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Star Soldier R - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Star Soldier R

WiiWare | Hudson | 1 Player | Out Now | 800 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk; Classic Controller; GameCube Controller
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12th May 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Star Soldier R was Hudson's very first title for the WiiWare platform that debuted with the first set of launch titles. Many criticized it for its short focus and appeal. But even with its flaws, 'til this day, it's still a really well-made shooter.

There are many options to choose from via the Main Menu: there's the Main Game, Quick Shot, Records and you can even access the Wi-Fi leaderboards to compare your scores with others around the world. The central gameplay option consists of 2-Minute and 5-Minute Mode, two timed modes where you soar through an on-rails stage filled with traps and rival spacecrafts, leading up to a face-off against a boss at the end. 2-Minute Mode only features Stage 1 whereas 5-Minute Mode features both stage 1 and 2. There's also a Quick Shot mode where you simply see how fast you can press the fire button for roughly 15 seconds. 

    In terms of controls, you simply fire by pressing and holding the Z Button and using the Nunchuk's analog stick to control movement. You can also press the C Button on the Nunchuk to increase your ship's speed up to three levels. The game also features Gamecube and Classic Controller support for those who feel so inclined. They're actually quite easy to pick up so most shouldn't have too much trouble in getting used to them. With each enemy you destroy, you'll add a point to your combo meter, accounted for in the top-right hand corner of the screen. Once the meter runs out, though, your combo and your score multiplier will reset.

During gameplay, yellow orbs will appear on-screen as you defeat certain enemies, and these can be collected to accumulate points. You'll also spot two other types of orbs as you go through the two stages in the game. Pink orbs actually serve as power-ups for your main weapon to make it more powerful and have a more wide range of fire. Blue orbs are called Forces and these can be used in one of two ways: either defensively as shields to protect yourself or offensively to attack enemies within the vacinity. You can simply toggle between offense and defense by pressing the A Button. By performing certain tasks within a stage, players can also obtain special score bonuses that go a long way in helping you achieve an impressive score. There are many ways to get bonuses in the two stages so there is a bit of exploration involved in discovering these for yourself.

    Once you reach the end of the on-rails pathway in either mode, you'll encounter a boss which features different attack patterns than the normal enemies. In particular, the boss in Stage 2 is actually quite challenging so don't expect to beat it on your first run-through. But learning how to defeat the bosses and dodge their attacks is all part of what makes a shooter so enjoyable. When you defeat a boss or run out of time, the game will end and your scores will be tallied. You'll also be awarded Clear, Time and Combo bonuses that can be added to your overall score. When all is said and done, you'll be able to see how your score stacks up, not only on the local leaderboard but on the Wi-Fi leaderboard as well. 

Star Soldier R is very high-score based so if you're into games where you like to challenge yourself, then this is definitely a game you should consider. Being a game of that nature, it's actually quite refreshing to see that you can restart your run simply by pressing + and - on the Wii Remote. Being able to compare your scores with other Worldwide veterans such as yourself is what gives players a motivating drive to continue playing over and over again. Keeping this in mind will give you the right mindset when playing, remembering that it is a slight departure from traditional shooters in what it's designed for.

    The game itself is really well done in terms of graphics and everything from the backgrounds, to enemy explosions and even menu layouts all look fantastic. If the game looked unattractive and was poorly designed, it's doubtful that most would feel as motivated to return. Since you'll be playing the two stages over and over again, having this strong focus towards visuals is a big help. 

    Although some may question its value at 800 Wii Points, it really is a great purchase especially for high-score fanatics. Star Soldier R gives players a competitive, determined focus towards defeating offline and online high-scores. Many probably overlooked this launch title because of the seemingly-limited gameplay with the 2-Minute and 5-Minute modes so in theory, it may not seem to contain a lot of length. However, if you're the type of person who enjoys aiming for high-scores and bragging rights, Star Soldier R is actually very replayable for that purpose, even two years later.

24/30 - Very Good 

Gameplay 8/10 - Secret bonuses reward excellent plays, plenty of tough opponents, lots of room for strategy, offensive/defensive abilities
Presentation 9/10 - Looks excellent for an $8 game, on-rails levels in outer space, layout is very appealing, wonderful special effects
Enjoyment 4/5 - Those used to deep shooters may be disappointed, high-score veterans will enjoy the approach towards self-improvement
Extra Content 3/5 - Leaderboards offer extended motivation, two different stages each with a boss, Quick Fire mode, multiple controller support

Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Star Soldier R
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Review by KnucklesSonic8

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