Check out how the time trial shmup looks in its WiiWare debut with our gameplay videos.
Star Soldier R was the first game I jumped on when the WiiWare service went live on my Japanese Wii. Not having played any of the Star Soldier games on Virtual Console, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with this new WiiWare version.
Star Soldier R is not a full-blown shmup, in terms of length. There are only two levels to play. The main game includes two-minute and five-minute time attack modes. The aim of the game is to score as many points possible in the time given to you. Those scores are posted to a scoreboard with both regional and worldwide charts.
This means that you're spending those Wii Points on something you'll need to play over and over again to improve your own score and placement on the leaderboards. If you'd rather play a traditional shoot-'em-up, there are plenty available for you to choose from on Virtual Console. Chances are, though, if you like shooters in the first place, you're probably going to like this game. I'm certainly not a hardcore fan of the genre, but I know a good game when I see one. I'm definitely seeing one here.
Star Soldier R's five minute mode. This is pretty much the whole game right here, folks. Can you beat this score?
In terms of looks, you can't help but get a little giddy when you see your ship start off as but a twinkle in the stars, going on to zooming right past you in all its fully-rendered glory. Just as you begin to admire the ship though, it floats down into the traditional top-down perspective and the game seamlessly starts right away. Pretty cool!
The Star Soldier gameplay comes through brilliantly on the Wii. You can collect red and blue power-up canisters to increase your firepower. The red canisters give you an additional laser, which can stack up to five more times to give you firepower in all directions. Blue canisters add option ships, which can rotate around you defensively or be called out to provide additional firepower. If you take a hit while your option ships are in offensive mode, you won't die right away but you'll lose a ship and a firepower tier.
Because the aim of the game is to score points quickly, you need go all-out, balls-to-the-wall crazy to blow up as many enemies and objects as possible. Because you're doing this against the clock, there's an extra bit of pressure added to the traditional shmup that you don't normally find in other games of the genre. Since the game is geared more for offense (though you still need to avoid things here and there), you don't need to worry so much about dying. You have unlimited lives, but getting destroyed will make you lose all your power-ups and effectively ruin your chances at a high score.
Star Soldier R's menu and a couple of tries at Fast Shot mode. How fast can you shoot?
Star Soldier R supports all Wii controller configurations. It seems like there is an advantage to using one over the other, actually. While the Wii Remote only option works great, attaching a Nunchuck will give you an extra strafe-boost function to help avoid things in a hurry. Moving with the analog stick feels odd, but that extra move might come in handy if you're trying to score maximum points.
The other game mode, as you can see in the above video, is quite short. Fast Shot mode, which lasts 10 seconds, is simply a test of how quickly you can tap the shoot button on the controller. You're given a shot-per-second rate which you can also compare against everyone in the world. It's on the leaderboards, too.
Star Soldier R is a game meant for shoot-'em-up fans that have the drive to improve their scores each time. Personally, I think this game is worth the 800 (Japanese) Wii Points price, though I do wish there is a full game here to sink my teeth into. Still, I like it quite a bit. We'll see how long I stay at it, though.