LifeisXbox’s Star Hunter DX Review | Star Hunter DX looks to be a “shoot ’em up” style game from the good old days. The days where you would come home from school, throw your bag on the floor and turn on your console for some good old-fashioned shooting action. Created by 1CC Games and published by Chorus Worldwide, Star Hunter DX is based on old Sega Genesis shooters from the 90’s capitalising on the nostalgia factor and bringing out the inner child in anyone blessed enough to grow up from that period. Similar to games like Truxton and Biohazard Battle, I had a great feeling going into Star Hunter DX that this would be a game worthy of purchasing. The premise follows Luna Starr; a former space pirate captain turned rogue bounty hunter, now out for blood against her old crew. Along with Luna, there are two other playable characters. Edgar, a Star-Lord wannabe, and CAT-99, Luna’s homing missile-equipped robot maintenance cat.
ℹ️ | We played Star Hunter for your playtime One Hour on Xbox Series S. This game is also available on Xbox One S/X, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Microsoft Windows.
What we liked!
- Gorgeous Graphics & Mechanics | The biggest stand out about Star Hunter DX for me is the graphics. The neon colours, the vibrancy, and supersaturated projectiles make this game a psychedelic, heart-pounding thrill ride through the stages. The sprites are all digitally drawn and although simplistic, they do a good job and distracting you from their design initially because you are too preoccupied dodging beams of pink lights to worry about it. They serve their purpose well and ultimately fit in with the style the team has been going for which is essentially a love letter to the ever-popular space opera genre. What makes Star Hunter DX unique is the inventive way it approaches gameplay. Shoot-em-ups can be brutal in difficulty. While this game is no exception, the mechanics provide offensive and defensive skills that can get you out of the most sticky bullet-hell situations such as a bullet time effect earning bombs that destroy projectiles heading your way.
- The Cutscenes | Retro is coming back in a big way. So much so that the game even has full cutscenes in the digital sprite style. It’s rare to see a game of this calibre get the fine detail treatment. I would have been just as impressed with static images with speech bubbles for cutscenes, but here they used some method of rotoscoping to get the images looking clean and crisp when moving and not like they have been made on a PC. Essentially what they have done here is drawn over live footage frame by frame to give it that realistic look and it works well.
- The Music | The music in Star Hunter DX is generally brilliant. The high tempo 80’s synth wave tracks match the tone and style of the game well. The tracks are largely composed of the same style as Scandroid, FM-84, and Mega Drive. They have a very 80’s feel to them with a hint of Disco thrown in for good measure. It grabbed my attention and elevated my play listening to some cool music whilst playing a game in this genre. The two just go hand in hand so well.
- Playable Characters | The Three playable characters mentioned above not only add additional levels of play to the game but also acts as the game’s difficulty. CAT-99 is essentially easy mode as the bullets he uses are all homing bullets and hit the enemies with 100% accuracy leaving you to concentrate on dodging bullets. Luna Starr is aimed at more of the intermediate players who want the flexibility of aiming at what they want to aim at whilst having the freedom and challenge of navigating the bullet-hell before you and Edgar is hard mode, with weaker, less radial bombs and a weaker special of rockets that can miss if you are not careful. All in all, it adds a lot of variety here for the player depending on your skill level.
- Options | If you have followed my reviews here you would have noticed I have a disdain for the lack of options in games. Thankfully Star Hunter DX offers a slew of options to enhance your play such as increasing and decreasing scan lines for added nostalgia, volume controls, gameplay modifiers, additional continues, practice mode, soundtracks to listen to, and level selection in case you don’t want to play through story mode. It’s a great addition to see this added to any game.
- Too Short | The game is short. 6 stages separate you from the end of the game with only replaying the main story or level select with different characters. Whilst it’s not the end of the world, it would have been nice to see some bonus levels or challenges thrown in for added replay value.
- Local only leaderboards | Those who do master Star Hunter DX will be rewarded with the disappointment of learning that the leaderboards are local only; if they were online, players would have great fun trying to beat the mysterious online players who knocked them off of the leaderboard by replaying, thus increasing playtime.
What we disliked
- No Co-op | The biggest disappointment for me was the lack of co-op either online or couch-based co-op. Games like this have traditionally always had some implementation of a co-op. I remember back in the day plugging in my second sega controller and playing the likes of Truxton or Grind Stormer and being able to play with a friend. It would have allowed for a more dynamic gameplay and craziness on-screen that you commonly find in these sorts of games.
- Accessability | I would have loved to have seen some colour options in the game as people who have a weakness in blue, red, or green will suffer here. Simple coding for Tritanope, Deutranope, and Protonope would mean that people with weaknesses to these colours which are heavily featured in the game would stand a chance and be able to play the game quite comfortably. Accessibility features in games these days are limited but it would be great if more indie studios stepped up and supported this and started leading the industry forward.
How long to beat the story | 1 Hour
How long to achieve 1000G | 4 Hours
Similar with | Truxton, Hellfire and Twin Cobra. The stylised sprite shoot ’em up genre with coolourful sprites, similar soundtracks and mechanics make them largely the same.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.