Pulstar is similar to twin-stick shooters like Geometry Wars, Ultratron, Waves and others. While it does not revolutionize twin-stick shooters, it is a very good entry into the genre. If you enjoy twin-stick shooters, you will probably enjoy this one as well.
* Nice, fluid graphics
* Short rounds that you can pick up and put down
* Good controls (at least with a controller)
* Sound (specifically background music) could be a bit more varied.
Nice to Haves:
* More enemy types
* Online Multiplayer
--- Full Review ---
You might notice that at the time I am writing this review, I do not have many hours into the game. That is because a single round of the game lasts only a few minutes. There are not multiple levels, various environments, or a ton of depth. What the game lacks in length, it makes up for in no nonsense twin-stick shooter gameplay.
Graphics: Visuals are very fluid, and the game has a nice ambience. The visuals are not over complicated, and that is a good thing for a shooter like this. Between trying to dodge various enemies and scoring as many points as possible, there is not a huge need for overdone graphics. In addition, the HUD is simple and does not distract. In Geometry Wars, the point value of an enemy appeared above the enemy after you killed it. That is not the case with this game. Your running score is kept at the top right, out of the way.
A note that might matter to some. The game seems to be locked at a 16:9 aspect ratio. Available resolutions are 1280 x 720, 1536 x 864, and 1920 x 1080 in both windowed and full screen modes.
Gameplay: With no long story or epic battles, the gameplay comes from the challenge. This game challenges you to improve your skills and pits you against other Pulstar players via leaderboards. This is evident in the achievements. Almost half the achievements are gained by doing better than others or the developers (either in single player or multiplayer). A controller definitely makes the experience better. The controls are simple: the left stick moves, and the right stick shoots. If you need to use a special item, the trigger button is there for you.
There are three basic enemies. It would have been nice to have a few more enemy types, but the enemy types the game does have are different enough that this is not such a huge deal.
The time dilation mechanic is an interesting one, and is similar to the one in Waves. You hit the button, and time slows down so you can more easily maneuver around enemies and take them out.
Sound: The soundtrack is simple and is not something to write home about, but it gets the job done. The background music is very strong, but the sound effects are very light and almost fragile sounding.
Multiplayer: I did not try the multiplayer, but something that might make it more appealing is online multiplayer. This is not a dealbreaker though.