I really don’t know what to say about StarLink
Even as I write this, I am trying to wrap my head around what it is that I am playing and whether or not I can actually give a full account of the game.
It is fun…that much I know for certain. But, is it everything that we were promised?
Look…I am already going to come out and say that this impression that I am about to write is going to come off a little different. This game makes me confused for a lot of reasons and it actually might make me like it more. If you don’t want to see me go back and forth on a few issues that I have with the game, than might I suggest just going to the bottom of the post and read what my overall conclusion is? I feel like the only way that I will be able to give you an accurate reading of this game is to fight myself internally.
StarLink: Battle For Atlas is a toys to life game that came out for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation. The game is centered around a group of pilots known as the StarLink initiative, whose main mission is to explore the galaxy, namely the Atlas star system. When they make it to the star system however, they are surrounded by space pirates and it becomes your mission to save your command ship. During your first battle, your ship comes under attack and the leader of your group is kidnapped. Now the initiative must band together and search Atlas for people who can help them get your leader back and ultimately save the star system.
I purposefully intended on giving you such a simple break down of the story because I feel like this is where the majority of this game is lacking. Sure, Ubisoft did put a lot of attention when it came to the cut scenes, but the story just didn’t sit right with me. It’s honestly just an average “team work focused” story about coming together to face overwhelming odds.
One of the coolest things about this game, and one of my main motivating factors was the addition of Star Fox!
Fox McCloud and the whole gang are in this game, fully voiced, fully rendered, and they even have their own missions. Ubisoft thought of the fans when they put these characters into the game. They are rendered beautifully and it makes me feel like they didn’t cut any corners. It made me want a true Star Fox game, and even made me feel like Ubisoft could pull it off.
However, with all the other story heavy games that have come out this year, sometimes a little bit of dumb is good for the mind. Because I am really not invested in the story, I can actually enjoy where this game shines.
What Will I do In This Game?:
That is a great question…Thanks for asking.
Have you ever played a game called No Man’s Sky? If you have, than pretty much that, but better.
If you haven’t played it, first of all, congratulations on saving your $60…hope you spent it well.
Secondly, I will give you the run down on what you can expect when you start getting into the game proper.
As you are given the controls to your ship and the freedom to progress however you see fit, you will realize that you are in this open galaxy. You can literally fly your ship towards a planet, and after a short cut scene of you entering the atmosphere, then travel around the planet and start exploring. Each planet is different and has its own charm. You will see worlds with lush forests teaming with weird plants and animals, as well as planets with fast open deserts and even crazier animals.
There is also a lot of activities that you can do on each world. Though they are all the same, they are pretty fun in their own right. You have your alien ship wrecks that you can decode and defend, you have bunkers and stations that are infested with enemies that you have to clear out, and you have various spires with extremely easy puzzles to solve. Each activity will give you upgrades for your ships and weapons, as well as money for you to spend on your ships, upgrades, or bases. It’s all very basic and take little to no brain power.
There are a couple of challenging aspects to each world in the form of boss like encounters. On each planet, you have to fight Primes and Extractors in order to fully take a planet back from the enemy. These battle will be a little more challenging and will involve some more thought when it comes to your weapon loadouts. However, I have never died when facing these threats and the difficulty was a nice change of pace.
If you have had your fill of a planet and would rather travel to space and do space stuff, then all you have to do is point your ship up and start flying. After a brief moment, you will be brought back into outer space. This whole concept of flying from outer space, to the planets, and vise versa is pretty cool. Although you can obviously see the inner workings of the system at play, you can let your mind go and just enjoy the transition.
So How Is The Combat?:
The combat comes in two different forms.
The first form is your space combat.
Basically, this will play out like any other flying simulator and is by far my favorite part of this game. The action is fast paced and often panic inducing. There have been plenty of encounters where I was faced with overwhelming odds and I had to change-up my strategies of the fly in order to survive. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t make it, Peppy’s voice would ring in my head…”Do a barrel roll!”
Oh and don’t think for one second that Peppy doesn’t say that at least once in this game. I yelled at my wife, who was in the other room, when Peppy said it. I ran into the room like I was in grade school again and started shouting, “BABY HE SAID THE THING!!”
Though the ground game isn’t as strong as the dog fights, the battles are still fun in their own ways. When you are on the planet, your ship will basically take on the controls of a tank….kinda.
You will be forced to move around a 2-dimensional plane, rather than a 3-dimensional, but you also have the ability to swiftly move around your opponents and dodge their attacks with more control. The ground battles are a lot easier than the dog fights, and often feel like a button masher rather than a methodical battle.
