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Star Soldier R (WiiWare) Review

Review for Star Soldier R on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The 'Soldier' series of space shooting games from Hudson Soft, renowned for its Bomberman titles, have been around for many years, dating as far back as the NES original in 1986 and spanning the likes of the TurboGrafx-16, Nintendo 64, PSP, GameCube and PS2 over the past two decades. Now that Hudson has unleashed the hectic shmup on Nintendo's WiiWare service in its stripped-down Caravan Mode format does it still warrant the purchase for 800 Wii Points?

You may be surprised to hear this, but despite being such a short game, Star Soldier R actually has a decent storyline behind it. The year is Star Date 2180 and without warning, a band of soulless war drones appear from the outer reaches of the solar system, ready to obliterate mankind. In response, the Joint Forces of Earth retaliated to avoid human annihilation, and yet the battle was by no means simple. Players take control of a prototype space vessel called the Caesar, which is the JFE's attempt to abolish the threat of the enemy's central unit, the Core Brain, once and for all. And if you manage to defeat the final boss on Star Soldier R, then a pat on the back is well and truly deserved as the challenge is definitely high.

There are only a few modes on offer, with Online Ranking, Quick Shot, 2 Minute Mode (one stage) and 5 Minute Mode (two stages) to choose from. The online database and leader-board is simply for keeping tabs on your Worldwide and Regional Rankings via the Wi-Fi Connection, yet whilst the other three are the 'meat' of the game it is the ranking system that will undoubtedly keep gamers coming back again and again. The sheer addictive nature of working your way slowly but surely up not only the regional rankings, but the worldwide table (filled to the brim with Japanese gaming otaku that live and breathe games such as this and are seemingly unbeatable) will more than justify the 800 Wii Points price-tag, especially those looking for a quick blast here and there on a current generation shooter. Sure, there are full games available for around the same price on the Virtual Console, but if retro is not your thing then this could very well be right up your street.

Screenshot for Star Soldier R on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

In the vertically scrolling space setting gamers must take control of the tiny Caesar ship, which comes with three speed settings that can be altered on-the-fly for tactical purposes (moving slower can definitely aid with dodging particular enemies, whilst increased speed helps with higher scoring), as well as an upgradeable laser weapon (pick up floating pink icons) and small defence bots that can be acquired by collecting the various blue icons that appear when specific blocks are blasted away. When starting for the first time, your ship will have a paltry single laser beam shooting out and be moving around the playing field at a snail's pace. Yet as soon as you crank up the speed and start collecting weapon upgrades, things get mighty hectic as your craft will be firing from all angles, ground structures will be smashed apart, and a torrent of enemies will be raining down upon the Caesar as you desperately attempt to keep hitting everything in sight to top up the combo meter, collect all of the precious yellow crystals uncovered along the way AND try out new tactics for obtaining even more points in the quickest time possible. It can certainly be quite breath-taking and will certainly lead to plenty of sweaty palm situations and heart racing...and that is before you even reach the final boss on the very first stage!

Tactics comes into play throughout, as the defence drones can either circle the ship for extra protection or be sent out to help shoot down more enemies. The trick is to watch what colour they change as they do run out of bullets after a while and need to be drawn back into shield mode to recuperate. Wise use of their crazy shooting ability can help to clear the screen of all enemies when mere manual shooting on the player's part would not suffice and thus bonus points would be missed out on. Other tricks include keeping at full energy and sitting your craft inside the centre of a particular enemy ship to despatch it quicker and gain a higher score. Of course, being able to soft-reset the stage helps prevent frustration as a few mistakes can make playing through the rest of the stage pointless...Did something stupid? Just tap the + and - buttons together and off we go once more. It has everything you need for a quick burst every now-and-then, including the little extra of the Quick Shot mode where the aim is to blow up as many ground units as possible in twenty seconds. Sadly this is not online ranked, though. To conclude, though, the key point has to be this: whilst LostWinds and My Life as a King are brilliant efforts in their own right, once completed (and done so in a short time in both cases), there is no real reason to go back to them. On the other hand, after a week of solidly playing Star Soldier R's two- and five-minute modes, whilst fully completing both LostWinds and My Life as a King in-between, the craving to keep going back for one-more-go is still as strong as ever, with the lure of creeping to the top of the Great Britain rankings too hard to resist. Is 800 Wii Points really so hefty for something so addictive?

Screenshot for Star Soldier R on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Controlling smoothly, mixing in the need for honed tactics and throwing wave after wave of dastardly enemies at you, Star Soldier R is fast, frantic and fantastic fun through-and-through.

Graphics

Eye-blisteringly fast at times and suffering from no slowdown thankfully, SSR is jam-packed with bright colours, highly-detailed enemy crafts and neon bullets zooming all over the place. Definitely one of the prettier WiiWare titles available right now.

Sound

Old school synth rock tunes pour out of your speakers in a not so displeasing manner, and actually spurs gamers on during the melee of bullet firing with its stirring beats.

Value

Okay, it may only be two levels in essence and a Quick Shot mode, but more time can be spent perfecting high scores and working up the worldwide online leader-boards than time spent clearing both the excellent LostWinds and My Life as a King. This is one hell of an addictive game.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Whilst many will look at this as being just a two stage shooter for a high price that is definitely the wrong viewpoint. This 'Caravan Mode' version of Star Soldier is perfect for those that cannot commit to working their way through a full shmup outing. Without the online element the appeal would not been anywhere near as high, so thankfully Hudson's inclusion was a wise one since the sheer addictive quality of coming back time and time again to up your worldwide ranking means gamers will, in the long run, likely play this more than other quality WiiWare offerings such as LostWinds and My Life as a King. A fantastically crafted space shooter that has a resounding 'just one more go' feel to it. Be sure to give this a whirl.

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29.05.2008

10

7366

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Developer

Hudson

Publisher

Hudson

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Cool review, I feel exactly the same way! I prefer this to LostWinds too. I'd give it 8 for value, I can't stop playing it!

'*~_Mikomi_~*'

I better see some toki tori loving soon from cubed3!

XBL Gamertag: James2t3
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

A Toki Tori review will indeed be coming soon, don't worry.

Thanks Mikomi Smilie Which control method do you use? I much prefer just the Wii Remote on its side like a NES pad. I can't quite get the hang of playing it with the Nunchuk or Classic Controller's analogue sticks for movement...

Anyone else here picked this up? I nearly broke the million mark on the 2 minute mode earlier and found I'd actually gone down in the GBR rankings, so clearly people in this country are getting much better!!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

There are already a few PC engine shooters on VC with a 2 and 5 min mode.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

True, but this is great for people that want something that looks 'next gen', yet don't have the time for a full game. My wife loves it because it looks great, plays great, reminds her of a more intense Galaga and she can just have a quick bash at trying to match her husband's seemingly unbeatable score Smilie Smilie

I realise you're a big shmup fan, so obviously 500 Points for a NES classic shooter or 800 for a full SNES game such as the excellent Gradius III is much better value.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I love my shmups. Great review Raz, I'll definitely check this out.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Cheers mOojc. I've got an interview with Hudson about its WiiWare content, so naturally one of the Qs I asked was 'Will there be another Star Soldier for WiiWare, and will it be a more expanded version?'

I think it's already been a huge success in Japan given the amount of people already flooding the online leader-board. There's also a fair few US and Europeans, so good to see it picking up speed in the West slowly but surely.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Might just give this a shot, great review Adam! I've been hearing some mixed-reviews on this, so good to see some positive feedback!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Basically I've been reading that people really like it, but wish it was a full game. If you know what you're getting, then there's no disappointment really. Is 800 Points something like

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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