‘Shooting Stars!’ Review

Platforms PC, iOS

Developer BloodIrony   Publisher Noodlecake Studios

Genre Shoot-em-up/Bullet Hell   Platform Played On PC

Knock-off celebrities and flying toasters of death have teamed up to wreak havoc on the world in Noodlecake Studios’ shiny new bullet hell title, Shooting Stars!. Armed with only a cat, you are the world’s last line of defense. But fear not, gentle gamer, for your cat shoots laser beams out of its eyes. Together, you and lazer kitty must take on enemies like Starlett Brohanssen, Kanye East, and Justin Belieber. Memes rule supreme in this silly, internet humor fueled title, and Shooting Stars! manages to poke fun at the internet without taking itself too seriously.

The format of Shooting Stars! is reminiscent of Galaga, complete with enemies barreling toward you in formation, shooting lazer blasts of differing sizes at you and your kitty. Unlike Galaga, however, there is no predicting what each level may bring. Government agents, flying robots, and even cheerleaders (?) fire rockets and lasers in often indeterminate patterns while you frantically dodge and fire off attacks of your own. That said, the game does offer a more predictable “daily run” feature, in which you can fight the same six bosses and the same enemies as many times per day as you want. In that vein, Shooting Stars! seems to have a little trouble finding middle ground; it either gives you utter chaos or tightly controlled insanity, and both can be quite frustrating.

Happily, the randomized enemies occasionally drop “superfoods” that provide various buffs to you and lazer kitty. Some foods offer upgrades to weapons while others raise the chance for drops like extra health and armor. These superfoods can make or break your game, as it is not unusual to go quite a while between health drops. In addition to these tasty upgrades, there are several special “ultimate” attacks that drop as well. These attacks, while useful, tend to have a pretty hefty cooldown time, which often forces the player to actually think strategy. The trouble with that is that it is awfully hard to strategize when you have no idea what may be coming at you. Ultimate attacks also lend a burst of color and chaos to the screen; one of them just fires a rainbow that can clear your screen faster than the eraser on an Etch-a-Sketch. Unfortunately, these ultimate attacks replace each other, so if you have one you’re happy with, it often requires extra focus to avoid picking up another accidentally.

The graphics style is reflected on the collectible cards that, though often dropped as rewards for boss fights, seem to have very little impact on the game itself. Each card offers unique pixel art for a different character. Bright colors seem to be the order of the day though; many of the ult attacks fill the screen with rainbows and bursts of color. If that sounds chaotic to you, you are absolutely right, but Shooting Stars! handles the madness well.

Overall, Shooting Stars! is an exciting and unique shoot-em-up title. The use of memes, celebrities, and internet personalities can make the player feel like they are in on an inside joke, but could also serve to date the game itself. The mechanics are simple and the premise is definitely a lot of fun. Shooting Stars! is a great title for picking up when you don’t have a ton of time to play or even when you’re just looking for a colorful explosion of awesome.

The Good

  • Bright and lovingly crafted graphics and animations
  • Clever jokes and use of online memes
  • Randomized levels keep the player guessing

The Bad

  • Memes could serve to date the game for future players
  • Chaos can occasionally make everything difficult to see

The Score: 7