The Stardust franchise has been available for every Playstation console since its release in 1994. Now, with virtual reality becoming the highlight of gaming, Sony has released a VR version to be enjoyed on PSVR.
But, what makes Super Stardust Ultra VR different from all the previous versions? Does it have new updates or is it the same game in virtual reality?
In this post, we will go over the features and benefits of Super Stardust Ultra VR as well as look at its alternatives.
Super Stardust Ultra VR
Super Stardust Ultra VR is a downloadable top-down game. We think it’s a perfect game for you if you are a fan of classic arcade shooter games. The game begins with you being placed in the cockpit of a spaceship. From there you can use sci-fi weapons like plasma cannons to shoot robotic drones and other alien-like creatures. Moreover, Super Stardust Ultra VR offers 10 different modes to choose from. You can also move your head to look at the beautiful nebulas and stars surrounding you in the game.
If you want a more affordable game while sticking to the space theme, we suggest you give Gunjack a try. It is one of the most visually stunning games we have come across on PS VR. In addition, Gunjack’s control scheme is extremely easy to pick up making it a perfect game for VR beginners.
For a more retro arcade-style game, Holoball is our top recommendation. Unlike other VR games, Holoball is a small and focused title that offers fluid gameplay. It’s also a great way to get yourself on your feet and move around as you play against a highly competitive AI.
Quick Summary of the Main Product
If you haven’t played the game before, Super Stardust Ultra VR is a twin-stick shooter game that is a mix between Asteroids and Robotron 2084.
Typically, twin-stick shooter games task the players to face a large group of enemies while trying to survive and dodge their attacks. This is exactly what the Super Stardust series consists of.
Stardust Ultra VR features a flat wraparound playfield on the surface of an intergalactic planet. This is where your spaceship flies overshoot asteroids to destroy enemy spaceships.
You also get three types of weapons as a power-up such as a rock splitter, a gold melter, and an ice crusher.
During our research, we learned that these power-ups can be matched up against the three types of asteroids such as gold, rock, and ice.
Moreover, shooting the rocks breaks them into pieces, making the playable surface much more dangerous in case of accidental collisions. But it also uncovers canisters that grant points, weapon upgrades, shields, and extra bombs.
But, what makes Stardust Ultra VR stand out from the rest of the series?
Well, we think the game has two assets that all gamers enjoy, outrageously, tight controls, and cleverly implemented physics.
The former is crucial because it gives you the ability to navigate in and out of debris with ease. But it’s the latter that makes it special. As opposed to other titles in the genre, you’ll rarely find yourself subjected to an overwhelming amount of projectiles.
Instead, it’s your own actions that’ll cause that. For example, fire at the wrong rock, and your screen will fill up with debris you won’t be able to escape.
Features and Benefits
One huge benefit of Super Stardust Ultra VR is that it is extremely simple to navigate and understand despite being a VR title.
Once you start the game, you will be presented with a series of easy-to-use menus. From there, you can choose what mode you want to play. There is also a tutorial option for anyone who is unfamiliar with the Super Stardust franchise and wants to learn the controls.
The standard arcade is a single-player mode that has five levels, each with an intense battle at the end. Each level also has its own distinct features where you either race against the clock or simply score as much as you can.
The modes are:
- Arcade mode
- Planet mode
- Time attack
While testing out the game, our team enjoyed Bomber mode the most. It was a simple but strategic game where you’re armed with a limited number of smart bombs to destroy everything in sight. This mode was the most addicting out of all the games we played.
The Impact mode was also similar to Bomber mode. However, every time we destroyed an enemy a fraction of a second was added to our charge impact. So, the more things we hit, the longer our shield lasted.
While the Endless and Survival modes are self-explanatory, we were pleasantly surprised by the Blockage mode. We had to avoid hitting our own trail as there were rocks continually spawning behind us as we moved.
This is a clever addition to Stardust Dust Ultra because it does not mix the gameplay like other modes. It makes you think differently about how to approach the game.
This was a novel mode for us and quite an interesting one, to say the least. It lets you stream the game and gives your viewers a chance to vote on what happens next.
As your audience watches the action unfold, they are presented with different on-screen prompts for different scenarios. This way, you never know what’s coming your way.
Your viewers have the power to spawn enemies to attack you, or they might go easy on you and let you grab powerups to face the villain.
Invasion mode was designed specifically for VR, so you won’t find it in the other versions of the Super Stardust series. You’ll also need a VR headset to play this level.
Here, the players are brought down to the plant’s surface and made to sit in the cockpit of the spaceship. This successfully turns Super Stardust Ultra VR into a first-person shooter.
As opposed to the usual top-down viewpoint, we felt like we were driving around in Battlezone. The controls also felt decent. You can control your spaceship with both sticks but the main aim comes from looking at targets.
Graphically, it was able to show off VR quite well, but something was not quite there. Moreover, it had all the same enemies. The only difference was that we were attacking from above and below which was a nice change of pace.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Super Stardust Ultra VR
The basic setup of Super Stardust Ultra VR is pure arcade.
Graphically, we did feel like it was a bit dated on Playstation VR. There was no wow factor like other VR titles. However, with the exclusion of VR, Super Stardust Ultra is flashy with bright projectiles and colorful planets.
The audio consists of all the standard sounds of space combat. We also enjoyed the soundtrack since it worked well with what was going on in the game.
But, for the full immersion experience, we suggest you play the game with headphones along with the headset. This makes the experience all the more compelling.
After testing the game for a good amount of time, we can say that the controls are quite intuitive and easy. However, it might take you some practice before they come naturally to you.
You can use the headset to aim. While the DualShock controllers are used to shoot, move and use other abilities.
Motion Sickness is not a very common complaint when it comes to Super Stardust Ultra VR.
However, we can still see some users getting nausea due to the camera rotation, moving, and tracking. Therefore, we advise you to practice caution as you play this VR title.
Advantages and Disadvantages
We searched the internet for user reviews to see what people thought about Super Stardust Ultra VR. We were pleasantly surprised by all the positive comments.
The gamers enjoyed the variety of the modes the most. They were able to pick and choose the type of game they wanted to play according to their moods.
A lot of people were also a fan of how easy the controls were. The interface was also intuitive and straightforward.
Here are some of the reviews we came across:
Similar to Super Stardust Ultra VR (Recommendations)
#1: Best Space VR Game - Gunjack Review
Gunjack is fundamentally an arcade turret shooter and a neat counterpart to the intense action of Super Stardust Ultra VR.
It was originally released in 2016 for PC and Oculus Rift, but it was later made available for PS VR and Samsung Gear VR.
The storyline of Gunjack revolves around a defensive ship pilot that is tasked to protect an ore mining mothership in outer shape.
The mission is simple. Defend the mining mothership from all threats. The threats come in increasingly dangerous waves of enemy space vessels. There are also bonus missions you can take on.
Since Gunjack has its roots in mobile space, the missions are structured in a way where they have to be unlocked by earning a maximum of 3 stars from the previous mission.
The stars are based on your performance, such as total time taken to complete the level, longest kill streak, amount of enemies destroyed, and more.
We appreciated the fact that Gunjack starts with an optional tutorial before the first mission. We suggest you do not skip the tutorial as it’s only a few minutes long, and it’s a good way to get accustomed to the controls.
Besides the tutorial, there are a total of 20 missions and 2 bonus levels that you can master.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Gunjack
We found the graphics of Gunjact quite impressive. It has excellent enemy ship models and high-quality explosions once the ships are destroyed. We also enjoyed the detailed backdrops of outer space.
Another thing we liked was how the immersion was not only limited to the game. It was carried throughout the menus, which were presented as though it was a large-scale environment in stereoscopic 3D.
