What makes the Bloodirony-developed and Noodlecake-published Shooting Stars! so enjoyable isn’t the game’s quirky, meme-laden aesthetic, or even its rainbow, pixelated graphics.
Instead, it’s the way in which Shooting Stars! progresses from a fairly standard arcade shooter into an absolutely bonkers bullet-hell tour-de-force.
Shooting Stars! is broken up by two similar, but distinct, modes. In ‘Card Hunt,’ players take on the role of Tscherno, a cool dude who rides a hoverboard and uses a cat that fires lasers as his primary weapon. Tscherno’s goal is to progress through wave after wave of enemies in a quest to collect 16 hidden cards. Each level is broken up by 20 distinct celebrity boss battles, against enemies like ‘Lady Gogo,’ ‘Alk Hogan’ and ‘Carter Dotson.’
In ‘Daily Run,’ players once again take on the role of Tscherno, with the simple goal of making it through as many levels as possible, in order to climb the global leaderboards.
Over the course of his journey, Tscherno is able to use 50 different ultimate weapons, ranging from the ‘Illuminator’; a pentagram that generates electricity; and even the ‘Disco of Doom’ to progress through each level.
Each weapon is visually unique, though the overall gameplay element remains the same: every ultimate weapon is designed to clear a room and shave off a significant chunk of a boss’s health bar.
During early levels, the ultimate weapons serve as a way to provide players with a moment of respite. Once players get to later levels, however, utilizing an ultimate weapon becomes a matter of tactics, as multitudes of enemies unleash torrential waves of attacks.
In spite of my praise, I’m forced to admit that Shooting Stars! Is a relatively shallow game. While levels increase in difficulty as players progress through each level, but the overall course of the game remains unchanged throughout every playthrough.
Early runs are made interesting because players don’t face the same bosses every time and players aren’t given the same ultimate weapons at each progression point, but after you’ve lost for the 10th time against ‘Hustlerhoff’ or ‘Belieber,’ Shooting Stars! loses some of its quirky charm.
Granted, that charm does go a long way, and even the game’s chiptune soundtrack is tough to hate.
For a game that costs $2.99 — and for a game that has a mercifully fixed endpoint — Shooting Stars! is one of those titles that’s impossible not to recommend.
It’ll keep players engaged and entertained for however long it takes to find all 16 hidden cards, and Daily Run mode will certainly alleviate a competitive itch for those players looking to achieve global domination.
Shooting Stars! costs $3.99 on the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store.