Super Stardust HD is the definitive dual-joystick shooter.
Dual-Stick shooters is a glorious genre that got a serious revival through the next-gen consoles (ironbic twist of events considering it took processing muscle to bring back the simple top-down games). This renaissance of sorts for the genre was initiated by the release of Geometry Wars, which most can now agree outclassed every other title that polluted Xbox 360's launch line-up. People were blown away by the fast and gloriously shiny shooter, which proved to be surprisingly deep and addictive (despite the savants occupying the top rankings on the leaderboard mocking your mediocrity...gah).
However, inevitably, the student will outclass the teacher. Super Stardust HD is that particular student., but instead of outclassing, it pounded on Geometry Wars seeral times, buried it, and urinated on its grave.
My eyes hurt from the amazingness of SSHD. The controls are more responsive, the gameplay significantly faster and more frantic, and the graphics, in 1080 progressive glory, is a sight that needs to be seen. Essentially, you're a small, feeble ship thrown on apocalyptic planet grids which are constantly bombarded with a barrage of comits, mines, and heat seeking massive worms. It's like a mad world of Centipedes, Geometry Wars, and Asteroids all in one. New strategical elements in the game are found in the forms of boosts and upgradable weapons, which are subsequently effective against particular types of asteroids and enemies. You also have bombs, which give you an opportunity to gaze upon the game's magnificent explosion and particle effects, all at a consistent sixty frames a second.
I won't go too far in describing the gameplay, as it's really self-explanatory. Instead, I'll dedicate my time in persuading you, the common Giant Bomb reader, to slap down a measly $19.97 ($9.99 and two $4.99 expansions) for this stunning game. The game is freaking fun, and will have you addicted. Whenever I start playing a single session of the game, it consistently escalates into a three or four hour session, with me vying for the high score and cussing at that damn red centipede (I will be avenged, you damn dirty ape!). The expansions, both solo and team, make a great experience far better. Endless mode, a new mode that is added with the Solo expansion, is possibly more enthralling than the original arcade mode, and the orchestrated soundtracks and competitive multiplay modes added through the Team expansion are epic in scale.
This is a game that should not be missed. Subjectively, it's my favorite downloadable title featured across all platforms. However, at an object stance, it is still one of the most technically proficient, full-fleshed, tightly controlled experience to be found on all three platforms. Try it, you'll like it.