and well-executed to boot. It’s just that DYA Games unfortunately couldn’t put more of it in there. Even the $3.99 price point is honest a tough sell.

BULLETS:

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