hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Strania - The Stella Machina

Review: Strania - The Stella Machina

2:00 PM on 04.14.2011 // Destin Legarie

If I hadn't been reviewing so many of them lately, I would have thought the shoot-em-up genre was dead.  Apparently I was wrong as I've reviewed more games from this genre than any other over the last six months. Strania - The Stella Machina is the latest title that I've had the opportunity to play and it's currently available on Xbox Live for 800 Microsoft Points. 

Why it's so expensive I do not know.

Strania – The Stella Machina (XBLA)
Developer: G. Rev
Publisher: Microsoft
Released: March 30th, 2011
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points or $10

When you fire up this title for the first time you're greeted with a typical splash screen. You can select the different modes, and options, but the distinct lack of music is instantly off putting. As you navigate the menu, you're welcomed with harsh noises letting you know that you've moved the cursor. This is your first impression of the game, and the only explanation I can come up with is that they had to rush and throw it together.

This amateurish first impression is covering up what amounts to an average shooter. The hook of the title is that you can get some unique power ups like a sword that you can slice through enemies with, but the other items are fairly average like a spread shot, side shot, laser, and more. 

Strania's next mistake is that it uses the "screw-you-over system." If you have an awesome weapon combination, and a new item comes onto the screen that's awful, you need to avoid it at all costs. If you even touch it, your superior combo will be replaced with what could be a mess. There were many times that I was flying around with a nice spread shot side gun combo only to have one of the items replaced with a sword. I hate it when shooters do this.

The difficulty level is also quite high. You get a maximum of 3 lives, and even if you have continues turned on they seem to do nothing. I tried to set my lives to 3 with a continue option turned on, but once I go through my 3 lives the game would just end. Either I'm an idiot, or the continue functionality does not work.

It's a struggle to find them, but there are a few plus points to note. One area that's impressive is the visuals. There are mini-action moments spread throughout the game, including explosions that erupt in the background as the camera spins around your 3D character before he flies toward the camera.  There are also showdowns where an enemy will be highlighted in the distance before tackling the player head-on. These little moments set alongside some pretty level design make up the games biggest strengths.  It's just a shame that the rest of the product feels a bit flat.

Even the sound is bland. There are no beats that will stick out in your mind, and the different sounds of the weapons all mush together to make an unimpressive stew of mediocrity. The fact that the music just ends after a level leaving you with nothing but the sound of your mech jets should tell you that someone was being lazy. There should be some kind of victory sequence tune, but it isn't present.

Multiplayer is non-existent. There's an option for it on the main menu, and while local multiplayer works fine allowing you to team up with a friend to take down the bad guys, the online functionality is broken.  If you want to go online there's little to no chance that you'll find a game. If there are fans of the game reading this, I'm sorry, but no one is playing Strania.  You'll just have to call up a buddy to pick up a controller and sit next to you if you want some co-op action.

I've gotten some enjoyment out of the shooters that have appeared on Xbox Live Arcade as of late, but this one just fell flat.  It uses an outdated weapon changing system that's more annoying than useful, doesn't do enough to engage the player in combat, and feels unfinished.  If Strania had some more time to add some additional touches I think there could be a decent shooter here.  As it stands now, I'll have to tell you to pass on it.



Strania - The Stella Machina - Reviewed by Destin Legarie
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Destin Legarie,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Strania - The Stella Machina

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -