Super Star Path is an interesting arcade-like space shooter with a twist; Enemies you kill chain together with nearby same-colored enemies, and other enemies at the extremities of these chains get turned into indestructible crystallized versions of themselves. By defeating certain enemies on each level, you get power-ups and collectible to upgrade your ships and you constantly get gems to purchase new ones. At the end of each stage there are bosses that mix up the gameplay a bit by having you rapid-fire them down before they deplete your health. I loved Super Star Path enough to complete the game but I didn't think it was perfect.

You start by selecting a level from a star map; Each level has their own hazards like electrified jellyfishes or flame-spitting turrets, but the base array of generic aliens that you encounter is the same. While level-specific dangers can hurt you, the mass of foes on your screen does not deal damage to your ship; The only way they can defeat you is if you get into a corner - surrounded by indestructible crystallized enemies, for instance - and get crushed by the moving screen. Since this can happen pretty quickly, I kinda wish that the game would only make you take a point or damage and get through these enemies when that happens. This means that you have to be careful shooting around even when you're trying to defeat special enemies or to destroy blocks, since one stray shot can turn a straightforward passage into death, and having to restart the level.

In each level, you can get three upgrade tokens - power, maneuverability and health. Besides health, I felt like the upgrades did nothing. I didn't feel like I was moving faster or defeating enemies quicker. Each ship has a maximum in each stat and when you spend these upgrades on one ship or another, they're used forever. Each ship also has a special ability, and they're mostly disappointing. You unlock new ships by spending gems - which went quickly for me because I've used the ship that gets double gems quite a lot - and they all do one thing. It's mainly being immune to one very specific type of hazard - fire, meteorites, small bullets, etc. - and I wish that more powerful ships had multiple effects, or better ones. As it is, only one or two of them felt fun to use.

When you complete the puzzle part of the stage, you get to a boss. Bosses are bullet hell-ish and can tear through your ship pretty quickly, especially if you've lost health during the puzzle bit. I really wish that you would restart at the boss when you died during the fight, as it is, you need to redo the whole thing and it breaks the mood of fighting a tough enemy. Since all ships have similar attacks - except one that shoots two bouncy bullets instead of a straight one - you select your ship mainly based on the level. There are also special crystals to collect in each stage, and while I love that even if you die, everything you've gathered stays collected; they do nothing, which is boring. I also wish you could use gems to buy other kinds of upgrades for your ships, or maybe use them to revive at the boss, they become useless once you have everything.

I had a good time with Super Star Path and I've completed the game after having unlocked all ships and power-ups. I think there are cool core ideas in there, but they should've been shuffled around differently. Having more levels or separating boss and puzzle stages, better abilities on ships and more meaningful power-ups would've went a long way, but it's still a neat thing!

AuthorJérémie Tessier