Reviews

Sea of Stars Review: Nostalgia-fueled journey

Published:14:50, 04 October 2023
Altchar

Sea of Stars is a pixel-art turn-based RPG that evokes memories of bygone gaming eras while delivering a distinctive experience immersed in a captivating narrative and very engaging gameplay.

If you're one of those gamers, like myself, who have a more extensive history in the gaming business, diving into Sea of Stars is an instant nostalgia trip. The pixelated graphics, the character animations, and the iconic music reminiscent of the early video game era all work together to create an atmosphere that immediately transports you back to the good old days of gaming. Despite its occasional flaws, this strong sense of gaming nostalgia makes it easy to overlook its shortcomings without second thought.

The story of Sea of Stars is quite impressive

It's likely that the developers were well aware that embracing this approach would equate to a cautious strategy. Yet, upon closer examination of Sea of Stars, a distinctly refined game emerges—one that does possess its imperfections. However, when weighed against its myriad strengths, these shortcomings ultimately struggle to take centre stage.

Story

The storyline in Sea of Stars becomes a compelling driving force that will keep you engaged from start to finish, fueled by an intense desire to uncover its conclusion.

Given that the game adheres to a traditional style without any voice acting, relying solely on conversation bubbles above characters, I wasn't anticipating such a high level of narrative quality. With my expectations initially modest, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a story that, without reservation, managed to evoke genuine emotions—even making me shed a tear or two in certain moments.

Here's how the narrative unfolds: The central plot revolves around Zale and Valere, known as the Solstice children. Born half a year apart, Zale harnesses solar abilities while Valera wields lunar powers. According to destiny's design, they are destined to become Solstice Warriors, entrusted with the task of combating malevolent forces to rescue the world. The very fabric of fate has chosen them to ascend to godlike status and ultimately vanquish this prevailing evil.

Sea of Stars: Pixel-art


Combat System and Gameplay

Sea of Stars is an adventure RPG with turn-based combat mechanics at its core. The combat system is engaging, of excellent quality, and offers a good level of complexity. Throughout the game, you'll have six playable characters at your disposal, allowing you to switch them in and out both during battles and outside of them. However, only three characters can be active on screen for combat at any given time. A noteworthy aspect is that if one of your characters' health significantly drops, you can substitute them with another character before they're knocked out, effectively extending the battle.

During battles, you employ standard attacks that can be enhanced by timing your attack button presses accurately. Similarly, when enemies strike, well-timed button presses can lessen the damage incurred. Alongside regular attacks, you possess special skills that deplete mana points. These points are obtained by executing regular attacks or consuming specific items both in and out of combat. Every character boasts distinct attacks linked to their individual skills. As you advance through the game, you unlock new skills.

Additionally, there are combo shots that amass power through successful regular and skill-based attacks. These combo shots are unique manoeuvres that unite the strikes of two or more characters. As the game progresses, each character gains an "ultimate skill," an individual ability that accumulates charges separately. This skill can only be employed by a single character once it is fully charged. Executing this move inflicts severe damage on enemies and can ty