The meat of Stardust Galaxy Warriors is the campaign. The campaign consists of ten levels, each with multiple stages. The levels are pretty much what you would expect. Sometimes you are in outer space, others flying through a planet’s atmosphere, and one level takes place underwater. In between each stage, dialog boxes explain the narrative. There are pop culture references everywhere, and the game never takes itself too seriously, which is good, as I don’t know anyone who plays shmups for the story.
There are all manner of dials and settings you can play around with, altering the game as you see fit. When I played through the campaign with my sons, we went with the default settings in Normal difficulty. There are eight (!) more difficulty levels, and further customization within each. You can increase the frequency of power up drops, adjust enemy speed, toughness, and many more. I can’t think of many other games that allow such control over the gameplay; it is a toolbox that modders will love tinkering around in. Once the campaign is complete, Stardust Galaxy Warriors still has more to offer. There is a Gauntlet mode, where you fly endlessly through a series of themed levels to see how far you can get. Maybe the theme is dodging bullets, maybe you are taking on a series of boss fights, that sort of thing. There’s not as much customization here, as there are no upgrades like the campaign has, but these are still fun, and can be done in four player co-op as well.
Speaking of the co-op: how is it? Quite good, really. Four players teaming up is a great number, as we pointed out earlier, but it goes beyond that as well. When players run out of shields, they can be resurrected by other players. Just fly over, jam a button, and your buddy is back and right in the thick of it with you. There are also elements of cover one another’s weaknesses, as in an RPG. Get a bruiser up front with a flamethrower, taking down the armor of the boss, while the damage dealers stay safe in the back and zap it into oblivion. One mech can even mark a target to increase damage, functioning as a party-wide buff.
I really enjoyed playing Stardust Galaxy Warriors. It looks good, plays great, and is definite throwback to a simpler, sweeter time when filling a living room with friends and playing a video game together was the norm. The soundtrack is particularly great, as well, and makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable. Any fan of shoot’em ups, whether casual or hardcore, will find something to like here. I’d even recommend it to shmup newbies, purely on the strength of the four player couch co-op. It’s definitely worth a look!
The Co-Optimus Co-Op Review of Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax is based on the Xbox One version of the game. A code was provided by the developer for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax is a 1-4 player couch co-op arcade shooter, where you jump inside a giant mech and blast evil throughout the galaxy
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.