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Last year, Super Stardust HD sent shockwaves through the PlayStation Network with its fast-paced space shooting action. Now Sony does the same for PSP with Super Stardust Portable. Once again, you fly over five planets shooting aliens and asteroids. Despite the lack of a second analog stick, the intuitive controls (where you direct your fire using the face buttons while moving with the analog stick) make scoring millions of points easier than expected. Although it would've been nice to have more modes besides Arcade, Planets and the boost-happy Impact (there's no sign of Survival or Endless), this gorgeous shoot-em-up is worth its $10 price tag.
However, the game's as cheap as chips and at less than a tenner you can't go wrong. Despite the criticisms levelled at the game in this review, it doesn't stop it being excellent value for money and something every PSP owner must experience: it's fun, visual and audibly impressive and is perfect for a quick blast to and from the shops on the bus. Although it isn't perfect, it's more down to the hardware than it is the software, so I'll let it off just this once.
For super fans of Super Stardust HD for the PS3, this title is going to be a little bit of a let down. There aren’t as many modes and the control difference is noticeable and a slight hindrance to enjoyment. However, if you haven’t been spoiled by the HD version, or want a great intro into this outstanding franchise, Super Stardust Portable is worth the download. I love this franchise, Housemarque has a great product, but Portable just isn’t the best representation of the game that’s available on the market.
I can't end this review without mentioning one final qualm I have with the package: the lack of modes. Survival, Endless and Bomber aren't included in Super Stardust Portable, even though they're currently listed on the game's PlayStation Store page. They're going to be downloadable content in the future. Extreme weak sauce. If you're a hardcore Super Stardust HD player, Super Stardust Portable will feel totally alien to you. If you're trying this out for the first time, things won't be as tough but the game is still very clearly designed around different hardware -- it just wasn't made for the PSP. If you can get by these restrictions, you'll enjoy the download, but veterans beware.