Twin stick shooters have been around for quite some time and I have always enjoyed them. When I was asked to review Dead Star, I honestly didn't know anything about the game but I thought, "hey I enjoy these, it should be good". Then when I fired up the game, I learned exactly what this game was. Yes it is a twin stick shooter, but it's so much more than that. I was incredibly surprised and delighted to find out that this game is also a competitive online shooter as well with battles of up to 20 people, and they are incredibly fun.
Dead Star currently has two game modes. The main game mode, Conquest, has two different variations including a 5v5 battle featuring small to medium sized battlefields, and 10v10 battles featuring medium to large sized battlefields. When you first start a game, you will need to select which of the three ships available you would like to use. Marksman, is the smallest of the three and can move the fastest. It features rapid fire option and rockets, which you receive as an upgrade as you play. Bulldog, the medium sized ship is balanced between firepower, speed and health. This ship can fire spread shots and also comes with a sniper cannon and time bombs. The final ship, Vindicator, is a huge ship which has a heavy machine gun, a beam cannon and missile turrets. It has high health but moves incredibly slow. There are other ships in the game based on what faction you decide to play as, but for most of my time, I played as Valant Frigate. Of course you use the left stick to move your ship and the right stick to fire and if you haven't played too many of these games, it may take some getting used to.
Conquest games play out like they do in other shooter games, but this one also has some MOBA elements to it as well. It still features the racing to capture objectives to have more points than your opponents at the end of the match, but these capture points called "sectors" are also what allows you to be able to push your teammates towards the enemy base. Upgrading each of these points is extremely important as well as they provide upgrades that will help fend off enemy attacks. Throughout the match you will find what the game calls "Ore" and this is the material that is used to upgrade your bases. This adds another element to the match because you not only need to be watching out for enemies, but also you need to gather as much ore as you can because upgrading your bases is essential to victory. Matches are a constant tug of war back and forth between bases being taken and bases being lost. If the base that is connected to your home base is taken, then your home base is open for attack. As I mentioned before, the other conquest element of taking sectors to gain points is also there. As the match goes on, the more bases that your team or the enemy team has allows them to earn points which are used to activate the Guardian Defense Canon. Capturing sectors and upgrading them will earn you points to gain control of the GDC. Capturing the home base or getting enough points to activate the GDC will end the match. Each match I played took about 15 minutes from start to finish and they were pretty great as well. It's one thing when you are fighting against the AI in normal twin stick games but when it's other players, it can become quite a challenge. I felt like I earned every kill that I got in this game as fire fights can get pretty intense at times and requires some careful planning as well. Running into an enemy sector by yourself is suicide and you will be melted in seconds. Running in teammates can lead to intense fire fights as the battle to kill enemies and the battle to destroy the enemy base defenses commences. Killing an enemy by launching a rocket and detonating it at an enemy player trying to make their escape is such a such a rewarding feeling.
The other game mode is Escape Run. In escape run, you gather together a squad of players and try to escort a massive Capital Ship to safety and of course, earn some cool rewards. The twist of this game mode is that by escaping, you need to enter live conquest matches being played by others. This brings an extra element into the conquest game as the two sides fighting against each other now have a decision to make. They can each keep fighting to try and win the match, or they can attempt to attack and destroy the ship making the escape run. If you and your squad are making the escape run, you need to defend your ship long enough for it to escape that game and hop into another. The incentive for those in conquest matches to destroy the escaping ship is because of course they earn rewards themselves for doing damage to the ship or by destroying it. I absolutely love the idea of this and would love to see something similar show up in other games in the future.
There is also tons to unlock in the game as well. As you level up, you unlock various new paint jobs that you can apply to your ships. You can also unlock characters as well but these characters are only seen in screens when someone kills you and when viewing the other characters on the match up screen. You also earn various rare rewards by completing conquest matches as well such as rare skins and Escape Run contracts. Dead Star is a very cool take on the twin stick shooter genre and a good competitive online game as well. Hopefully the game gets updated in the future with more game modes and maps as well to keep the party going for quite some time.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me