Developed by: Satur Entertainment
Published by: Sometimes You
Platforms : PC / PS4 / Xbox One / Switch
Reviewed on: PS4 Pro
In the realm of 2D shooters nowadays, there’s always an innovative move to make the games stand out than previous predecessors in the genre. Adding the ability to harness multiple weapons, having multiple orientations for the game be it vertical or horizontal, being able to summon sidekicks to your aid and so much more. Stellatum shows us a more humble yet fun approach to the game, initially giving the player a small story to tell and understand what is at stake in the game. Coupling the fact that the ship in the game has the ability for upgrades and whatnot, players will find the game interesting and fun to play as they progress and explore the capabilities of what the player’s ship is able to do in the long run.
The game puts you behind the wheel of a ship belonging to an extra-terrestrial race seeking to dominate the plains of outer space. You are given initially a pretty jacked up ship that is able to take down enemies alike with ease, and at the same time stop asteroids that may collide in your path as you engage with enemies. As you slowly learn that the initial ship was just part of a basic tutorial/training level, you then receive a pretty bare bone’s ship that isn’t that well equipped. But it isn’t long till you are able to access upgrades for it.
After the tutorial level, you uncover a galaxy-looking map presented to you, stars that represent the mission you can undertake in the game. In total, there are about 60 missions, if you include the side missions as well. Your ship, in the beginning, is pretty weak and downright the total opposite of the initial ship you were able to control for a brief moment. As you progress through the levels, you uncover the ability to equip your ship with better equipment/gear to improve the ship’s handling, armaments and its shield.
The storytelling in the game’s campaign isn’t vivid enough to put a picture on what situation the player is in. There’s not much of depth and emphasis put on the storyline of the game. Seems to me the storyline was more of an afterthought, rather than the main aspect of the game. Nevertheless, it sufficed for the games campaign and gameplay is what made continuation more fun and exciting.
As you find out early in the game, the playstyle isn’t your basic vertical shooter with a fixed shooting position with enemies coming from a specific location of the screen. Instead, you control your ship with both your analog sticks independently. The left stick controls the flight of the ship, whereas the right stick rotates your ship towards your desired direction. It was a bit difficult to get the hang of at first, but as you play along, you kind of get used to slowly but surely. The game doesn’t operate like your usual shooter in terms of flight movement and etc. There’s definitely weight to the ship that you pilot at first, due to the fact that without any upgrades, your ship is as slow and hampers around like a lug. With the right amount of upgrades, zipping around the screen avoiding enemy fire and incoming asteroids become a breeze.
The main aspect of this game boils down to the upgradeability of your ship. You collect parts and materials as you complete missions, bonus parts come with the side missions. As you collect these materials, you are able to forge and create certain parts of your ship that attributes to its ability for improved flying and combat ability. Different upgrades will yield different results for your ship, so as long as you have the right parts, you are able to create a pretty devastating killer ship with awesome firepower.
Stellatum sets itself apart from other competitors with its quirky enhancement system for its ship, the challenging yet engaging controls and also its ability to make sure players stay engaged with the game with various missions and side missions. I do feel however the storytelling of the game is its partial downfall, as there isn’t much context to it for us to fully understand the story behind the game. The fact that there is no sign of multiplayer availability for the console is also a shame, a lot of fun could have been incorporated within a multiplayer aspect in this game, as players would be able to enjoy blasting enemies away with the help of friends around.
- Challenging yet fun aspect of playstyle
- Numerous amounts of missions
- Broad upgrade section for ship
- Slow gameplay
- Very little context in the campaign story
- No multiplayer support