In Super Stardust HD, the player controls a space fighter craft that can move in any direction on a spherical shield surrounding a planet, while simultaneously firing in any direction independent of its movement. The primary threats against the player are three types of asteroids and various enemy spacecraft, which appear on the playfield at certain time intervals. The ship is equipped with three upgradeable weapons, a limited arsenal of bombs, and a boost capability that grants temporary invincibility and recharges after use. Each weapon is more effective against certain types of asteroid and enemies than others. Items include weapon upgrades and a shield that absorbs one fatal hit against the player’s ship.
Super Stardust HD provides several modes of play, each with their own online leaderboards. The default game mode, Arcade, takes the player through a series of five planets, each consisting of five main phases, the last of which is a boss battle. Planet Mode allows the player to play any one of five planets in the same way, ending the game after the planet is complete. Both of these modes support both single-player and two-player cooperative play.
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