Review: Gyrostarr

My first run through Gyrostarr was a failure.  I hadn’t read any of the instructions, just hopped in and started to play. “This is trippy,” I thought as a I blasted away at ships and avoided all the obstacles.  Finally, I reached the end of the level and BLAM … crashed into the final gate.  Turns out you need to collect enough energy to make it through, energy I had advoided thinking it would destroy my ship.  Second time through, the concept of the game made sense to me and I was in for a blast.

The game plays like a cross between a traditional SHMUP, a tube shooter, and Tempest.  (No surprise on the Tempest feel, since they helped develop a few versions of that arcade classic for various consoles.)  The standard control scheme is to hold the Wii Remote horizontally using the D-pad to move your ship left and right, up or down fires a grappling hook, the 2 button is your standard weapon, while the 1 button launches bombs.  Control isn’t limited to the Wii Remote.  You can use the Nunchuk, Classic Controller, or even use the tilt sensor in the Wii Remote to steer.  You can even play with two people just using one Wii Remote and one Nunchuk.  This allows you to play up to four players using just two WIi Remotes with Nunchuks.  My favorite control scheme was Wii Remote on its own.

As you fight off the bad guys ahead of you, energy clouds come floating along the track.  Collecting these helps to ensure you won’t meet an immediate demise at the end of each course.  Unfortunately, you can’t just shoot wildly at your opponents since hitting the energy clouds will push them away from you eventually making them impossible to pick up.  Your grappling hook can be used to zip out and collect energy or power-ups, such as fast shots or a triple-shot. After completing each level, you move on to a bonus round that consists of collecting energy while flying through boost gates.  By the end of the level, you’re moving so fast over hills and turns that you might even get motion sickness.

Multiplayer matches are cooperative, so no matter how good or bad your friends are, everyone makes it through the final gate if you have enough energy stored up.  I would’ve liked this to be optional; stealing energy from in front of a rival and watching them crash into the final gate as you sail through would be hilarious.

High Voltage Software has been around for 15 years, developing games such as the Hunter: The Reckoning series and various movie, TV, and sports tie-ins.  It wasn’t until this year that their trailer for The Conduit for Wii came along that they stepped out from behind the various publishers and started to generate some media buzz.  Gyrostarr is the second WiiWare title they have published (after V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack) and it has deservedly garnered a lot of attention, too.

For only 700 Wii Points, this game is a must buy!  Four out of four stars.