Review | Star Hunter DX
Bullet hell shoot ’em ups are one of the oldest genres known to video games. As such, many would think that the genre has stagnated. However, Star Hunter DX by 1CC Games manages to make playing an old style game feel very fresh. In Star Hunter, you play as a betrayed starship captain tearing through the galaxy on a quest for revenge. Does Star Hunter DX manage to carve out a unique place in a genre with so many predecessors?
Gameplay wise, Star Hunter DX has a lot going for it. Due in part to the pixel graphics, the game puts an emphasis on high speed performance and quick reaction time. While this can be daunting to newer players, Star Hunter‘s gameplay offers several features to the player to counter the hectic combat. The first, bullet time, allows the player to easily navigate the play area. The second, practice mode, allows you to play a level and avoid late level surprises. These lower the difficulty level without making the player have too much of an edge.
While there are no traditional difficulty levels, players can make the game harder by increasing the score checkpoints. In addition, the tutorial section features a robust guide for any who might be new to bullet hell games. All in all, Star Hunter DX allows the player some control over their experience, without sacrificing the games intended skill floor.
Aesthetically, Star Hunter uses its pixel art style to the fullest. While occasionally borrowing from Outrun and 80s nostalgia, the art looks great, and the simple visuals make it easy to determine whats going on. Each of the three playable characters look unique, and the death screen stands out as visually interesting. The music is fairly standard for indie games, but it never gets too repetitive. The genre as a whole suffers from too many visual effects on the screen, but 1CC Games makes an effort to minimize it. Overall, while it won’t win any awards, Star Hunter does look nice.
Star Hunter DX, like many pixel art titles, does great in the performance department. The game maintains tight and responsive controls and never takes a hit in the frame rate. There’s a lot of content to unlock, and in my five hours I only scraped by on a few levels. There’s also a leaderboard to challenge your friends, along with alternate playstyles to unlock.
Overall, Star Hunter DX is able to distinguish itself from its numerous peers through a focus on strong gameplay. For a small indie game, it packs a punch in content for shmup lovers. While it has few stand out moments, newcomers and veterans will be entertained by its uncompromising classic feel.
Final Score: 7 out of 10