|System: WiiWare||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: High Voltage Software||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Despite being a shooter, the game is less about blasting away enemies to attain a high score and more about staying alive long enough to collect the precious energy spheres required to move on. The ship moves side-to-side (including up walls), so the primary gameplay involves a hell of a lot of firing and dodging. High-powered weapon upgrades offer temporary armament boosts to cut through thicker swaths of foes. They are extremely helpful, since you'll lose some of your total accumulated energy each time you perish. Adding to the collection element, a grappling hook can be deployed at any time to quickly nab power-ups and energy spheres floating around. Intermittently, you'll also run through other portals on the track that give speed boosts or destroy all enemies on the screen.
Trying to maneuver your ship with motion controls turned on is a completely worthless endeavor. They're horrible. You'll be flying into laser blasts, up walls, and into enemies: everywhere besides where you're trying to go. Using either the classic control and or the Wii Remote held sideways, mashing the D-pad and buttons is the way to go. In an unusual and ingenious control twist, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk can be connected for a combined control system that allows two people to play (one at either end). This is great if you've got a room full of friends and only a few controllers, since a total of four players can blast away at once.
Graphically, Gyrostarr is one of the most impressive WiiWare titles available to date. Wii games in-general are not commonly known for amazing graphics, particularly in comparison with the PS3 and Xbox 360. High Voltage Software's new Quantum 3 Engine is impressive in action, even in a space shooter. The same engine will be powering their upcoming Wii first-person shooter, Conduit, and the company is seeking to raise the bar for graphical performance on Nintendo's console. The frenzied action in Gyrostarr takes place against a gorgeous backdrop of highly detailed galactic scenery with vast star fields, colorful nebulae, and swirling lighting effects. Everything is extremely polished for a WiiWare title.
Gyrostarr is pretty, simplistic, and straight-forward. Tougher difficulty kicks in after the first dozen tracks or so and the fun ramps up as the action on the screen grows more and more hectic. The game does have the tendency to get repetitive at times - you'll be doing a whole lot of the same thing over and over again for 50 main levels and 50 bonus tracks - but it's a good WiiWare title at a budget price nonetheless. In short bursts, this is one you won't want to miss.
CCC Staff Contributor