October 27, 2011 | by Ben Crawford
Evaluated version: 1.0.1
Pros: Difficulty, 90s era gameplay, masterful simplicity
Cons: Bland color scheme, few levels
OrangePixel has an awesome collection of games for Android, and their latest, Stardash, is a true gem if you’re addicted to platforming games. In the vein of Super Mario and Mega Man, Stardash is level upon level of jumps, dashes, and difficulty. Platforming is great, but Stardash turns it up a notch from the cutesy Mario titles so if you’re faint of heart, turn away now.
Stardash has four chapters with ten levels apiece. Don’t worry though, they won’t go quick, and they won’t go painless. The levels are only unlocked upon completion of the previous level so while they aren’t all progressively harder, you get the easier stuff out of the way in the very first level. With added monsters and more complex puzzles, the latter levels seem hard, but if you can run and jump perfectly, they’re really the same in principle. (I hope that eases the crushing difficulty before you play the game.)
I have an Xperia Play specifically for these gaming reasons. Stardash is fortunately optimized for the Play, but with simple controls, playing with them on-screen doesn’t cause to much discomfort either. Run left, run right, and jump. Those are your only options for survival. What we forget, however, is the timing aspect. This isn’t a control per se, but it is the essence of Stardash and you need it (or luck).
I didn’t notice any bugs or any lag despite the speed and nature of the game. That being said, I did have a few dislikes. I understand the “original Gameboy gameplay” aspect, but I would have liked some color or maybe even a negative-type scheme, not just gray. I also felt like the monsters’ area that caused the character to die was bigger than their actual appearance. In places where I felt safe a centimeter away from a monster, I found myself dying a few times. Maybe this was just me. Be careful anyway.
OrangePixel produces games that us 90s kids love. They hark back to a more difficult era with extremely tight gameplay. They are one of my favorite game developers, and Stardash is another notch in their belt. There is no shame in copying Mario or Mega Man, especially if it’s creative and well-done like Stardash.