PS Plus is a service that began in 2010 and has been one of the best values around because you get cloud game storage and a handful of free games every month for a low yearly fee. The free ones are typically indie games and they are usually pretty good. Even if they aren’t they didn’t cost much. One of April’s free games for the month is an interesting multiplayer space shooting game called “Dead Star.”
Back before first-person shooting games like “Call of Duty” were a thing, the term shooter was mostly referring to scrolling space bullet hell shooter games like “Gradius” and games like “Smash TV.” The goals of these games were simple, just shoot everything you see. Some of the old school shooter games were fun because they were arcade-like and frantic but if you wanted to maximize your entertainment you would play locally with a friend.
“Dead Star” controls share the simplicity of the old games but with newer elements like upgraded graphics and the ability to have a 10 vs 10 multiplayer match online. For the most part, the twin stick style controls work well, but early on in the game your ship is very weak and you don’t have much range when firing which can be difficult. It’s OK that the range isn’t good; your accuracy and damage is better at close range even though it is trickier. When you use your weapons, the power drains so you can’t just fire a bunch of shots without thinking because it will lead to a lot of deaths.
Not all of the weapons are a total hassle some are fun. I like the quick firing lasers and missiles. Later on in the game you can get upgraded ships and weapons which change the way you play. The different ships maneuver differently and some of the weapons do fire slower but they pack more of a punch. The ship combinations aren’t the only things that change how you play. Each of the new battlefields offer a new challenge. There are parts of the planet you can explore to find ore. Ore is used as money to buy new weapons and upgrade your ship.
“Dead Star” has several interesting game modes. If you don’t want to do the massive online multiplayer matches you can play single player against A.I bots or try the conquest mode. In conquest mode your team will battle against another team to take control of some battle stations, the first team to acquire each of the battle stations wins. After a while of playing Conquest mode you will unlock a new game mode called “Escape Run,” where you and your team must escape an area from a dying star about to collapse. Escape Run is fun and frantic, your team has to secure a capital ship and reach a jump zone in order to win before the world collapses. Completing the escape run mode allows you to unlock gear you wouldn’t get from the normal Conquest mode.
I enjoyed my time with “Dead Star.” It’s a nice throw back to an old style space shooter. It was entertaining unlocking new ships and weapons and trying the conquest and escape run game modes. If you are a PS Plus member you should check out this game especially if you can get it for free.
Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]
System: PS4, PC
Rating: E for Everyone: Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
Publisher: Armature Studio