The overall audio of the game was crisp. However, one thing we found quite annoying was the voice acting of who we believed was supposed to be the superior.
It was the only voice acting in the game which did not fit. We think a robotic/synthetic voice would have worked better.
The controls of Gunjack are very easy to pick up on. Your head is essentially the right analog stick that steers the direction of the turret.
A huge plus for us was the exceptional precision of the head tracking. We did not experience any jittering or loss of position while testing the game.
Since Gunjack is a first-person shooter, we did feel a little nauseous when we first picked up the game.
However, as we progressed through the levels and got used to the game, nausea went away. We did not have any problems after that.
Best Space VR Game
The best space VR game is Gunjack. It has everything a polished VR game should have. It is replayable, easy to play, and offers an incredibly immersive experience.
#2: Best Classic Arcade VR Game - Holoball
Holoball is one of the few VR titles we have played while standing up. It has also made us sweat the most. Therefore, if you want a fun way to exercise as you game, Holoball is a must-try.
Originally, it came out on HTC Vive. But, since its success, you can also enjoy it on PS VR, Oculus Touch, and Oculus Rift.
The gameplay of Holoball is quite straightforward. All you have to do is knock a virtual ball back and forth against an A.I. opponent.
Although the entirety of the game is entertaining, the A.I. opponent also does a fair bit of trash talking making the experience all the more enjoyable.
Since the game is similar to table tennis or ping pong, we suggest you arrange a large enough space to truly enjoy the game. There will be instances where you’ll have to lunge and stretch out in all directions to get the shot.
Furthermore, it offers different styles of play for single-player mode so you never get bored. For example, in Campaign mode, there are four difficulty levels that you need to play through.
Eventually, you will also unlock a mode where you can customize the different parameters of the game. We altered the size and speed of the ball as well as the effectiveness of the opponent.
There are also three arcade modes you can play:
- Score Attack
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Holoball
The graphics of Holoball are impressive. Everything is so well designed that it feels as if you’re actually in a massive neon arena fighting a robotic A.I., It evokes a very classic retro vibe that you can’t help but enjoy.
The designers did a good job with the audio and soundtrack of Holoball. The intense and upbeat music successfully amped us up while playing the game.
There are no real controls to learn in order to play Holoball.
To play the game you need a PS Move controller along with the headset. From there all you need to do is hit the ball in VR as you would in ping pong.
We did not have a problem with motion sickness while playing the game. However, the game was so intense and tiring that we had to crack a window open just to cool ourselves down.
Best Classic Arcade VR Game
The best classic arcade VR game is Holoball. The gameplay is simple but addicting. It is also available on all major VR headsets so you can enjoy it with whatever console you have.
A level of realism is important for all VR games so you feel immersed in the environment. This comes from well-designed graphics and visuals.
Therefore, make sure to check the graphics of the VR game either through a demo or user reviews.
The game should not have dull and bad-quality graphics. Otherwise, you’ll only be wasting your money.
Most people overlook the importance of good audio in VR gaming.
It is just as important as the role of visuals since it affirms whether or not the experience is believable, and it creates an emotional impact.
Therefore, don’t forget to check the quality of the audio before you purchase a VR game.
The control scheme is another important factor to consider, especially if you’re a beginner.
The controls should be easy to learn and understand for you to enjoy the game. You do not want something so complicated that it hinders your VR experience.
It is not uncommon for people to experience motion sickness in VR. Therefore, if you’re prone to motion sickness, we suggest you practice caution while playing VR games.
It’s a good idea to remove the headset and take a break for 15 to 30 minutes once you get sick.
Wrapping Things Up
With that, we end our review of Super Stardust Ultra VR.
It is a typical arcade-style game that you can’t go wrong with.
The objective is simple. Survive everything that’s thrown at you on a particular planet, take down the end-of-level boss and then move on to the next, more difficult challenge.
However, if this isn’t your cup of tea, we recommend you try Holoball for a better VR experience.
If you have any questions, do let us know in the comments section.