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WiiWare: Gyrostarr Box Art
High Voltage Software
High Voltage Software

WiiWare: Gyrostarr

High Voltage Software answered Wii owners’ prayers earlier this year with the reveal of FPS The Conduit. While this game still has months of development left, the developer hopes to make a splash with downloadable content. Gyrostarr, their second title for WiiWare, utilizes the Quantum3 graphic engine and spans 50 levels of intense shooter action. While it sounds like the makings for the perfect WiiWare game, Gyrostarr doesn’t quite hit the warp gate at full speed.


"Snazzy" will most likely be the first descriptor that comes to mind when playing Gyrostarr. The technical aspects are impressive and really stand out. The framerate is rock steady, even with four players blasting enemies at the same time. Not once did we notice any slowdown. The successful framerate helps convince players their ship is gliding down the futuristic half-pipe at unbelievable speeds. Along the way, the transparency effects of the track and warp gates evokes an outer space feel. Jets even pulsate and showcase blur effects as players start each level. This attention to detail really helps Gyrostarr shine visually. Our only complaint is the lack of background diversity; with the exception of various color changes, there is not much of a difference among the fifty different levels.


Once again, players are treated to a techno soundtrack along with their shooter. The music fits accordingly, but a few more tracks would have been greatly appreciated. A sexy female voice complements the soundtrack, alerting players of pick-ups they attain. Overall, the production is well done but fails to be top-notch or innovate in the shooter genre. Space Invaders Extreme, for example, outdoes the game in every way aurally despite being on DS.


In the game, players choose a spaceship of their choice and start out on a track that resembles a half-pipe. This track will bend, escalate and even change dynamics with bumps along the way. As you hurl along the track, players will hit warp gates that speed up the craft and place more emphasis on quick movements. This gameplay may sound familiar, but Gyrostarr has a new wrinkle for the shooter genre. Players must fill up an energy gauge, located on the top of the screen, to advance to the next level. To do this, players must collect Energy Balls along the way. This convention means that gamers can't continually fire, because their shots will knock away the Energy Balls imperative to pressing forward. The ability to collect energy also includes a grapple beam, in which players discharge an extension that picks up energy or power-ups further down the track. The introduction of these new gameplay aspects separates the title from other shooters and proffers a bit more strategic depth for the genre.

On the other hand, Gyrostarr lacks the mammoth boss battles or level variety present in many shooters. The inclusion of bosses would give the game a nice breath of fresh air, especially after playing twenty similar levels in a row. The mixture of collecting energy and staving off a gigantic enemy ship could also have brought something new to the table. Instead, players continually launch down the same basic course, with only slight color and direction variations.

Another setback for the title relates to the difficulty spikes and lulls. The first half is relatively easy; however, the second half of the game spikes in random places. For example, we had significant setbacks with Level 25, but then the next ten levels were a breeze. Part of this problem relates to the overpowered invincibility power-up, which can make or break the level. These unbalanced difficulty issues really break the flow of the title.


Like the visuals, the multiplayer really shines for Gyrostarr. The framerate holds up well, and the game shifts to throw more enemies at the players as more people participate. This dynamic succeeds when two players are flying down the tube, but four players seemed to be too much for the later levels. The multiplayer mode also modifies the gameplay a bit, as players will vie for power-ups and a higher score. Even with a new mix of competition, cooperation is the key to moving forward with enough energy. Essentially, teamwork enhances the strategic nature of the title, as players will split up the course to obtain energy balls. If possible, grabbing a good friend is the best way to experience Gyrostarr.


Gyrostarr is a good deal for 700 Wii Points on WiiWare. The graphics and multiplayer aspects really shine and the new twist of collecting energy is fun. Yet the game will leave you wanting something more -– such as boss battles, more unique levels and an online leaderboard. Even with these setbacks, this shooter is definitely recommendable to fans of the genre.

final score 7.2/10

Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
Staff Profile | Email
"Real men don't fight — they sing!"

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