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Game Review: StarDrone Extreme

For: Playstation Vita (via Playstation Network)

From: Beatshapers/Orb Games

ESRB Rating: Everyone (mild fantasy violence)

Price: $4

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To really understand "StarDrone Extreme" is to see it in action rather than read about it on paper, because while it combines things we've all seen before (a touch of pinball, a touch of "Breakout" and a touch of "Spider-Man"-style web slinging physics), putting into words how it all comes together doesn't do justice to the unwieldy but very satisfying way these elements collide.

Though other objectives factor in, the fundamental goal in "Extreme" is to manage those physics in a way that gets your ship around each of the 60 levels and clears the area of collectible pieces (or, later on, enemies) in as little time as possible. The catch is that you don't control the ship directly, but instead use objects in the level to sling and bounce it around indirectly. Those levels are loaded with enough obstacles (some dangerous, some not) to make getting around, much less quickly, easier said than done. For the impatient, it may be too unwieldy to even enjoy. But for those who love obsessively replaying levels in hopes of shaving a second off their time and achieving leaderboard supremacy, this is pretty much bliss.

The truly bold will appreciate the clever ability to adjust "Extreme's" speed on a 10-point scale, which makes ever faster times possible for those steady enough to handle the spike in recklessness. Save for a few Vita-specific levels, most of "Extreme" is ported from last year's PS3 version of "StarDrone." The good news there is that the PS3 and Vita share a cross-compatible leaderboard. The bad news? "Extreme" inexplicably excludes "StarDrone's" button controls in favor of touch-only options. They work great - arguably better than the buttons, even - but why deny players a choice they previously had?

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