Games like: Metroid, Castlevania
** This game is currently in Beta status and looking for Greenlight votes on Steam. Anything stated here is based on this Beta version of the game. **
Time played: 67 minutes
Watch my play through on YouTube!
There’s never been a shortage of MMO games to grace the gaming scene and the indie side is no slouch either. Starbreak takes the place of a free-to-play, massively multiplayer online, 2D action platformer. That’s a mouthful. Created by one of the devs from the popular “Realm of the Mad God”, (which doesn’t seem as popular anymore considering their recent updates), Crunchy Games “Starbreak” plays a hand of perma deaths, multiple characters, and good ol’ fashion run-and-gun.
With Starbreak currently in Beta status and searching for Greenlight votes on Steam, Crunchy games has provided the game to be played in an internet browser. So I know what you’re thinking: keyboard controls for a 2D platformer? I know, I know. And at first, I was at least going to try it out to see how it would fit. Short answer: the keyboard controls are terrible like you’d expect. But luckily, Crunchy Games has figured out how to import gamepad controls without any use of Joy2Key. I’m not kidding. All I did was powered on my Xbox 360 controller and boom! I had full control over the game, menus, and pretty much everything else. I have no idea how it works, but man, I was super happy.
With this, of course there’s always a downfall and it’s a bit nitpicky for most, but during the tutorial stage, all of the action icons for different moves are set to the keyboard and not a controller. So trying to figure out what the key “A” does on a gamepad did create some confusion. Again, I understand that this game is in Beta but if I’m going to do my work for this review, it’ll be under the same microscope as any other game on this site. It just creates a little bit more of a learning curve that shouldn’t be there that can easily be fixed with an extra icon or two. Takes the brain a second or two to move from eye to hand. Other than that, the controlling works just fine and plays like you’d expect it to.
The universe is one of progress and annihilation: After reaching its technological apex, Humanity was wiped out by The Watcher — the universe’s first super predator. An A.I. seed escapes Earth’s destruction — and over the course of a few eons, it rescues Humanity by building the Eschaton Station. These resurrected humans no longer need corporeal bodies and instead live through their Spark — their consciousness. Sparks can insert themselves into special combat Shells and use the Eschaton Station’s portal network to wage guerilla warfare against The Watcher and its allies. Pretty wild, huh?
In this state, Starbreak is a solid action platformer. Many enemies to kill. Procedurally generated levels. Tons of pickups; weapons. armor, specials, health. At the start, you’ll have full control over a shell known as Wildfire. Long range combat expert using primarily guns and grenades. He plays closely to the run-and-guns of the time. Duskwing will do most of her damage mid-air and is quick on her feet. Ironclad is the tank of the group. Carrying large hammers and axe-like weapons for close up combat. And lastly, Fabricator who plays more like an engineer creating large machinery on the fly to help out teammates. Each of these shells will play to your strengths and weaknesses as a player. Each level can seem to favor one or the other so like many games of this nature, mastering all the classes is best. Especially when Starbreak gives you the ability to swap easily between the four.
Keep in mind, Starbreak is an MMO. During my playthrough, I came in contact with rogues on the search for loot. I can see where the fun would be had creating a team, one of each shell, tearing through each level, taking out enemies, collecting weapons. Sounds like a great time. Sure you’ll run into the same issues as you do with an 2D side scroller. Whoever is in front typically will see all of the action and gets all the glory of taking down the enemies. There are a few “branching paths” that end up being just dead ends or paths back the way you came. Progression is left to right.
Not having a group of run about with, I found myself falling behind others playing the same level. While I was off exploring, these other shells knew where to go and where all the good stuff was. It came to a point where I was moving from screen to screen with nothing to do. No enemies to kill. No treasures to collect. Everything had been completed and the level hadn’t reset itself yet. I started to feel like I was doing something wrong. Typically in a video game, if there’s danger, that means you’re going the right way. Not having anything to do but jumping over gaps in the floor and finding the exit, is pretty boring. Sadly, this happened more than once.
Starbreak isn’t about leveling your character to reach new heights in the way you would think. Completing a world will open another. With this in mind, you could basically play through worlds that your character isn’t ready for provided you have a good team with you. I enjoy this method. Gives you a sense that if you are just skilled enough, you can unlock power ups and armor that would have taken you another hour or two of grinding. Platforming skills could be just enough without having to barrel your way through the skill trees.
I can see the potential with Starbreak. I’m no stranger to the awesome-ness that 16-bit platformers can provide and have played many of them. Being a 2D game, the MMO aspects fall short for me since I didn’t have a group of friends to play with. It would become a race to the finish which causes issues for a new player who’s wanting to look around a bit. A little tightening up on the graphics, navigation, and button assignments could bring Starbreak to a point where I would play it every day. But I feel like it would still be a better title if it were just a single player experience.
Starbreak is an MMO 2D action platformer that provides fun environments to explore and enemies to combat. A strong willed 16-bit feel, Starbreak takes a different look on the RPG aspects with no traditional leveling system. Select from four different players to match your playset, Starbreak does have what it takes to be a fun game. Not having a group of friends to play with may leave you stranded in the back with little to do or loot to collect.
Watch my play through on YouTube!
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