Genre convention asserts that the best 2D shooters are made in Japan, not Europe, and as a consequence, the Euro shoot-’em-up (or “Euroshmup” to the cognoscenti) is applied as a broad derogatory term to lacklustre contributions to the field, often regardless of country of origin.
The Stardust series, however, proves Euroshmups can triumph and now it has arrived on the PlayStation 4. As with its predecessors, Super Stardust Ultra is a visually splendid sci-fi shooter in which each stage plays out as if the Asteroids template were stretched over a sphere. The rule set is a familiar one. Shoot everything; don’t get hit. Action is intense and difficulty ramps relatively high, yet it remains simple and accessible. But while a wealth of modes encourage a rewarding variety of play styles, Ultra is very similar to the 2007 PS3 instalment, with only a scattering of new features. Nonetheless, with gameplay that’s so gratifying, this is a minor quibble, and Ultra remains well worth the asking price.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010