Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Location: Sheffield, UK
|Posted: Sat May 10, 2003 9:38 am Post subject: Post-Mortem/Interviews/Reviews
Adrenalin Vault (rating:3.5/5)
"The developers knew exactly what they were doing in designing some of the most epic space battle sequences I have ever played."
Bytten (rating: 91% - gold star award)
"The graphics and presentation could not be better"
"The characterisation and animation is spot on"
"Watching your fully operational battle station take on the alien hoardes automatically is a wonderful sight to behold"
Fragtopia (rating: 5/5)
"Great graphics, amazing music, gameplay, storyline and tons of fun!"
"Remember the days when games were fun? Prepare for a return!"
"Graphics and environments. Excellent. I'm a big one for the eye candy"
Game Chronicles (rating: 9/10 - Editors choice award)
"one of the best underground titles Iíve seen"
"just oozes style and substance"
"a good 30 to 40 hours of game play"
Gamers Hell (rating:74%)
'Fans of arcade-style games should seriously consider this game'
'It actually surprised me how much action there could be on the screen'
Gamesxtreme (rating 93% - editors choice)
"This brings me to the gameplay, one word; Fantastic!"
"stuffed to the gills with playability"
Gametunnel (rating: 10/10 - Five Star award)
"This game's just great."
"you can also play the game again... and again"
"Starscape's soundtrack is first-class."
"The design for each sprite is fantastic"
Also voted best game so far this year in a user poll
Gaming Invasion (rating:80%)
'...innovative yet sticking to tradition'
'Starscape is simply stunning and excelling'
'it looks good, real good'
Multiplay (rating: 7.5/10)
"Explosions and other particle effects are particularly pleasing"
"Good mix of genres"
"Nice to see new ideas being tried"
NetJak (rating 92% - Editors choice award)
"[story] is well told and well done in the game"
"gameplay is smooth and impressive"
"challenging, fun, and immersive"
New Straits Times
'Sometimes a gem emerges ...'
'the best looking 2D shoot-em-up that I have seen'
'Starscape is a great game'
PCGAMER (MAY 2005 page 104) (rating: 80%)
"The light that burns bright may burn half as long, but you, my little beauty, have burned so very, very bright."
"The graphics are stylish, attractive, and perfect for the job."
"It's worth buying because it's a cracking little tactical shoot-'em-up;it's jolly good fun; and it's a fine example of indie developers comprehensively mooning the big-brand culture that has a stranglehold on our industry."
Static Gamer (rating:A)
'Starscape is a title that shows great games can still be 2D'
'excellent sound track'
'Where Starscape really starts to take off is in the game play'
"Starscape is seriously the best thing to happen to twitch gaming since Rez, no joke."
"This is one of the most addictive games I've EVER played, and certainly the greatest addiction I've had in quite some time. "
"For $25, you can get a game worth easily twice that much"
Voodoo Files (rating:9/10)
'Starscape is an innovative game that mixes arcade style shoot-em-up action with the familiar strategy elements of resource gathering, researching and building into quite an impressive package'
'he game just sucks you in and won't let go'
'it has a tutorial that I'd say is getting pretty close to the kind of pick up and play standard that Nintendo has set for it's games'
'This is my fave indie game so far this year.'
(now off front page)
You know, I enjoy video games. Perhaps not as much as I used to though. I'm becoming a crotchety old man and my leisure time is shrinking faster than a collapsing white dwarf. Anything that isn't genuinely fun is obliterated by this singularity.
Enter Starscape by Moonpod.
Now, it's no secret that I like shooters. Not your fancy poly-pushing market-glutting FPS shooters. We're talkin' 2D. We're talkin' Gradius, R-Type, Einhander, Bangai-o, Ikaruga and the like. Starscape takes the sensibilities of these games and adds to them. If you want to see for yourself, download the demo. It'll do a much better job of telling you what I'm trying to.
The playing field is a 2D affair with 360 degrees of action. You control your ship like Solar Jetman or Asteroids. Speaking of which, you start out by mining asteroids--by shooting them--to collect resources so you can repair your "mothership" style home base. This is the tamest part of the action and it's entirely contained as the tutorial. Here you'll learn the basics of control, combat, and the expansive upgrade/build system. See, you can upgrade pretty much everything in your mothership. Give it better armor, some weapons, etc. You can upgrade your little ship similarly and build up to three new ones. I like to have a heavy hitter missile-boat for dealing big damage, a fast "scout" style ship, and a more versatile fighter craft so I can be ready for pretty much anything. You unlock upgrades by researching and building them between stages. This takes manpower and resources so there's some interesting strategy elements tossed in. But unlike a lot of hybrid-genre games, Starscape's conflicting genres don't interfere with one another. Your action and resource gathering--which after the tutorial is synomonous with the action since you usually have to kill enemies to steal their resources--is kept far away from the parts where you have to allocate those resources toward better units and upgrades. So if you're bad at real time resource management like, say, me, it's not going to ruin your enjoyment of the game because you can take your time between stages figuring that stuff out. The variety of things to upgrade and the number of upgrades per thing is deep enough to give you strategy-aholics something to obsess over while the rest of us just choose bigger blasters.
So you action fiends don't feel left out of the mix, let me say that Starscape abounds in shooting at things. Playing fields aren't that big, but there are lots of them and they are filled with aggressive and varied targets. Targets that like to respawn, hunt you down, and gang up on you. You will not be lacking for explosions in this game. And did I mention the bosses? Check out some of these screen shots. Y'see those giant things spewing bullets and missiles and laser beams? Yeah, there's action in this game. And while the sheer number of enemies can become overwhelming at times, keep in mind that your combat craft are hearty little ******* that take quite a beating. And you can always retreat to your mothership for some repairs. Don't let the ease with which you can get repaired fool you though. If you play stupid, then you'll get blown up. But if you play smart and know when to fold 'em, you can go a long way.
Hell, I haven't even mentioned the story. It's nothing that'll blow you away, but it's more than enough to get you into the game world. You've got a supporting cast crewing your mothership and everyone has their own personality, agenda, and advice. The game wouldn't have been hurt by going the minimalist road with the story and characters, but putting them in makes the experience all the better. Like the story and supporting cast, there's lots of little touches Moonpod could've skimped on but didn't. The music, special effects, sound effects, game mechanics, enemy strategies, and overall level of polish are all very impressive. The game looks great and you don't need the latest piece of hardware to run it. It plays great and it's not quite like anything else out there.
I do have two complaints, both thankfully minor. First, there's the tutorial. See, I played the Starscape demo a couple months ago. I loved the game but I deleted the demo due to, shall we say, desperation for hard drive space. I had to squeeze every bit of my old drive for the sake of keeping that porn collection [NOTE TO SELF: DELETE PORN COMMENT BEFORE POSTING]. So when I got my retail version of Starscape, I didn't have a save file to let me skip the tutorial. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the tutorial itself. There's enough complexity to the game that it's necessary and in fact it's so transparent I didn't even realize it was the tutorial until the game told me so at the pause/menu screen. But after you've played through it once you don't need to play through it again because you know everything it's telling you.
I e-mailed Moonpod with that complaint. Here's a portion of the response: "We have actually added a demo version autosave in the last patch (released last week so it unfortunately didn't help you) because we had two or three customers mention the same thing." I am reminded of when Microsoft finally got around to releasing the smaller X-Box controller after everyone told them the original was too massive for human hands. Microsoft made the smaller controller, refused to package it with the X-Box, and released a statement saying how everyone loved the original controller but Microsoft was such a kind and benevolent god that it went through the trouble making the smaller controller for that "mintority" that "might" like it better. Meanwhile, three Moonpod customers mention that being able to skip the tutorial for multiple play throughs would be nice and Moonpod releases a new version of their game with that very ability. Hell, the answer I got to my tutorial complaint wasn't that one line. It was at least a page of text that specifically addressed the issues I brought up and the design philosophies behind their decisions. When these guys say they listen to customers, when they say they want to give gamers what they want, they ain't lyin'.
My second complaint will be of varying annoyance depending on how attentive you are to grammar. There's grammatical errors and/or typos in the game's text. Not as bad as what we used to routinely find in games, but more than what we usually see these days. Personally, I glance over them. But they drive Lydia up the wall.
So check out the free demo. You get the tutorial plus 20 minutes of additional game time. The full version is only like $25 and it's as big and well put together a game as games you'll find for twice that price.
Last edited by Poo Bear on Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:43 pm; edited 8 times in total