Game Reviews

Starward Rogue

Starward Rogue is a bullet hell twin-stick shooter with roguelite elements, that was already available for PC way back in the year 2016. It was developed by Arcen Games and published by Polish Klabater for PlayStation 5 console on the 25th of January 2024, eight years after it was first brought to public. In it, you are cruising through the Megalith, which is a labyrinth lodged in the side of a star. It was my first time playing the game, as I have somehow missed it when it was released for computers.

RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 25, 2024
DEVELOPER: ARCEN GAMES
PUBLISHER: KLABATER
PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION 5

You start the game with a tutorial, which explains that you are in charge of a disembodied head in a mech. Interesting… You will learn how to move, move slowly and shoot with your primary and secondary weapons. After completing your training, you will be able to start a new game run. Before you start, you are allowed to choose your hull and difficulty. Each of the hulls available has different statistics for attack, range, missiles, energy, health and shields, plus a different secondary weapon and a special. Difficulties available are very easy, easy, normal, hard and misery, so the game can be played by players with no experience in shmups, and also those very skilled that enjoy a proper challenge. For review purposes, I was playing through the game on normal difficulty, which already presents quite a challenge.

In each of the runs you need to get through five floors, and every floor has a boss battle when you reach the last room of the floor. The gameplay reminds me a lot of The Binding of Isaac, except that you control a mech and you shoot bullets and missiles instead of tears. The bosses are very well made and fun to battle, and the other enemies – the regular and also minibosses – are well varied as well. Every time that you level up, you will be able to select a different perk for your gameplay, and you will choose one from three that are offered to you. The game features more than three-hundred fifty items, ranging from different weapons, consumables and upgrades. Against you will stand more than a hundred and fifty regular enemies, a dozen of minibosses and twenty+ bosses. There are more than five-hundred rooms to explore, and some of them are survival rooms, so there is plenty of replayability available in Starward Rogue.

Starward Rogue is pretty addicting and has good graphics, with plenty of enemy bullets speeding towards you. The controls are tight so you can avoid those bullets with precision, while enemies continue their quest of taking you out, and they are quite unforgiving at it. It features quality gameplay, greatly delivers what it promises to deliver, and is really fun playing. I wholeheartedly recommend getting Starward Rogue, especially if you are a fan of bullet hell shmups. I cannot believe I missed it when it first released, but the PlayStation 5 version looks gorgeous, so I am not too pissed about it. Get it!

GRADE

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