Wings of Bluestar is a new old school shoot ‘em up with a branching story from publisher eastasiasoft and developer Shinu Real Arts. After release on PC some time ago it has finally made the jump to consoles and here is my review of the PlayStation 5 version.
Wings of Bluestar actually has a story unlike many of the other games that eastasiasoft publishes. I was actually surprised by just how story driven it is as the visual novel like segments feature dialog choices which leads to multiple different endings. The story revolves around our two playable pilots Aya and Zarak. Aya is a newbie while Zarak has been at this for quite some time. Their mission is to investigate a mysterious AI that has resurfaced which will lead them into dogfights against all manner of deadly machines. Honestly, I don’t play shoot ‘em ups for story but I appreciate that the team actually put the work into crafting one for this. It didn’t hold my attention but maybe it will for others.
If you don’t care about the story, you can just jump into the Arcade mode and play for high scores there. The game has a nice assortment of modes with Story, Arcade, Two Player which lets you play with another local player, Training, a Boss Rush mode, and an assortment of other features like an image gallery, sound test, and more. A lot of these extra things are unlocked by spending points that you earn while playing in a shop. There is a lot to unlock so it helped to provide extra incentive to keep playing outside of just score chasing.
As for the actual gameplay it controls and plays very well. Each of the two pilots has their own ship with different stats and attacks. Zarak’s ship is better at attacking and faster while Aya’s ship is more durable and a little more balanced in the other stats. Your attacks include your standard fire, a special attack unique to each character, and turrets that you can equip that you can move around using the triggers. As you would expect things on-screen can get very busy when all the bullets start flying from you and your enemies. I don’t think this game does anything new for the genre but it’s challenging and fun to play and should please any fan of old school shoot ‘em ups.
Wings of Bluestar mixes a branching visual novel like story with old school shoot ‘em up action to create something that ends up being a pretty good time even if it doesn’t do much new. The action is fun and responsive and besides score chasing there is a lot of additional content to work towards unlocking should you care about it. Fans of the genre will most likely enjoy their time with this one so long as they don’t go into it expecting some kind of new gameplay mechanics.
*Wings of Bluestar is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.