"Shoot for the stars~!" -Motto for the series
Star Maidens (スターメイドゥンズ) is a series of vertical arcade-style shoot 'em ups developed by Multisoft (formerly Gamesoft). It is centered around girls chosen by the Universe Maidens to fight the Space Demons led by Zel. The first game is available only for the Gamecube. There is also a sequel named Star Maidens Astra, and a remake of said sequel named Star Maidens Astra Superheart!. The sequel is available for the Nintendo Wii while the remake is available as an add-on to the Nintendo game Beastman's Sin. In addition, Star Maidens Planetary is the third installment in the series that acts as a direct sequel to Star Maidens Astra.
The gameplay in the Star Maidens series is simple, as you simply move across the screen and shoot enemies to gain some power-ups. You also have the ability to deflect bullets using a shield or "Milky Sword." An extraordinary feature that is seen in the game is the "Star Factor," a meter which allows you to unleashed your "Divine Cosmos," a sort of ultimate attack. Another unique feature is the "Maiden Switch," where you switch with another character you have chosen.
The majority of the Star Maidens games take place in Uniplus Central. In the first game, two normal girls, Riley Jays and Christie Reynolds, were living their normal lives until the Cosmic Emperor Zel unleashed his Space Demons to attack the universe, including Earth. Pluto and Ceres, servants of the Universal Maidens, were sent to empower Riley and Christie with the power of the Star Maidens so they can fight back.
In the sequel and its remake, Riley and Christie were back to their daily lives again until Zel's successor, Adi, became the new Cosmic Emperor and sent a new batch of Space Demons to attack Uniplus Central. Riley and Christie became Star Maidens again, along with three other girls, to stop Adi and save their home.
Star Maidens Planetary takes place eight months after the events of Star Maidens Astra, after Adi has been killed by the Star Maidens, and about a day after the events of Superheart, after the death of Gin. Minato, a mysterious blue haired boy looking for answers to the destruction of his home planet, Aoikusa, and the murder of his parents, lands on Shinto Palace after receiving a distress call from the planet. He discovers that the planet had been attacked by Master Tengu and his KuroOni army, and is persuaded by a wounded Kaihito in the Palace to help by collecting all of the Shinto Spirits and returning them to the palace, which would supposedly tilt the war in the monsters favor and stop Tengu. However, after releasing the first one, a mysterious being pushes Minato into the spirit's path, trapping him in a floating orb atop the Shinto Palace until all the spirits can be returned.
Meanwhile, the Universal Maidens contact the Star Maidens and ask them to investigate a planet on the edge of the Universal System called Monstra Planet, which is falling apart. Since the team is in desperate need of money for expansion of their new base, Riley and Christie agree to take a look.
Riley Jays (ライリー・ジェイズ) - one of the main characters of the series. Riley is a tomboy who loves sports and seafood. Her life changed when Pluto, one of the Universal Maidens' servants, met her and gave her the power of a Star Maiden. She, along with Christie, flew into combat to fight Zel's army. Riley is known as the Cosmic Star in her Star Maiden form. Her Divine Cosmos is the Cosmic Ray.
Christie Reynolds (クリスティ・レイノルズ) - the other protagonist of the series. Christie is a shy girl that loves to read and is a great artist. She stumbled upon Ceres, the other servant of the Universal Maidens, and was granted the Star Maiden's power. She joined Riley to stop Zel's universal reign. Christie's Star Maiden name is the Astral Star. Her Divine Cosmos is the Astral Spear.
Tania Greens (タニア・グリーンズ) - a playable character in Star Maidens Astra and its remake. Tania is a tech-savvy girl that is often called a "nerd" whenever she freaks out over a piece of technology. She met Eris, the Universal Maidens' messenger, and became a new Star Maiden to fight Adi's army. As a Star Maiden, Tania is named the Galactic Star. Her Divine Cosmos is the Galactic Beam.
Sasha Rolando (サーシャ・ローランド) - a playable character in Star Maidens Astra and its remake. Sasha is well known for her singing role in her high school band. Sasha found Haumea, a songstress of the Universal Maidens, and was empowered into a Star Maiden to enter the fray between the Star Maidens and Adi. Sasha is named the Celestial Star. Her Divine Cosmos is the Celestial Wave.
Amy Apricot (エイミー・アプリコット) - a playable character in Star Maidens Astra and its remake. Amy is a lonely girl that wishes to be noticed for once her life. She was happy when she saw Makemake, a young servant of the Universal Maidens, and she now has the power of a Star Maiden to join the others and fight Adi. Amy is known as the Asteroid Star in her Star Maiden form. Her Divine Cosmos is the Asteroid Bomb.
Zel (ゼル) - the main antagonist of the first Star Maidens. As the Space Emperor, he claims to be the strongest ruler of the universe and wants to have the entire galaxy in his hands. He even captured the Universal Maidens to prove it. His reign and terror, however, were put to a halt thanks to Riley and Christie of the Star Maidens.
Adi (アディ) - the main antagonist of Star Maidens Astra and Superheart. Adi became the new Space Emperor after Zel's death and continued his galactic reign to conquer and destroy the universe. Right before he became successful, though, the Star Maidens attempted to put him in his place and destroy him and his army.
Universal Maidens (ユニバーサルメイドゥンズ) - the central characters of the Star Maidens series. The Universal Maidens are the goddesses of the universe that watch over the planets along with their servants, messenger, and songstress. They were captured once by Zel, and again by Adi, but they were saved twice by the Star Maidens and thanked them (and their loyal followers, too) for saving them.
Minato (ミナト) - a blue haired boy who may be the sole survivor of his doomed home planet, Aoikusa. Minato is calm and kind hearted. He appears in the beginning of the game, where he searches for answers on his planet's destruction and the death of his parents. He comes across a distress signal from Monstra Planet. Minato joins the Star Maidens after the adventure.
Kin (キン) - a goblin who is the prince of the NewFang Tribe from the Monstra Planet. He serves as Riley's companion, in which Kinperforms various tasks for her, such as digging or throwing his club. He is made an honorary Star Maidens member at the end of the game.
Master Tengu (テング様) - the leader of the KuroOni clan, which strives to be the ruling clan of the Monstra Planet. After being rejected, Master Tengu amasses an army of KuroOni and breaks four pieces of the planet apart by removing the four Magic Spheres where his army occupies each chunk. He discovers Adi who gives him power in return for capturing Minato and the Shinto Spirits.