Super Stardust Ultra
Top Critic Average
Ultra's label insinuates that this is the ultimate realisation of Housemarque's original vision. In truth, it's little more than a re-skin, and the seasoning of novelties adds little of enduring substance. Instead, the original remains a classic. Its somewhat sterile charms are undiminished by time, and so space cadets will find much to love here, in the bustle of a perennial galactic rush hour. Veterans, however, need not apply. Whether that's testament to Housemarque's delivery of an original that could not be improved by tampering, or its new custodian's lack of vision, is another question.
Not much more than an HD update of the last gen version, but still one of the best arcade shooters around and a loving homage to the original Asteroids.
As great as it was when the series first launched on the PlayStation 3 - but that's mainly because, other than a couple of new modes, it's practically the same game.
A good arcade game that is outdated by some of its own successors
Without doubt the definitive version of Super Stardust. Some might be disappointed about the fairly limited new additions, but regardless, it's still one of the greatest arcade shooters around.
If you already own a prior entry and aren't bonkers about the series, you can probably pass on Super Stardust Ultra in favor of something original like Geometry Wars 3, as very little is wholly new here. But if you're the type of gamer who worked tirelessly in the past for a top Stardust score and can't get enough, this is the smoothest package yet. While I may be slowing down with my love for the franchise in light of recent competition, the light isn't entirely extinguished.
The best way to enjoy the classic space shooter today, and it's just as compellingly addictive as ever, but a lack of online functionality holds it back.
Returning fans won't get much new worthwhile content, except in the refreshing streaming mode, but if you are new the series this is the kitten kabootle of all things Stardust.
It's hard to describe Super Stardust Ultra as a disappointment, because the core gameplay loop – almost eight years after its original introduction – is still as enjoyable as ever. That said, this doesn't feel like the next frontier for Housemarque's revered shooter series – more like a stopgap along the way. Veterans should know that, outside of some visual enhancements and extra modes, this is pretty much Super Stardust HD. That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course; newcomers are encouraged to take aim at this right away.
There is nothing at all wrong with the core of Super Stardust Ultra. The issue lies with how much remains the same as a title that came out nearly eight years ago while the studio responsible have moved on to bigger and better things.