stardust galaxy warriors pax west 2016
Tucked in the back of the 6th Floor of the Washington State Convention Center was a special video game, involving space, action, and mechs. As it was the end of the first day, I caught the tremendous sounds coming from the both, which lured me over. The booth was Dream Loop Games, and their game was Stardust Galaxy Warriors. As I got to the booth, me, and three other attendees, gathered together to set forth onto the galactic adventure, to save the universe from evil.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a side-scrolling space shmup featuring incredibly advanced mechs. Players can choose one of four mechs, each with their own primary weapon, melee ability, and special attack system. Like all shmups, the objective of this game is to attack and destroy everything on-screen, while avoiding damage as much as possible. Players can expect a relentless amount of enemy capital ships, and massive boss fights to unfold on their quest to defeat evil.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors features couch co-op for up to four players. It is with this that my demo began. I chose a balanced mech, which featured a minigun as a primary weapon, a reciprocal blade for close combat, and a unique bomb attack. The other mechs had their own capabilities as well, with some faring further to long-range firepower than to melee tactics. Our demo began with the mass murders of hundreds of asteroids. This was to give a familiarity to the mechanics of the game, as well as give a handle onto the control systems. Players move their mechs with the left stick and fire with the right triggers. Switching between ranged combat and melee combat was easy, as well as satisfying. The super attacks for each mech were unique as well. All of us worked as a single unit to defeat the opposing asteroids.
A big highlight from this demo was the games’ awareness, as well as sense-of-humor. Our first big boss was a massive asteroid, slowly drifting from left to right. The target seemed easy enough to destroy, and so, all four of us punished the poor asteroid with slashes and bullets. But as the seconds ticked by, the asteroid continued to move and drift with no signs of weakening. It was becoming alarming for us, as the asteroid continued its course. Shortly upon that realization, the asteroid began to glow red. The more fire we put upon it, the redder it became. Just as it appeared we wouldn’t able to defeat the asteroid, it finally exploded, coming to life and screaming in painful agony. That is meant in a literal sense. As a play on gamer’s expectations, this lifeless rock was actually full of life, to our complete surprise. It gave all of us a good laugh.
The rest of the demo had us taking on enemy starships and warships. This gave the game more of a challenge as our enemies were actively shooting back at us. Working in unison, with shooting attacks, was tremendous! The presentation, in particular, was reminiscent of early 1990’s spaceship shmups, such as Cybernator and RayStorm. As things got more challenging, the sensations of action got stronger, as all forms of chaos erupted around us! I would later learn from a representative of Dream Loop Games that Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a love letter to anime and early shmups. Continuing the gameplay, one of our mechs went down but was able to be healed. Coupled with the fact that the game featured health bars was a nice touch to make the game a bit fair, as well as more accessible to casual gamers.
Alas, our demise concluded the demo. A massive warship entered the fray. We gave it our best, including a combination of ranged and melee attacks. However, a particle beam absolutely destroyed the last man standing. With that, it was game over, and the demo concluded.
Shmups have are meant to be played in quick, excitingly charged rounds, especially with a friend. Stardust Galaxy Warriros succeeded in this mission as my time with this impressive shmup was geat. The presentaiton was solid and reminiscent of Gensis and SNES gams. The gameplay was solid and fluid, and the challenge was really engaging.
Look for Stardust Galaxy Warriors on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam next week! Be sure to listen to the soundtrack below!