A point-and-click game of discovery, Hoshi Saga revolves around finding stars. In each stage, you have to find a star and the fun is figuring out just what you need to do to uncover or create the star. The puzzles are many and varied, and range from the mind-numbingly easy to the hair-pullingly hard.The Hoshi Saga series has ten installments so far:
Art Shift: Stage 74 of Hoshi Saga 3 has a hand-drawn scene and stars compared to the normally perfect shapes of other levels.
Bullet Hell: A difficult iteration as stage 10000 [sic] in Dokuringo, further compounded by your huge hitbox. After losing the first time, the game offers you a shield to make it easier. Of course, that locks you out of the 'good' ending.
Deliberately Monochrome: The first three games. The next number of games are fully-colored and are much more detailed.
Easy Level Trick: Several stages have an inconspicuous solution to an otherwise difficult-looking puzzle.
Stage 40 in Ringoame's esoteric solution does not involve the circles in it to reveal the star at all.
The number of stars ranked as the difficulty can give it away, as in the stage 48, which initially appears to be a difficult Klotski, but is in fact, just a click-and-drag to the solution.
Stage 70 in Ringoen can be difficult to align properly five times in a row, until the player realizes the background keeps track of previous attempts, so he can use those attempts to continue progress consistently.
Even the final boss of stage 10000 has three strategies that make it a lot easier:
Staying at the bottom middle of the screen during the first attack allows you to evade all but one of the bullets.
If you move your mouse cursor out of the game border and move it back in from another side, your ship INSTANTLY teleports to the cursor. This allows you to dodge the "spinning laser" and "rings" attacks easily.
Finally, right-clicking anywhere on the screen pauses the game, and left clicking anywhere else will teleport your ship to your cursor. This is VITAL for the boss' Last Ditch Move.
Fanservice: In each of the first three installments, there's one stage that requires you to do something almost ecchi (pulling down underwear [but not that far down], blowing up women's skirts to reveal star-printed underwear, trying to get a woman to uncover her breasts so that they immediately get covered by stars...). The hints of fanservice disappear entirely after the third installment... until Dokuringo, where there are no less than an entire column (five stages!) that feature nude or stripped women in full color, one requiring you to unzip a girl's Meido outfit, and the winning screen you get if you clear the final stage the hard way is a drawing of a naked woman whose nipples and crotch are just barely covered by other objects. Well, the game creator is Japanese...
Genre Shift: Several final levels: Ringo's final level gives off RPG tones, and Dokuringo's final level is a flat out Shoot 'em Up.
Mood Dissonance: Dokuringo only allows one stage when it's first started, which is a revamped Ringo stage 7 with a skull in place of a star. It tells you that the rest of the puzzles (unlocked after solving that one) are not simple and are not as light-hearted as the previous games' puzzles.
Moon Logic Puzzle: Some of the stages qualify as this, giving you next to no indication of what to do in them. Especially prevalent in Dokuringo, where you often have to completely ignore the obvious puzzle to search for a completely non-obvious one.
Red Herring: Plenty in Dokuringo; for example, the clock puzzle (stage 21 in Ringo) turns out to be irrelevant to the corresponding stage 9991—not even mashing the arrow to make it fall will grant you the star. A blend of stage 60 from Ringoen and 96 from Ringohime have no relation to finding the star in stage 9997. Instead, the "Stage:" letters and "Return" button provide the clue.
Remixed Level: Dokuringo is almost entirely made up of stages strongly resembling that of past installments but with very different (and more difficult) solutions.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: You can go from a 1-star puzzle that just requires you to mouse your cursor over star pieces to a 5-star puzzle that requires you to have almost superhuman reflexes.