When the original Sin and Punishment came out in Japan at the tail end of the Nintendo 64’s lifespan, many Nintendo fans living in North America and Europe clamored and hoped that it would be localized for their regions. Unfortunately, their cries were not heard and the game did not arrive on Western shores until 2007 via the Wii’s Virtual Console service, some seven years after its original Japanese release date. Luckily the sequel, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, has not suffered the same fate. Star Successor is a rail shooter that is very similar to its predecessor, but it benefits greatly from the Wii’s pointer controls. The game is a non-stop, action-packed bullet hell shooter the likes of which only developer Treasure could conjure up.
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is about a boy with a plasma pistol and his alien girlfriend. The couple must run, hover, dash, and fly their way through many enemy infested locations, and there is almost never a moment that won’t require players to pull the trigger and fire their guns. If I had to describe this game in one word, it would be relentless. It just never lets up; sometimes you will even find yourself facing one boss right after another with nothing in between. Of course, there have been plenty of rail shooters like this in the past, but usually they take the form of 2D scrollers featuring futuristic spacecraft. Thanks to the Wii controller, Treasure is able to throw an unprecedented amount of enemy projectiles and obstacles your way, and it feels great. Using the remote and nunchuk, everything just feels very natural; dodging and dashing while firing at your targets can all happen simultaneously without a hitch.
Star Successor is a difficult game. I usually play through new games on “normal” mode unless I have extensive experience with the genre. However, in this game even “normal” is quite a challenge, and I found myself dying on numerous occasions as I played through the campaign. Luckily there are infinite continue credits, so dying won’t slow you down too much. There are two playable characters, Isa and Kachi, and they both feature distinct play styles. Both characters have the ability to hover and fly, but if your goal is to get as high a score as you can (which you can then upload to the online leaderboards), you will want to keep your feet on the ground for as long as possible, because that is the best way to increase your point multiplier. If you don’t care so much about the score, the game will probably feel a bit easier at times if you stick to the air. There is also a co-op mode that can makes things easier; it is very similar to the co-op found in Jet Force Gemini or Mario Galaxy 2—the second player cannot control a character on the screen, but they are able to aim and shoot with a second reticle.
Visually, the game isn’t all that great, save for the insane amount of stuff going on on-screen at any given moment. The backgrounds are fairly detailed, and there are moments here and there that come off as impressive, but overall this isn’t a game you want to experience for its graphical fidelity, and that is fine. It’s all about speed, precision, and colorful explosions.
After playing through Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, I wonder why there aren’t more games like this on the system; you couldn’t ask for a more perfect platform. Sin and Punishment really shines on the Wii, and while the game is only about six or seven hours long at most, that time is completely filled with nonstop action. Treasure has proven time and again that they are the king of shooters, and Star Successor is no exception. If you love shooters, or just find yourself wanting for a breakneck action title, do yourself a favor and pick this game up, you won’t be sorry you did.
Pros: Unending barrage of action, perfect controls
Cons: Graphics aren’t too impressive
Plays like: the original Sin and Punishment, or Star Fox on speed