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1 Jul 2022


Review by Jon Donnis
We do like a good shoot-em-up here on the Gaming Couch, and we were asked to take a look at one called CYBERSTELLAR.

The game has a pretty unique look, it is rendered in 3D Pixel (2D Rendered Voxel), which means nothing to me, but if you look at the images and trailer, you can see it is looks pretty incredible.

The game has 8 levels, of which I managed to only get to level two, and that was after a few hours of gameplay.

There are 4 weapons you can upgrade to, a single shot, a double shot, a treble spread shot, and a temporary super laser shot that just destroys everything, as well as a collectable, automatically fired bomb.

The story tells us of a distant future where a civilisation has made its way to Mars to make a home there, after some time though a planetary event happens, and a great eclipse causes storms, as well as being a cover for an alien invasion of Mars as well as Earth.

Earthlings and Martians ask for help, (not sure from who exactly?) a spacecraft has been designed for spare warfare called Cyberstellar, and you are the chosen pilot for the mission to save the lives of Earthlings and Martians.

With the slightly over convoluted story out of the way, how does the game play?

Well as mentioned earlier I have only managed to get to level 2, and that took me nearly 2 hours of repeated play.

I am not a newbie to the genre; in fact I have been playing shoot-em-ups since the 1980s. This is one challenging game, that's for sure.

Controlling the ship is easy enough, it moves well, the weapons are upgraded during play through power ups you collect, but some of the weapons are temporary and you need to collect repeated power ups, without using them, to get the most powerful weapon, and once that is used you are stuck back with the basic one, so you need to choose carefully which weapons you activate and when. The whole weapons system needs to be re-thought, it just doesn't quite work, use traditional ideas for weapons and you can't go wrong.

The ship you control is relatively large, on what is a small playing area, with alien ships also quite big, this can cause problems, you simply don't have much space to navigate in if things get a bit hectic, so what will happen is that you will quickly become overwhelmed, and if you lose a life, you have to start back at the beginning of the level.

You have your usual power bar, but make contact with a large opponent and it is instant life lost.

To get through the level on a clean run, you really need to be on top of your game, and take out your enemies as soon as you can and in the best order possible, the levels play pretty much the same each time, so you will learn where enemies will approach from and use that in your tactics.

The Good
The game looks incredible, I have never seen graphics quite like this, and although in screenshots things might look a bit too busy when an enemy explodes, it isn't actually that bad as it is only for a moment. The music is ok, if a bit dull. Gameplay is super challenging, and you really need to try, try, and try again if you hope you get through the game.

The Bad
The main ship is too big, and the playable area is too small, leaving you little room for error, I understand that the developer wants you to see the detail on the shop, the pilot etc, but that's just not that important in the grand scheme of things. The menu is poor, and some of the power ups and weapons should be much clearer, and easier to use.

The issues I mentioned are easy to fix, but I am not sure if the developer is interested in listening to criticism. (I tried).

With such a unique look, this game could hit it big in the gaming community, but I fear that the lack of compromise, as well as some basic errors might mean the game struggles to do well.

I always want to support Indie Developers, but sometimes they really are their own worst enemies.

I score CYBERSTELLAR in its current state a 6/10. A lot of potential, but a lot of work needs doing.

Currently on sale with a 50% discount for just £1.99

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