Reader Review: Stardust Vanguards (PC)

STARDUST_BOXStardust Vanguards is a multiplayer space-themed action game downloadable on Steam for PC.  One cool thing about this game is that it was made by local folks (well, local for me and my friend anyway). Speaking of which, I had my friend, Robbie Allen, review this game for me, so please check it out by clicking here!

They say in space they can’t hear you scream, but can they hear you explode? I don’t know, but if you’re playing Stardust Vanguards I can promise you one thing. You’ll get a lot of explosions.

Stardust Vanguards is an interesting game, it’s a multiplayer space battle game with absolutely no single player mode whatsoever. An odd decision, but let me tell you, the game is an absolute blast when played among friends, and provides a variety of options for both vs. and cooperative gameplay. Also every time you complete a gameplay mode the game will unlock a new gameplay mode or arena, so it gives a variety of options and doesn’t get boring anytime soon.

In the game you and your friends get to select from four characters and you fly in robot suits in space attacking each other (or against a swarm of enemies if you’re playing cooperative mode). Your main attack is a Star Wars style light saber, but you also have a gun that homes in on opponents (but has limited ammo), and the ability to call in squadrons of spaceships and drones to accompany you. To defend yourself you have jets that will allow you to sprint all over the screen (but can damage your ship if you overuse them) and a force field you can bring up for short periods of time.

Vs. modes include stuff like free for all, king of the hill, capture the flag, and even sport styled games you can play against friends. Cooperative mode has various styles where you and some friends must share a number of lives as you try to survive a huge onslaught of smaller enemies. Survive enough waves and you unlock more modes.

The graphic style is a neat somewhat retro style, but still manages to pack a nice amount of detail and good choosing of color so things don’t get confusing. Sound design is good and even though your characters repeat their voice clips often, they’re done short and quickly enough that they surprisingly don’t get annoying. The controls are also very responsive and it’s just an overall great presentation.

Stardust Vanguards has only two negatives in my book, but they’re huge ones. The first one is there’s absolutely no online mode, meaning you have to play it all local. This is fine for a console game, but seems pretty insane for a PC game. People generally don’t have four controllers for their PC, and huddling up to one can get kinda crowded unless you have a monitor as big as your TV.

The second negative is the lack of ANY one player modes, there’s not even a practice mode. This is frustrating because you have no way to practice the game before a challenge or play alone if you really enjoy the game. It’s annoying because the Cooperative game could’ve easily been made to support one player despite its name, or at the very least provide some computer controlled players to work with or against.

Overall Stardust Vanguards is a lot of fun, but I can’t help but feel the lack of online and one player modes really hurt the production. If you have two or more PC controllers, people to play against regularly, and a big enough screen to handle multiple people huddling up to your PC for some fun gameplay action, then it’s definitely worth getting. Otherwise I can’t recommend it until it at least gets an online mode of some sort.


Kid Factor:

Kids will love the hectic gameplay, colorful graphics, and space theme. Other than some mild language, I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t let your kids play the game.  –Robbie Allen

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