|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Housemarque||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Controls in Super Stardust Portable are admirably captured though certainly less precise when compared to the PS3 version. However, unlike Everyday Shooter's handheld iteration, the controls are still very smooth. Though you can still only shoot in eight directions, the ability to tap the buttons for spread and the ever-increasing power of the weaponry makes up for it. The only real hiccup I found with the control layout is the weapon switch button. Switching weapons is mapped to the D-pad, which is very unwieldy on more difficult levels. Thankfully, the devs recognized this and made a secondary mapping of the weapon switch to the Select button. Nevertheless, I often found myself accidentally tapping the adjacent Start button, and having to cycle through the weapons rather than pressing up or down to pick the exact weapon you want with one press is still inefficient.
Visually, Super Stardust Portable is a pretty PSP game. The asteroids break apart in interesting ways, the enemy ships and robotic mines are well animated, and the weapon and explosion effects are slick. What's more, there is always a ton of action onscreen, and there are never any lag or framerate issues. The only downside to the graphics could be the rather featureless and static backgrounds. Nevertheless, they too do a fairly nice job of communicating the setting of the game.
So too does the original musical score set the tone. I loved the distinct themes for each planet, and the computer-like, feminine voice that announced weapon pickups also enhanced the experience. From a gameplay perspective, subtle sound effects efficiently communicated key status effects. Little blips let players know when the ramming ability has recharged, and subtle chirps let you know that your multiplier has been augmented, or that certain enemies or phase nukes have been deployed. All in all, the sounds did a great job of making up for some of the PSP version's limitations.
If you are expecting Super Stardust Portable to replace Super Stardust HD, you're going to be disappointed. However, SS Portable does a great job of translating the experience to the PSP. For the most part, all the key gameplay elements are present and accounted for. As such, expect several hours of addictive gameplay to blast through. For $9.99, players simply can't go wrong with Super Stardust Portable. In fact, players will be hard-pressed to find a much better game at full price for the PSP.
CCC Editor / News Director