Shooting Stars!
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Save the world from evil aliens disguised as celebrities in this classic arcade-style shooter. It is perhaps a little too fond of memes for its own good, but the gameplay is addictive, and the large assortment of bosses will keep you coming back for more. Since you face a random assortment of bosses during each run, the game also stays fresh, unlike its memes.

Gameplay: Classic arcade-style shooting with waves of enemies and wacky bosses.

Graphics: Shooting Stars features nice retro-style visuals, and the pixel art celebrities are actually very good likenesses.

Sound: The game has a very catchy and upbeat soundtrack

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Shooting Stars!

Developer: Bloodirony | Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / Indie / Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

What if evil aliens have come to Earth disguised as superstars? No, it’s not a tabloid headline, but the plot of Shooting Stars! This quirky title’s developers clearly love classic arcade-style shooters and memes, which is a surprisingly good mix. Think Space Invaders meets pop culture, along with a healthy dose of bullet hell, and you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Playing as a bearded, hoverboard-riding individual named Tscherno, you are tasked with taking down celebrities such as Gabe Oldwell, Brillex, Justin Belieber, and Kanye East using your trusty laser cat.

While the humor in Shooting Stars is mainly of the groan-inducing variety, thanks to its fondness for memes, the gameplay makes it worthwhile. The game features more than 50 different weapons and items to collect as you blast through the hordes of minions standing between Tscherno and his quarries. There are six different bosses to chase down in each run before the game loops and you have to do it all over again, but at a higher difficulty. However, with more than 20 celebrity bosses to kill it will be a while before you have seen all of them.

You start each run with a basic, forward-firing laser, but by picking up food and items dropped by enemies, you can make Tscherno more formidable. Thanks to his hoverboard, Tscherno is quite an agile character, which makes it easier to dodge the barrage of enemy bullets and lasers, which are always heading his way. Enemies attack in formations like Space Invaders, Galaga, and other arcade classics, but thankfully, Tscerno can move all around the screen, not only left or right. The game can also be controlled using a keyboard, mouse, or controller, all of which are better options than the touch controls of the original mobile version.

The visuals of Shooting Stars are very colorful, and the pixel art interpretations of the celebrities are pretty good. Levels are static affairs with simple tile backgrounds, but there is a nice selection of enemies to kill. Everything from men in suits to drones, robots, and cheerleaders will do their best to blast Tscherno to smithereens. The game also features plenty of explosions and screenshake, but some of the “ultimate attacks” make it hard to see the enemy projectiles heading your way. It takes a few hits before Tscherno dies, and you can pick up armor and health along the way, but getting hit because of a cluttered screen is still annoying. Since the playing field is vertical instead of horizontal, you are left with large borders on either side of the screen, which isn’t uncommon for shooters. A wider playing field would only have made the action less frantic.

The ultimate attacks are wacky and inventive, with highlights including the Disco of Doom, Ro-Cat launcher, and deadly rainbows. It is even possible to bombard your enemies with the Facebook “like” icon if you have the right ultimate attack. These ultimate attacks are sometimes dropped by enemies, and picking up a new one causes you to lose the old one. There is a pickup timer to help you avoid losing your favorite ultimate attack by accident, but this makes it trickier to actually collect an ultimate attack in the heat of battle. Ultimate attacks take a short while to recharge but are very useful for clearing out enemies or whittling away celebrities’ health bars.

In addition to the normal mode, where you take on a random selection of bosses, the game also features a “Daily Run” mode. Since these are generated daily and feature a fixed challenge, you can take on your friends’ scores without having to hope for a lucky run. Unusually, the daily run can be attempted as many times as you like instead of giving you only one shot. With global and daily high-score battles, the game has a lot of replay value.

In addition to the lovely retro-style visuals, the game also features a thumping soundtrack that helps to get the adrenaline pumping. The tunes are all very upbeat, and the only complaint we have is that the sound effects for ricocheting bullets are a bit harsh. The music and sound effects volume can be adjusted independently, though, so this isn’t really a big issue.

The meme-heavy style of Shooting Stars will probably not appeal to everyone, but there is nothing wrong with the gameplay. Like the classic shooters from which it draws inspiration, Shooting Stars is fast, fun, and addictive. After a few runs, the game becomes quite challenging, but apart from the ultimate attacks obscuring the screen, it always remains fair. Having to start from scratch after each death is also made more bearable by the random levels and bosses. Despite its mobile roots, Shooting Stars is a very enjoyable title on PC, and the responsive controls make it even better. Don’t let the memes scare you away; this is a classic shooter that definitely deserves your time.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista SP2
  • Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS, AMD Radeon HD 4290 or newer
  • Storage: 120 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card with Latest Drivers
  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
  • Processor: Multi Core Processor with 2,5 GHz or more
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT, AMD Radeon HD 4550 or newer
  • Storage: 120 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card with Latest Drivers
  • OS: 10.9
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel 4000
  • Storage: 120 MB available space
  • Sound Card: 16 bit
  • OS: 10.10
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel 4000
  • Storage: 120 MB available space
  • Sound Card: 16 bit

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