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Star Marine

For: Mobile

Blast off

Product: Star Marine | Developer: Rovio | Publisher: Rovio | Format: Mobile | Genre: Action, Hardcore | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 173KB | Reviewed on: V600i other handsets | Version: Europe
Star Marine Mobile, thumbnail 1
Considering that the schedule of an interstellar soldier typically consists of stopping relentlessly invading alien hordes from taking over the human race, there must be times when they'd swap a day in a metal mech suit for one sitting at home in their pants watching Countdown and Richard and Judy.

It's a wonder they don't form some sort of union; the hours are poor, and standard army wages are precious little recompense for keeping planet Earth safe. On the other hand, if being a space marine is as much fun as Star Marine the mobile game, maybe the Space Army doesn't even need to pay them.

In Star Marine you take control of Sarge (it must get confusing in the army with so many of them about), a near indestructible soldier with a lust for demolition, guns and man-on-alien combat. Viewed from a top-down perspective, it is your job to guide Sarge through the wreckage of the starship CSS Tremor, blasting merry hell out of the aliens it has become infested with.

Movement has been assigned to the '1', '2', '3', '4', '6,' '7', '8' and '9' keys, with '5' set aside for firing. Throughout the game you acquire better guns (which you can cycle through with the * key) and various pick-ups including mines, sentry guns, shields and of course health packs.

The game plays exactly as it should; once picked up it is easy to lose an hour to Star Marine's straightforward but superbly executed blasting action, which harks back to the halcyon days of no nonsense pre-3D gaming. Although not terribly exciting to look at, the game world is detailed and crams a surprisingly large amount of enemies, explosions and general mayhem onto the screen all at the same time.

Not only that, but from the title screen to the rolling of the credits, Star Marine is steeped with a polished presentation and attention to seemingly unimportant details that easily position it in a higher bar of quality than your average mobile blaster.

The shooting doesn't require much from the player in terms of aiming, but you will soon find that Star Marine relies more so on tactical play, where you are encouraged to retreat and re-navigate your way into firefights in order to avoid being cornered by or sandwiched between enemies.

The style of play is not entirely dissimilar from Pac Man, and once mines and sentry guns are factored into the experience Star Marine betrays a depth that you wouldn't expect from a straight-up blaster.

There is the occasional niggle, such as a stage where it is impossible to avoid wasting precious health where walls have to be blown out, with the flames of the blast scorching Sarge as he passes through.

These sorts of design flaws are infrequent though, and overall don't encroach on what is a thoroughly entertaining mobile blaster. Star Marine is a great showcase of the simple tricks of game design that keep players amused and hungry for the next level, but which are sadly ever less common amongst the more complicated titles of today. A classic of its genre and the perfect antidote for anyone yearning for simpler times.
Star Marine
Reviewer photo
Fraser MacInnes | 28 June 2007
Star Marine is a classy mobile shooter with plenty of hidden depth lurking underneath its seemingly simple gameplay
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