Review by Longhorns747
"A fast paced, arcade shooter brings back good memories."
Remember the good ole days of the arcade where you could just plop a quarter into a machine and play to your hearts content? Do names like Tempest, Pong, Centipede, and Space invaders bring up old memories? Ever played F-Zero? If you answered yes to any of these questions then Gyrostarr is for you. Gyrostarr is a mixture of the incredible speed of F-Zero, and the gameplay elements of Tempest. It seems simple on the surface, but there can be depth if you look for it. It's a hardcore arcade shooter at its core, but with excellent graphics, and a supreme multiplayer mode that puts it over the Above Average level and into the Good Game level. And of course, the fact that you are only paying $7 makes this ALMOST a must-buy.
First of all, let's take care of presentation. The menus are very simplistic, nothing huge here. When you start up the game you are told to Press 2 to play!!! exclamation points and all. You have a simple High Score list with some pretty impressive scores for you to try to beat. While all of this is so simple, once you get into the actual game you realize that this game's graphics are some of the best on the Wii, retail or WiiWare. All of the effects in the game are created dynamically, allowing the game to be in such a small package, with such high quality graphics. The tracks themselves look good, using a slight transparent effect along with bright colors and gradients that make each one look great. The enemies are pretty generic and don't look too much different from each other. The downside, or plus-side when talking about the enemies, is that you really won't be having too much time to look at all of the nice looking effects considering the speeds you will be going at. However, the one key flaw in Gyrostarr's graphics is the fact that it only runs at 30fps. It's a solid 30fps in that it doesn't slip at all, but it's fairly choppy, nothing to be too worried about, but when you are traveling at high speeds and going around sharp corners you might notice a bit of choppiness. Backgrounds in the game are a simple scrolling picture, but you won't notice it at all. Sound is good; the tracks in the game sound really good and match the mood of the game well. Unfortunately, there aren't too many tracks, and you will notice the same ones playing over and over again. Overall, the presentation is good, simple, but good nonetheless. The graphics are top notch, but enemies are generic, and gameplay can be choppy sometimes.
Now to the real meat of the game, the gameplay. As I mentioned before, this game plays a lot like Tempest with the speed of F-Zero. You hurtle down tracks at very high speed shooting enemies with your blasters, collecting power-ups, and getting enough energy to make it through to the next level. You can get energy by collecting it on the tracks, but you can also use your grappling hook to get energy and power-ups on the track in front of you. If you do not get enough energy by the time you reach the end of the track, you fail and must retry the track. You can be hit by enemies three times before your ship explodes. When this happens, you lose some of your energy and keep going with a new ship. You also have a limited supply of bombs that, when used, destroy all of the enemies on the screen. By killing enemies, you gain a multiplier which increases the amount of points and energy you get when you pick one up. All of this is done at speeds which can rival F-Zero at higher levels. Not to mention Bonus Levels which you cannot shoot, use bombs, or use your grappling hook. However there are no enemies and the only thing you can do is pick up energy for extra points. Sounds easy right? Well not when you're moving at a speed that surpasses most racing games out there. Yea, it's that fast. At the end of each level you either go to the bonus level for that track, or just move onto the next track if you don't have enough points. The one big question I have about the game is the saving. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. For example, when I first started the game, you can go up to level 5. I got through 12 levels and decided to call it quits for a bit. I came back (even though it said it saved) and I could only play up to the 5th level again. I wasn't too happy about this obviously, and it's something that really is annoying. However it seems to work after the first play, so keep that in mind when you start it up for the first time. As for controls, Gyrostarr gives you a plethora of options, more than that of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Mario Kart Wii. You can use the Wii remote on its side with or without motion controls. With the motion controls you tilt the Wii remote side to side to make your ship move left or right. It works decently, the sensitivity is a bit off, but I suppose you could get used to it if you were really dedicated. Overall, you'll definitely want to use the default Wii remote on its side, with the D-Pad being used for the movement. But there's more! You can use the Classic Controller, and even the Nunchuck by itself. Also, when doing multiplayer, if you have a Nunchuck or Classic Controller plugged into one Wii remote, you can have one person use just the Wii remote, and the other use either the Classic Controller or Nunchuck by itself that is plugged into the Wii remote. Pretty nifty huh? Now everyone should be able to do multiplayer, which is really good news considering Gyrostarr's excellent multiplayer mode.
The replay value of Gyrostarr is pretty decent, but the multiplayer aspect of the game makes it beyond any other shooter on WiiWare. Gyrostarr's multiplayer is both cooperative and competitive. Obviously, you are competing for the most points, but all of the players are going to need to get the energy on the track in order to complete the level together, it's all or nothing here. And you can also team up with another player for more devastating attacks by lining up your ship with another ship in front of you. When this happens you shoot a charged shot which is more powerful than the normal shot. Your ships are staggered in position, one in front of the other, but when you get a power-up or some energy you move to the back of your group. If you're in the back you can use your grappling hook to grab power-ups in front of the group. Multiplayer is fast, frantic action that you will definitely want to check out, it's really fun.
Gyrostarr gets my vote for favorite WiiWare game. It's the perfect mix of fast paced shooting action, and arcade magic. It really feels like it belongs in an arcade, but just because it isn't doesn't mean it's not fun. In fact, the only thing holding this back from a higher score, is the fact that saving is problematic, and it's not a terribly smooth game. The only other big gripe I have with Gyrostarr is that it can be repetitive; doing the same thing over and over will get boring after awhile. Other than that, your gonna have a lot of fun playing Gyrostarr either alone or with friends, it's not a game to be missed.
Simple menus, are easy to navigate, but the High Scores are a bit lacking as it only does total scores.
Definitely a great achievement for WiiWare, it looks better than most games on retail right now for the Wii. However, it is pretty choppy which leaves it from being really, really impressive.
Good tunes, but there aren't too many and they get repetitive after the first few times listening to them.
Very cool concept executed wonderfully. If only saving worked every time and it wasn't so repetitive.
Singleplayer will last you awhile, but the multiplayer will make you keep coming back for more.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/03/08
Game Release: Gyrostarr (US, 06/23/08)
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