The ground game is where I utilized the variety of weapons that this game as to offer. There are interesting combinations that you can try out, and I never really felt like any one combination was better than the others. For awhile, I felt as though the homing missile Vortex weapon was way over powered, but it wasn’t without its limitations, namely when it came to battles in a small space. The vortex weapon will create a small field in the area that causes damage over time, but this could limit your movement and cause you to hurt yourself more than the enemy.
To this day, I really don’t know which combination of weapon is best, and I really like that aspect of the game. I would have hated to find out which set was best in the beginning and it may have caused me to stop playing it all together.
In The Beginning You Said This Was A Toys To Life Game, What Are The Toys Like?
Because I am a Star Fox fan, I bought the Starter Set on the Switch. Buying this set gave me a plastic replica of the Air Wing, as well as a small figure of Fox McCloud. The plastic is sturdy and the parts feel well put together. I am not much of a collector, but this looks and feels like it is worth way more than the $15 price tag.
You are given the ship, two weapons, Star Fox, and Marcus, as well as the joy-con holder with the set. By sliding in your Joy-Cons, you give your ship life. Power is taken from your controller in order for the holder to read the small chips located at the base of each piece that you place on your ship. Each time that you swap out a weapon or ship, the game will react and reflect your choices.
However, this is where all the nice words are going to have to stop.
Though the toys to life aspect is pretty cool, you can imagine just how expensive this can all become. When I went to GameStop to buy my copy, it cost me $75. With my money, I got the collectible, two weapons, and an extra ship. However, this ended up being nothing in the grand scheme of things. The two weapons ended up getting pretty old pretty fast after encountering numerous battles and the sight of the other weapons in my inventory made me think about all the fun that I could have been having with them. I felt like I was getting dooped. I know that this is how they wanted to take my money, and I wasn’t going to fall for this trap. Unfortunately, by not getting the extra weapons and ships, you are at a huge disadvantage.
First of all, without extra ships, you basically have only one life. Each ship is basically an extra life. Whenever you die, you have the option to plug-in a new ship and pick up right where you left off. If you choose not to use another ship, or if you don’t have another ship, then you have to spend in-game currency to revive your ship and it will bring you back to a former outpost. It’s not a lot of money, and money is pretty easy to get your hands on, but its the simple fact that you will often be surrounded by enemies and you could easily die if you are not careful. It seemed as though this was built into the game as a ploy for you to feel then need to buy more ships.
Second, the extra weapons not only break up the mundane game play, but you also need the different weapons to solve puzzles throughout the galaxy. Some puzzles will only react to certain weapon types and you will miss out on some great upgrades if you are not able to complete these tasks.
It’s unfortunate, and this is the worse part of this game, but it should come as no surprise. This is clearly a money grab. Toys to life are all about the money, and they did a great job at just that. However, it was a fad that died out and it seems as though Ubisoft is attempting to rekindle something that is just not there. If this game had come out when I was younger, I might have lost my mind and begged my parents for all of the toys. However, being older and wiser to corporate greed, I see through all of these tactics and I just feel sticky when I buy into it. And yes…I did buy all of the weapons and ships. They got me…and I don’t know how I feel about that.
This Has Been Pretty Long…Lets Wrap This Up
If you scrolled to the bottom of this post, I am disappointed in you, but I understand. I went on a tangent. A lot of my points were all over the place, but that is how I feel about this game. I love it, but at the same time hate it. I see the corporate greed that comes with a toys to life game, but I can also appreciate the hard work that went into building this game. I feel like Ubisoft took great care in bringing Star Fox into this world and made it feel like they could have actually belonged. The missions are similar between all the planets, and yet they did not leave me wanting more.
StarLink is a game that I can pick up for an hour or two, set it down, and get everything that I wanted out of the experience. I can see how someone would hate this game if they tried to beat it over a weekend because of the repetitiveness, and this is why this game will probably take me a long time to beat.
If you have a Switch, and you are looking for a game to play, I would recommend this game. It’s fun in short bursts and that game play is fun. It’s simply a fun and dumb game.
Thank you for sticking around and giving this a read. I wanted this impression to be a little different from the rest because this game is pretty different as well. I usually put a lot more thought into what I write and I honestly just wanted to see what I could do if I just throw up my thoughts.
What did you think? Are you going to try out StarLink? Do you like what you are playing? Let me know and lets discuss.
As always…thanks for reading!