StarShine 2 is the sequel to last year's celestial puzzler, and is the latest in a line of jewel-like games from Hero Interactive. The game reminds me of Kerouac when he professed his love for "the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes 'Awww'". It has that kind of effect.
You control a shooting star, positioning it somewhere on the circumference of a circle surrounding the play field with the mouse, and firing with the left mouse button. Aiming is easy, your star slides around the circular track, as it does you'll see arrows appear around whatever star you have lined up with. When you hit a star other stars can fire off, the adjacent arrows show where the subsequent star splatter will go. Your goal is to set-up a chain reaction that hits and lights up every star. Easier said than done, because this sequel unleashes a greater variety of stars than ever before. All kinds of ricochets, splits, refractions and orders come to greet you as you successfully put on fireworks displays. If you get stuck, don't be afraid to click the "Hint" button.
Analysis: StarShine 2 provides some solid refinements and content expansions from the original. I believe the Hero Interactive folks are very talented and would like to see more diversity in designs from them, but the first one was pretty popular and this title is a testament to devotion in craft. The hint system walks you through all the way down to the precise position you need to fire on the first star. The system is willing to hold your hand more than a public school, but in this case I think that's alright. The game respects your time enough to let you skip any pernicious challenges. Finding the right combination yourself gives a powerfully cathartic pay-off as you witness the resulting cascade; perhaps it deserves even larger adjectives to impart the scope of awe involved.
Like Otto in the Simpsons, in the episode with the meteor shower, you don't need good gaming skills to appreciate this experience, only to enhance it!