In an age where developers are focusing on making their games bigger and better by artificially inflating game time with endless grinding, addition side quests or creative and often failed control schemes it seems developers on the whole have forgotten that games are supposed to fun. Thankful developer bigbananapps has ignored these callings and has proven that simplicity doesn’t mean sacrificing style or substance with the release of Star Daze HD for the iPad.
In a nutshell the objective of Star Daze HD is to collect as many stars as you can while avoiding any contact with the constantly increasing and moving red balls. The game has has three different modes of play that slightly alter the game rules.
In Normal Mode players are challenged with collecting as many stars as possible. There are no time constraints or limitations on movement. Users simply pick a location on the board to move and the blue ball will slide across the screen to its destination collecting any stars in it’s path. If it touches a red ball along the way the game is over.
The Second mode of play is called Speed Challenge. This mode follows the same rules as normal mode however a 5 second time frame for collecting a star is added reducing the users decision making time drastically.
The third and final gameplay mode is called Don’t Miss. In Don’t Miss mode there are no time restrictions placed on the user except that the blue ball must collect a star with each and every move.
In each of the game modes once you start collecting 3 or 4 stars the game will begin adding moving red balls which appear and move in random paths making for an entirely new challenge with each and every game played. Periodically throughout the game green question marked balls will appear. Collecting these will release one of 8 temporary power-up functions.
It should be noted that some of these power-ups will actually increase the difficulty of completing your task such. Such is the case of speed up which increases the speed of the red balls for a few precious seconds and can easily catch your ball sleeping. Other power-ups will help you slow down time, destroy red balls, or increase the number of stars on the screen at once. The selection of when and what power ups will appear is completely random.
As you collect stars or unlock medals you will begin to earn Star Bucks. These points can be used in the shop menu located on the title screen. Inside the Shop which isn’t a real monetary shop but a local game oriented shop (no real money needed) that allows users to purchase additional power-ups. Some of these power-ups will activate automatically like the the Second Change Ball which gives you an additional life. Others will have to be manual released and can be carried from one game to another until actually used. You can only purchase one of each power-up at a time so you won’t be able to cheat your way to a high score by buying 15 Second Lives.
While playing the game you will notice a few different buttons across the bottom of the screen. These include pause, sound effects and music toggles as well as an arrow that shows what Store bought power-ups you have remaining along with the number of enemies on the screen currently and the number of stars you have collected.
After each game your statistics are updated on the home page as well as the detailed stats menu where your complete history is displayed.
I mentioned medals early so I should explain that as you progress and meet certain requirements medals will become unlocked. For the most part these 24 medals do nothing to enhance the game except for when you unlock all of the medals. Accomplishing this unlocks an additional power-up in the store which will be given to you for free.
The games not perfect however.Some might find the plan wood background a bit boring after clocking in a few hours of gameplay. It would have been nice to include some additional backgrounds as unlockable features to go along with the medals. My second complaint is that the game literally screams for an online leaderboard as well as some kind of universal statistic compare feature.
I brought these to the developer’s attention and I was ensured that there were improvements and features currently in development for Star Daze HD. I also managed to slip in my vote for an additional gameplay mode where the background changes or swirls adding another level of distraction to the player. Imagine a transparent red swirling bulls-eye or psychedelic image flashing in and out and you will get the idea. That’s not to say the game isn’t great as it is. I’m just giving my opinion as to what I feel would make the game better.
Overall I really have been enjoying my time with Star Daze HD and think it’s a steal at it’s current price of $1.99 for an iPad game. Don’t let the screen shots or price fool you into thinking the game is a budget title because its defiantly not. Star Daze HD while simplistic offers surprising depth, playability, and features that kids from 3 to 99 can easily understand and enjoy. It also happens to compliment the iPad’s format to perfection and should be an instant iPad classic that should be on everyone’s short list of must have titles.