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Review: Super Star Path

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 10 and up
Genre: Shoot 'em up / Puzzle
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2015
Review Published On: October 21st, 2020
Played on: Thaddeus

Available from:

Steam

Save System:

Your progress is automatically recorded at the end of a run.

If you need to pause the game during a level, press ESC* at any time to bring up the pause menu.

Summary of
Major Issues:

While this game is similar to other arcade games in that there isn't anything too serious with the way it displays violence, it does feature a small amount of swearing.

Screenshots

[view screenshot]
Recovering a powerup

[view screenshot]
Facing the Boss

[view screenshot]
Drilling a path through the horde



Game Overview

Everyone loves a good shoot 'em up*, but while there are some shoot 'em up* elements in Super Star Path, the majority of the gameplay has more in common with puzzle games like Puyo-Puyo or Dr. Mario. You're still going to be fighting a large number of aliens, it's just that you'll be doing so with precision and strategy, not the typical spray and pray* approach you'd normally use.

Each level has you piloting a starship through a trench towards a boss*. This trench is filled to the brim with all sorts of alien baddies, and you'll need to carve a path through them to complete the level. There's a trick to it though: when you zap an alien, they'll pop and start a chain reaction with any nearby aliens of the same color. When the chain reaction can't continue any further, the aliens near the final explosions will turn to crystal. Crystallized aliens can't be damaged in any way, so careless shots can create solid walls that block your progress. The good news here is that you can touch most of the aliens in a level without being harmed, so hold your fire until it's needed.

Every level is also home to a small number of special aliens. Three of these aliens hold powerups* that you can collect and apply to your ships, while three more carry the special Green Emeralds that the drive the game's plot. Once you've collected their cargo, these aliens won't reappear and you can focus on getting through the maze.

At the end of the level you'll face off against a powerful alien boss* in a more traditional bullet hell* fight. Be careful though: despite the boss*' fairly large health meter*, your ships aren't capable of taking many hits before they explode. Survive their dizzying attack patterns, and you'll complete the level, unlocking* some new ships in the process. Each ship has its own strengths, so choose carefully!

This turned out to be a fun little game, and while it's fairly short, I'd say that it's still a good fit for any shoot em up or puzzle game fans who are looking for something different.

Points of Interest

Six worlds to explore
Each world represents a different level to challenge your skills. They all have a unique special enemy* type, and some of the later levels even have hazards for you to try and navigate around. Note that many of the available ships are specifically tailored to be used on specific levels, so if you have trouble completing a world, try a different ship and see if that improves anything. As an example, the ship that's impervious to explosions can completely ignore any of the mines on the rocky planet, while the ship that's immune to small bullets can just tank* the enemies* found on another planet.
Boss Rush mode provides a final challenge
Once you've finished the main game, you'll unlock* a special Boss Rush* game mode. This mode has you face off against all six of the game's bosses* using any ship you want, but you only get one hit point* and no upgrades are applied to your ship. This is a real challenge for bullet hell* pros, so I can't see most players coming close to completing this mode.
Adjustable difficulty
In the game's option menu, there's an option to tweak the game's overall difficulty. You can choose between easy, medium, or hard modes. If you're having real trouble with a specific level, you can lower the difficulty, try again, and then turn it back up afterwards.
Steam community features
It's not often I'd say this, but in this case, the Steam trading cards* for Super Star Path are more interesting than the achievements* it offers. There aren't many achievements*, and they mostly revolve around either gathering sets of things (eg, collecting all powerups*, buying all ships). The hardest achievement* to earn is the one for completing both the main game and the boss rush* bonus mode, and I can't say I'm surprised that hardly anybody has earned it.
Commentary can get annoying
As you play through a level, your ship's pilot will make remarks about the current situation. While he has a larger than expected list of stock phrases, it can become annoying after you've heard the same line a few dozen times. Thankfully, there's an option to disable his commentary in the game's option menu.

Concerns and Issues

Mild violence
As per any old-school* style shoot em up, aliens go pop, ships go boom, and gems go ka-ching. There's no gore, no blood, or anything particularly worrying about the game's violence, as it's presented in the classic family friendly style that arcade games have become known for over the years.
Swearing
For most of the game, the closest anybody gets to swearing is the phrase "Holy crap that's a lot of them!". This generally isn't a big deal, as it's not swearing per se. Unfortunately, the developers decided to have the pilot actually swear during the ending. Since this is the only family-unfriendly thing you'll encounter in Super Star Path, it stands out like a sore thumb.