Shooting Stars is a vertical shmup set in a universe where aliens are impersonating all of our celebrities. Our only hope to destroy these impersonators is some dude riding a hoverboard and holding a cat for whatever reason. These celebrities range from Youtubers such as Jon Tron to artists like Justin Bieber who will appear once you defeat a wave of minions. Before trying to murder you they will spout a bit of dialogue that feature some of the least funny humor I’ve come across in these type of parody games. It does not help that you meet Chuck Norris every 5 waves who repeats the same, exact thing each time you meet.
Your character is very simple to control with the only buttons being to attack and use an item. You start off with a single slow moving projectile but will acquire more buffs as you collect random food along the way. There is a ton of food to discover, each with unique effects such as ricocheting projectiles or shooting lightning that really help keep the game interesting each playthrough. Items are a bit rarer to come across and are activatable instead of passive attacks that can usually change the tide of a battle. Most items recharge in seconds so it is something you’ll be using frequently. Not all of them will be as useful as each other so discovering which to avoid will help out immensely.
Unlike many other shmups you can take quite a few hits before dying. You start off with three hearts and each hit takes away half a heart so you will have plenty of room to make mistakes. There is also armor and heart drops on occasion to keep you going. Items, food and drop rates all share the same problem. They are completely random so each playthrough will be different. Sounds fine and dandy but does get irradiating when bosses and enemies take forever to take down due to bad drops. Every foe in this game has a single attack pattern so it is pretty easy to avoid most of their attacks and does make the fights feel a tad dull. It’s especially problematic when they keep firing to the same preset location without moving, making you get right in their line of fire to destroy them.
The main reason you’re likely to get hit is because of your own flashy attacks hiding enemy projectiles and the constant screen shaking that occurs whenever an enemy is destroyed. You do get used to it but it becomes incredibly annoying when you get a buff that has you firing rockets, making it feel like you are trying to game in the middle of an earthquake. Not gamebreaking but there really should be an option to turn off that shaking effect. Random dialogue and the text that alerts you that you achieved a large combo, can also hide attacks. It’s just too flashy for its own good at times and harms the gameplay. That problem combined with tons of RNG leads to a lot of moments when you feel slightly cheated.
Your main motivation to keep playing is the absolute ton of bosses to see and while flawed, the game controls well & is still fun to play. Each wave leads to a new boss so you will constantly be discovering celebrities that you may or may not know. When you have a particularly good run it is a ton of fun to mow down enemy after enemy with ridiculous amounts of firepower. The game gets harder after every five waves via increasing the enemies’ health and rate of fire. It does increase the challenge but it doesn’t do much in the way to curve the sense of repetition that eventually emerges. Environments do not help as they are extremely basic and uninteresting.
At the end of the day, the amount of enjoyment you will get from Shooting Stars comes down to how much you like its substance matter of featuring a ton of famous people. It is amusing to fight Greg Miller, boogie2988 and Katy Perry within a few minutes of each other though that “wow” factor only works once. With each only having one attack pattern it is definitely a case of quantity over quality. Without the star power it is just a painfully average game with decent ideas that it fails to capture. If you are not into memes this is nothing special but if you are then this is a better title than you may expect, however short lived it is.