Operation Starcrusher – What We Think:
Operation Starcrusher is a true throwback to classic side-scrolling space shooters built by a single developer – Brebenel Alin out of Romania – over the course of 3 years, in Game Maker Studio.
Placing you in the role of a pilot sent out to take revenge for an attack on Earth’s first interstellar exploration ship, the game has you blasting away countless foes as you battle your way through more than 40 levels spread across seven chapters.
In Space, No One Can Hear Their AI Companion
A somewhat drawn-out cut scene introduces the narrative of the game. Dispatched on a mission of revenge, you must hunt down the aliens that attacked Earth and defeat them. The plot is fairly thin but it serves its purpose adequately: to provide motivation for your ongoing crusade through the stars.
As you enter new sectors, your AI companion provides information on new areas and enemies. While this helps to give the game some character, the voice for the AI can become slightly grating.
Operation Starcrusher excels in its well designed and fast-paced gameplay. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a bullet-hell game as it isn’t quite cruel enough to qualify. It is, however, challenging and fun.
A myriad weapons is provided to help you overcome the many foes that you’ll face and each weapon is enjoyable to use. Ranging from a powerful single-target laser beam, to a drone that guns down enemies for you, Operation Starcrusher provides plenty of toys to play with.
A power-up system adds to the fun with each of the five main weapon types having its own corresponding pickup that charges it up to the next level. Weapons can go through several stages of effectiveness, growing more powerful and firing out more projectiles with each level. Dying will reduce the oomph of your weapons, however, so you need to be careful once you’ve collected a few power-ups.
Bosses are strewn throughout the game and as you move through its seven chapters you’ll encounter some challenging foes. Some enemies pop up a little too often, but generally there is a wide selection of targets to blow away.
Let’s Do the Time Warp Again
Once you’ve overcome the main campaign there is still plenty of content on offer; an award system provides incentive to go back for more, and a challenge mode has some interesting game types, ranging from a block-breaking mini-game to accuracy tests. An encyclopedia, which fills up as you move through the game, also offers some extra content in the form of data on enemies, weapons and more.
Operation Starcrusher is somewhat less honed when it comes to aesthetics. While the graphics are undeniably impressive for its genre; there is a lot going on visually, and the sometimes excessively bright backgrounds can get in the way of the enjoyable gameplay. The HUD is also cluttered, providing a daunting amount of information for new players. That said, it doesn’t take too long to get to grips with the display thanks to a guide in the encyclopedia.
The music of Operation Starcrusher is adequately pulse-pounding and professionally arranged, serving to provide the necessary ambiance for the game. It is credited to Kevin MacLeod by virtue of his Royalty-free licenses that have led to him being credited for thousands of projects. An interesting resource for other devs to explore.
Operation Starcrusher is a superb space shooter with some great gameplay and a sizable amount of content (more than enough to warrant the generous pricing of $5). While its visuals can be a distracting at times, the title makes up for this drawback with an impressive selection of weapons, well-balanced gameplay and classic space shooting fun.
Watch the trailer for Operation Starcrusher: