Sea of ​​Stars’ unique RPG combat has already impressed me

When I first started up the new exhibition for Sea of ​​Stars, the upcoming indie RPG that draws inspiration from classics like Chrono trigger, I didn’t hide after my first battle. Its combat system confused me at first, with switch type weaknesses and a mana pool that felt like it was only an inch deep. It was only after reading deeply about the opponent that I learned to appreciate its quirks, like a signature “lock” system. If it had made for a more emotionally moving story, I would have been convinced it was worth playing from start to finish.

Sabotage Studio’s latest project serves as a prelude to its next game, The Bishop. Our heroes, Zale and Valere, are the only ones who can use Eclipse Magic, a special power that can defeat the Fleshmancer’s monsters. The two main characters are tasked with stopping their enemy with their combined powers – something Sabotage takes care to highlight in the demo with the aforementioned fight.

C-comb breaker!

Sea of ​​Stars blend just the right amount of traditional and modern gameplay in its battles. Players can directly choose whether a character attacks, casts a spell, or uses an item during their turn. Each character has a mana bar that refills every time they use their normal attacks, as well as skills they can cast when they have enough MP. Ideally, the player should take advantage of type weaknesses. Attacks charge a combo meter that allows characters to use dual attacks, which sometimes hit more weaknesses than the characters can on their own.

That’s the place Sea of ​​StarsA “green” feature comes into play. Locks are rows of blocks that sometimes appear above an enemy before he unleashes a special attack. The blocks are symbols for the four types of attacks, including Sun and Moon magic. If you hit the enemy with the types of attacks as listed, then he will weaken his attack or, if you break all the locks, cancel the attack altogether. It is much easier to break the locks with skills and combo attacks. However, breaking locks is meant to be a bonus and not required to complete the game.

Boss fight in Sea of ​​Stars demo

Some attacks, like Moonerang Valere, also require timed button presses to increase the damage. These cues make the player an active participant in the fight with the real-time button presses, even after choosing to use the move. Figuring out how to break locks from context clues is a pain, so I recommend reading the “how to play” section from Sea of ​​Stars title screen if you plan to play the demo. For those who want to focus on the story, there is also an accessibility option that boosts HP and regenerates health after battles.

The combat and puzzle-solving parts of the demo hint at a game with a solid mechanical skeleton. I can’t help but feel it lacks personality based on what I’ve played though.

Looking for more

Demos are not a complete representation of final game. They only give players a taste of what to expect in 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Sea of ​​Stars It focuses on gameplay in its demo but doesn’t give much insight into its story or characters. Zale and Valere seem to have little difference in their personalities, to the point where I wouldn’t be able to distinguish their dialogue if they weren’t labeled. Meanwhile, their friend Garl clearly becomes the happy-go-lucky type, but with little to differentiate him from similar old types.

Of course, the game has a clear personality in the form of comedy. You can see it in some of the NPC lines, including the poor guy at the bar who needed a big coffee for his finals. I didn’t feel emotionally attached to anything that happened because there was no immediate commitment, though. The gameplay is clean, but a little too sterile without the juicier parts of the story.

Two guards blocking a path in the Sea of ​​Stars

If you’re an RPG aficionado, it’s worth checking out the Nintendo Switch demo to see for yourself how it all plays. It should take about an hour of your time, even with light wandering – maybe longer if you want to talk to every single NPC and delete a few times. If you do drop in, don’t miss the Coral Cascades region outside of town. It allows you to listen to it Chrono trigger the first guest track in the game by composer Yasunori Mitsuda.

Sea of ​​Stars will launch for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch on August 29, 2023. The demo is currently only available for Nintendo Switch, but Sabotage confirmed that it would be coming to Steam at a later date.

Editors’ recommendations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *