Stellatum Review

When I was young, one of my favourite games was Xenon 2 Megablast, so when I saw this I knew I had to give it a shot! Stellatum is developed and published by Satur Entertainment, but is the game really Stella or does it play out just dumb?

The game is a fast paced scroller shooter. You are playing for an extra-terrestrial race that has just become ready to conquer outer space. You are first tasked to destroy a comet that is heading for your planet.

The game drops you into a simulator to show off all the weapons you can potentially have, but that level is short and you are quickly stripped of everything! You then have to go ahead and start building your ship, collecting blueprints and building components along the way to assist you with the task of building a more powerful spaceship.

Once the simulation level is completed, you uncover what looks like a very complex looking map, divided into different locations. You will be progressing through roughly 80 missions. Some are simple, but on some missions the enemies can overwhelm. Even though levels can get ridiculously hectic, you do get three lives per level to survive. Luckily enough if it gets too much you can lower the difficulty.

The gameplay is very basic – weave around the screen you are in whilst holding down the fire button. To start, the game can be very slow. Your ship is very weak and you have to move around the map constantly to avoid getting hit. You are unable to spam your fire as your guns will overheat, so you will need to pay close attention when firing. Each enemy you kill drops out small orbs which you will have to pick up to use towards upgrading your ship. Therefore, as you progress further, your spaceship quickly becomes a powerhouse, depending on what upgrades you decide.

There are so many customization options available along each mission that you are never short of upgrades. However, the vast choices can feel slightly false, as some are worthless and in reality, you’ll only be using a few. You can backtrack or do side missions for more components if you feel the need. I wish these side missions added more to the story, but their primary purpose is just to help you upgrade you ship.

The controls are smooth and as you move around it flows brilliantly. The music gives you an eerie space tone, and with multiple weapons the sound of each one is unique. Visually, the backgrounds of each level are beautiful, and you can notice the subtle differences as you go through different galaxies. For a scrolling shooter, this title is really well done. But variety is limited by the very nature of the game meaning you do get a sense of repetition. With over 80 missions, it makes it a long slog.

Conclusion

Whilst this game has interesting gameplay and the ship upgrade system can be fun, it will take a while for someone to get into it. Yes the game is long, but long doesn’t always mean good. Some missions can be tough, seemingly at random, and you will need to find the right upgrade to proceed easily. It is repetitive by design and unfortunately, because there are so many missions, I found myself bored very quickly.

This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.
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Good
  • Fun core loop
  • Great controls
  • Lovely visuals
Bad
  • Some upgrades feel pointless
  • Some stages can drag on a bit too long
  • Difficulty spikes at random
5.9
Average
Gameplay - 6.5
Graphics - 6
Audio - 6
Longevity - 5
Written by
For me it started out on PC, back in the Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen days. Now I play across all platforms, but I'm gaming every day, mainly on xbox. I'm easy going, with a full-on achievement hunting addiction, but you mainly can find me getting my fix on Apex Legends (Caustic FTW) Gamertag: nuttywray

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