Just. One. More. Game.

HIGH The Garbage Collector.

LOW After hours of gameplay, still losing to boss number one.

WTF The Garbage Collector.


 

Steredenn: Binary Stars is an expanded version of the 2015 shmup Steredenn, which is now called Steredenn: Classic.

While I never played the original, it seems like Binary Stars adds plenty of new features to appeal to those who’ve already spent time with the previous iteration — things like more ships to select, additional weapons, a boss rush and local co-op.

Visually, Steredenn: Binary Stars offers beautiful, pixel-art space scenes filled with far-off planets, distant stars, and colorful nebula. In addition to great art design, Binary Stars has an intense soundtrack. The instrumentals are loud and fast, and exactly what one might expect to find on the playlist of a lone pilot engaged in interstellar dogfights.

Thankfully, not only does Binary Stars tantalize the senses, it’s also blast to play. It can be tough as nails at times, but I often intended to put in twenty minutes, only to find that the sessions would somehow turn into two hours. Even though my shmup skills are subpar, at no point did I feel like giving up.

Binary Stars is not only a shmup, it’s also takes cues from roguelikes like randomly generated levels and permadeath. I like the implementations overall, but I’d still enjoy having an option to continue from where I died even if some penalties were attached to it, like keeping new ships locked, or keeping my scores off the leaderboards. Just this one small change would allow more players (like me!) to experience the entire game without completely losing the roguelike aspects that it’s designed around.

I may never finish it, but even so, Steredenn: Binary Stars is worth playing, and I will happily play it over and over again. Rating: 8.5 out of 10


 

Disclosures: This game is developed by Pixelnest and published by Plug In Digital. It is currently available on Nintendo Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There is local co-op, but zero hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Fantasy Violence. This is standard shmup gameplay – players pilot a spacecraft that shoots other ships causing them to explode. Pretty safe!

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The minimal dialogue that is in the game was delivered completely via text. Most of my gameplay was with the sound off. I did not notice any sound cues that would have helped players. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Brian Theisen

Brian Theisen

For his tenth birthday, Brian was given the option of receiving a GameBoy or a Game Gear. He chose the GameBoy. No longer were videogames confined to the home PC, he could now squeeze in a quick game on the trip to the store or right before bed. Over twenty-five years later and with two young kids, Brian still needs to squeeze in time for videogames, but now gets to do so on slightly better hardware.


When he does find time to play, Brian’s preferred games of choice are platformers, beat-‘em-ups, or a good adventure game.He still enjoys the retro gaming scene, could talk about the Nintendo 64 more than he might like to admit, and misses playing in actual arcades. Brian also gets to pass on his love of gaming, as his oldest son is just now starting to join the fun.

As for that GameBoy - it’s sitting in Brian’s nightstand, waiting patiently for four AA batteries.
Brian Theisen

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