The arrival of a twin-stick shooter is perhaps not the most exciting thing to happen on Steam, of late. However, with it unique visual take on the genre, Pulstar may draw the attention of a certain demographic, namely those that love titles such as Flow and Flower. Looks can be deceiving, though, as this is every bit the classic twin-stick, bullet hell shooter that will satisfy those gamers looking for a seriously intense experience.
The narrative, as much as it is, centres around a dying star, and sees you roaming through a vary brightly coloured space, twin-sticking for all your worth to protect this star. There’s little about the aesthetic that truly stands out, but it’s nonetheless enjoyable to watch and rampant with colourful enemies, power-ups and bullets. If you could level a criticism at Pulstar’s core gameplay, it would be that it can be somewhat difficult to identify what’s what in the heat of battle. However, this is not a massive problem, and one that’s pretty hard to avoid in the genre.
If there’s one word to describe Pulstar, it’s ‘basic’. Every element of the game is, while solid, very much on the elemental side. However, probably thanks to it being a very paired-down game, it’s absolutely the kind of game you can get lost in, and find yourself sitting in a dark room at 3 in the morning with. That’s a far greater accolade than I could ever give it.
That said, there are a few small irritations that probably shouldn’t exist, such as very few graphical options, and the story appearing every time you start up the game, but that’s about it. There’s no absence of love here, as it’s a well-realised concept. I just suspect that many will have issue with its simplicity, regardless of how instense the action gets.
For example, the power-ups remain practically the same throughout the game, or at least as far as I have managed to get. First your shot splits, then collecting more power ups merely sees your shots get faster. The same could be said of the enemies, who really only come in the two or three variants. I would have liked to have seen more options, simply put. A few more bells and whistles would have gone far here.
I suppose one shouldn’t berate a game for being too straightforward. However, it’s clear that those brought up on, say, Geometry Wars may simply find Pulstar a little too simple. That said, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a little time-waster, or someone after an easy entry into the twin-stick genre. For my part, I enjoyed Pulstar, but were I not reviewing it, wouldn’t have spent much more than half an hour with it. Much of me thinks this would have made a great game for the mobile market, but for desktops, it’s probably a little lightweight for most.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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