StarCrossed Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: StarCrossed
Genre: Action, Arcade, Co-Op
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One)
Developer|Publisher: Contigo Games | Whitethorn Digital 
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £7.99 | EU 9,99 | AU $15.00 | CA $13.00 | US $9.99
Release Date: 29th April 2019

Review code provided with many thanks to Whitethorn Digital

We’re Starcrossed

The term ‘Star Crossed’ makes me think of two things. One, some cheesy Romeo and Juliet style story line in a film like Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. Why did I think of this film? Because my mind works in very odd ways sometimes. Two, the song Star Crossed by Ash from their hit album Meltdown. In fact as I played through the video game StarCrossed, this song swirled around in my head quite a bit.  Alas this game has nothing to do with Romeo and Juliet. Unless I missed some hidden message of course.

More like Star Explosion

StarCrossed is a Kickstarter success story they were able to get all the funding for back in late 2018. Since then they’ve been hard at work on the game and now, after just under two years, the game has released to backers and the gamer public. Let’s explore to see if the stars are shining in all the right ways for this uniquely designed arcade game.

love rules

Anime as Heck

StarCrossed has two modes, story or arcade, the latter being basically endless waves of enemies and stopping to occasionally grade your progress. Story mode adds in a surprising amount of depth to what appears to be a simple arcade game. You follow 5 heroines as they travel across the stars to find a big crystal stolen by another nasty space lady. The kind of story the kids sometimes call ‘Anime as heck’: there’s a lot of emphasis on friendship and building bonds. It’s about as cheesy as they come. But for a game that looks this colorful I’m all for it.

The characters are kinda fun

Unique Arcade Spin

StarCrossed at its heart is a arcade title. When looking at footage I thought it would be some super cute pong inspired game. On playing it I soon realized there’s a bit more to it than that. You choose two characters from a roster of five. You then get popped into space and start bouncing a star between the two characters.

If you play alone you control each character with the analogue nubs on the joy cons. If you play co-op (which I recommend if you can) you each control a character individually. You of course don’t have to rely only on the joy-cons. I played with the pro controller mostly while my co op partner Melissa used both joy-cons. As you move each character about, the star will travel to each character like a sort of homing beacon. This completely throws my Pong theory out the window.

Pong this is not

In Space Everyone can see you Shine

Enemies appear randomly on screen. The idea being that you bounce the star between your characters and as it crosses the enemies it damages them. It’s a sort of simple in concept but quite complex to master. You need to be quite good with coordinating your characters or occasionally shouting at your co-op partner so you are lined up correctly to take down the enemies. Enemies come thick and fast and have a variety of designs to keep you moving across the screen to avoid them or their projectiles. You can also tap a button to hit the star back to your partner quicker. Doing this speeds the star up and helps feed a meter at the bottom of the screen. This meter will allow you to unleash an ultimate move which basically destroys all baddies on screen. These are different for each character but they all seem to serve the same purpose. Pretty handy in a pinch with the boss battles though.

Ultimate moves are very……star focused

There are no difficulty settings but I did notice if you die a lot, your ultimate bar is filled more each time. In fact we clearly were rubbish later in the story mode, as we restarted some areas with a full ultimate bar. A handy way to keep playing but would be nice if it was optional.

5 colourful characters

Sparkle sparkle

Graphics are delightfully colorful. The game actually feels a little like an old Captain Planet cartoon. Only with heavy emphasis on space, all very flashy and sparkly. The music doesn’t particularly stand out but it works for the space theme. Considering one of the protagonist is an ‘Idol’ I was expecting a bit more of a cheesy pop like soundtrack. Oh well.

A little misstep is that the game has small snippets of voice acting when you fire off an Ultimate or get a Game Over. The line delivery is pretty flat and uninspired by most voice acting standards. In fact my co-op partner and I laughed rather loudly at the Game Over screen as one of characters read ‘I’m not strong enough’ like they had been forced to stand up in class and recite their lines to a teacher. At least you might get the odd chuckle yourself from this.

Bats why is it always bats

A Star in Space

StarCrossed is a fun colorful little arcade game. There’s something quite different here if you like the quick pick up and play arcade style game. It’s a little rough round the edges with awful voice acting and short story mode. Its biggest strength is in co-op but I had plenty of fun alone as well, trying to rack up the occasional high score in arcade mode. The developers have done a great job releasing a product on a small budget. My hope for them is this game leads to many more unique gameplay designs in the future. Good job.

Final Verdict: I liked it


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