Game Review: Super Stardust Portable (PSP)


What is arguably the best two-stick shooter on the Playstation 3 has finally dropped on the Playstation Portable.

Can a game built for HD and two analog sticks make the transition to the small screen on a system with a single analog nub?

Being a fan of the PS3 original, I was excited when Super Stardust Portable was given a brief mention at E3 2008. I was also a little baffled how the control scheme would translate to the PSP.

For those of you who haven’t tried Super Stardust HD, here’s a rundown on the basic gameplay on PS3:

  • Move with the left analog stick
  • Shoot with the right analog stick.
  • Use your bumper buttons to switch weapons or to use a speed boost
  • Don’t run into anything (unless you’re boosting)
  • Collect power-ups
  • Fight boss battles
  • Don’t die

The same description could be used for the PSP version of the game, with a couple notable control changes:

  • Shoot using the face buttons (right side) as a directional pad
  • Tap a direction to ‘wiggle’ your shots (for wider dispersal)
  • Hold all four face buttons while using the Gold Melter weapon to shoot in circles

You know what? As weird as that sounds… it works!

After hours of gameplay, the only thing that I noticed was a minor cramp in my right thumb as a result of constantly mashing buttons.

Graphically the game doesn’t match up to it’s console brethren, but for a portable game it looks superb. Fewer particle effects and enemies on screen (although only a FEW less) make all the difference. No shuddering framerate drops or nasty looking effects.

The music and sound effects are excellent as well, doing a great job of replicating the PS3 game.

Some of the modes you learned to love before are now missing (Endless, Bomber, Survivor) but are available as downloadable content… for an extra charge. A new mode has been included called Impact, where the player can only boost through enemies while weapons are disabled.

If you’re looking to emulate a two-stick experience on the go, or you do not own a Playstation 3, Super Stardust Portable fills the need admirably.

Between this release and the (also fantastic) PSP version of Every Day Shooter, Sony has started a trend of releasing successful PSN games for portable use.

Let’s hope that leads us to further ports, like The Last Guy and Calling All Cars (which would be AWESOME ad-hoc or internet playable).

Please? Sony? I’ve got money in my wallet if you want it…


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