Game: Starlit Adventures Golden Stars
Genre: Adventure, Arcade, Platformer, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4 and mobile)
Developer|Publisher: Rockhead Studios
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £19.99 | EU € 19,99 | AU $29.99 | US $14.99| CAD $ n.a.
Release Date: 17th July 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Rockhead Studios
I gave up long ago on mobile gaming. I didn’t like the crazy amount of free to play games with microtransactions, and my iPod touch quickly went from being this nifty multi-entertainment device to just being something I listened to podcasts on. Moving forward, gaming remained on dedicated handhelds and consoles. That’s how things would stay for over 12 years. Since beginning to review for LadiesGamers, I have had the opportunity to cover a decent amount of games whose lives started off on mobile and are now getting a second chance with a port to Switch. For the most part, I’ve been rather impressed by the quality. Today, we have Starlit Adventures Golden Stars, an adorable looking game that’s free to play on mobile right now. The Switch version looks to win your heart over for a price, but with absolutely zero microtransactions. Is it worth the port? Let’s dig in and find out.
The Good Kind of Mole
You play as Bo and Kikki, a small person and their giant mole pet with a star for a nose. It’s a cute family-friendly design, with the giant mole taking inspiration from the real star-nosed mole whose nose looks just a little creepier than the cuter version in this game. But real-life moles are actually fascinating creatures and I highly recommend you look them up or visit your local zoo to learn more about them when you get a chance. The levels are loaded with colour and it’s generally hard not to smile at the cute factor. As you dig around the levels, you will also have a fun-loving score to listen to as well. Starlit is a game that’s clearly and effectively aiming for the family-friendly crowd.
While I found the mole to look rather adorable, my wife totally disagreed and found the design to be rather creepy. (It’s the white eyes and nose—totally looks like some kind of nightmare creature!)
Dig for Victory
The game is a vertical-scrolling adventure. The goal for each level is to reach the end by digging through blocks of dirt while performing some simple block-pushing puzzles. Along the way, you’ll want to collect up to three stars per level so you can unlock future levels, collect treasure and rack up a high score by defeating enemies, and collect sticker packs to complete an album in the main menu (which may tickle some Kirby players’ funny bone). If you like collectibles, this game may be right up your alley.
Before you start a level you get to choose from various outfits like a Ninja suit, bomb suit, and my personal favourite: the dino suit. Each suit allows you to use unique abilities which will provide a notable advantage on some levels, but not in others. The game seems to make the mistake of giving you the full choice of outfits right from the get-go. When I tried the original mobile version, the outfits were drip-fed to you in a design that seemed to work better; it gives you a chance to try each outfit out as opposed to being overwhelmed with too much choice. Occasionally, some levels will force you to use a particular outfit, but for the most part it was fun experimenting. Some outfits clearly give a notable advantage over others, particularly on boss fights.
Casual for Everyone
The game is very casual. It appears to have been designed to cause as little stress as possible and just provide a nice casual adventure. While a single hit from an enemy or trap will cause you to fail, the game lets you choose to restart the level or simply respawn at the nearest checkpoint with no penalty. Essentially, if you want to make this game harder, the player has to choose it by restarting the level from the start or choosing a less favourable outfit for the level with a limited skill set.
Loaded with Content
This title is loaded with plenty of content. There are over 60 levels in the main story as well as several challenge levels to explore. If that’s still not enough, there’s “Infinite tower” mode where you try to progress as far as you can while gaining the highest score possible. There’s plenty to keep you busy and the best part is that all of these modes can be enjoyed in co-op with up to 4 players. So, you know what that means: throw a joy-con to your sibling, your dog, and possibly the mole in the garden, and create some gaming memories.
Where’s the TATE?
While a lot has been done to bring this game over to Switch, I did have a few issues. It was a little disappointing the game doesn’t offer a TATE mode. This is where you can flip the Switch screen into portrait mode to make better use of vertical-style games. Examples of games that use this are Downwell and Ikaruga. Instead, it sticks with the borders on either side to match with the game’s mobile roots.
Worth Digging Up
Starlit Adventures Golden Stars is a great game for the whole family. It’s a casual adventure with very little stress and some guaranteed laughs. The addition of co-op for up to 4 players is most welcome and the enormous amount of content on offer easily justifies the game’s jump to consoles. Plus, it’s not often that you play a game where you ride a giant mole who kills enemies by farting fireballs at them (provided you’re wearing the right suit). I think that in itself sells me on this charming title… but that’s just me.
Final Verdict: I liked it a lot!