Stardash App Review – Mario Fans, Check This Out!

The amount of decent platformers available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad have undoubtedly escalated in the better of the 2011 year. I remember when I was first introduced to the iOS world of applications, otherwise deemed and more commonly referred to as the App Store, there was practically not nearly enough worthy games to satisfy a platformer junky like me. Nonetheless, the amount there are now is enough to suffice any platformer fan – especially, most recently, a fan of the Mario series due to the release of Stardash from iPhone developer Orange Pixel.

Very Mario-esque, Stardash has you controlling a character through a plethora – 40 to be exact – of scrolling platformer levels in order to reach the end of the level in the given, or in less than, time while also attempting to collect all of the coins littered cleverly throughout the level. The two challenges, time and coins, won’t be achievable at once of course, so you’ll have to redo the level at-least twice (along with all of the other hundreds of times you do after you die) to collect the two accompanying badges that go along with each challenge. There are also “temple keys” hidden throughout each level, usually in hidden passages which are accessible through the sides of certain platforms. When you collect the key from each of the 9 levels in the four different worlds, you’ll unlock a bonus, tenth, “temple” level; there are 4 in total.

Mario fans: there’s no other game so alike to the awesome series that Nintendo once created than Stardash. It features the same, short, quick and right to the point level design while also incorporating the same sort of persistent enemies that just sort of piss you off by the 20th time they’ve killed you. This is not to say that the game lacks its own creativity and uniqueness, but instead says that it’s got your favorite elements while also bringing some fresh and new things to the platformer table.

Evident by the developer’s name, most all of their games (tons of their games are currently available on the Android Marketplace; bleh!) are constructed carefully pixel by pixel. Similar in Stardash, everything from the menu title and UI buttons’ fonts to the actual game’s sprites and backgrounds are made pixel by pixel reflective of the artist’s hand, technique and skill to do such a thing. Additionally, the gameplay brings back a wave of nostalgia to any retro gamer with its unique, selective color palette while also retaining modern aspects such as retina and such. For me the artwork is absolutely wonderful to be greeted with every of the 1,000 times I open the application each day which simply proves that an old gamer, if you will, will definitely enjoy playing the game not only because 1) it’s so similar to Mario with its gameplay and elements, but also because 2) the artwork truly meets the standard of retro games.

All I ask from the developer is that the times that levels have to be completed in to collect the according badge be adjusted for less-hardcore gamers. It’s recommended on my behalf that another difficulty mode be added for those casual gamers.

There is already a fifth world promised in a future content update, as will you if you purchase Stardash. As I’ve stated before, retro fans and pure genre fans will surely have a joy playing through the many cleverly designed levels and spending an excessive amount of time to get both badges for each level. The amount of challenge does get a bit frustrating, but the difficulty curve is such that the ramp of difficulty happens at exactly the right moment. If everything above hasn’t yet sold you then here’s my final verdict: you should give a wonderful developer your $1.99 by purchasing the game this instant.

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