Sea of Stars review: a retro-inspired RPG that lives up to classics

Sea of Stars heroes Zale and Valere crouching in front of moon

“Sea of Stars goes beyond retro homage to narrate a though-provoking indie RPG with a solid fight system at its coronary heart.”


  • Humorous, but meaty narrative

  • Enticing fight

  • Diverse settings

  • Transferring soundtrack


  • Limited like a flash scoot

  • Easy to score caught

I didn’t question Sea of Stars to exceed any expectations. It begins with two heroes and their droll reduction buddy on a quest to fulfill their prophecies … or whatever. Its preliminary fourth-wall-breaking humor had me ready for a delicate-weight meta RPG. Then, after a hell of a mood shift at the halfway point, I spotted that the stellar fight and procedure make was once genuinely connected to an emotionally evocative and competently crafted narrative.

Sea of Stars | Launch Trailer

Zale and Valere are Solstice Warriors, these born on a solstice and trained within the art of Eclipse Magic. They are dwelling in an international tormented by the sorcerer Fleshmancer’s creations, especially Dwellers, essentially the most highly effective of all of them. After years of training, Zale and Valere area out on a mission to quell what’s supposedly the final Dweller. Alternatively, their narrative ends up being powerful bigger than that as they stumble on contemporary territories, foes, and a prophecy that they didn’t know prolonged beyond stars. It’s a gripping interstellar scoot that I’m comfy I caught with.

Sabotage Studios blends capabilities from Colossal Mario RPG, Illusion of Gaia, and Chrono Field off to like Sea of Stars, its ideal RPG yet. It contains fight quirks adore timed hits and twin attacks that pressure you to hear methodology after you’ve selected a switch, and retains encounters thrilling with the assorted enemies all around the vivid, pixelated landscapes. All that, plus reliable storytelling, attach it the simplest indie RPG that I’ve played this one year.

Surprisingly belief-provoking narrative

On the bottom, Sea of Stars’ narrative is adore every varied yarn RPG starring superpowered children on a quest to save the sector. Alternatively, it subverts the trope with a substitute in tone towards the center of the scoot, even supposing it retains the humorous dialogue all over.

Valere, Zale, and Garl as kids in front of magic willow
Picture oldschool with permission by copyright holder

Its narrative leans into humor as laborious because it does into heavier matters adore inconvenience and obligation. I anticipated it to help the lighthearted tone it had at the origin with out delving into characters’ emotions as powerful because it did. Within the end, it impressed me with how it had me at the fringe of my seat with the expressive portraits, climatic music, and dramatic animations at the tensest moments of the game.

Alternatively, you’re going to potentially score pleasure from Sea of Stars a lot extra must you droop disbelief. It soundless suffers from the goofy or in any other case helpful happenstances figured out in anime yarn video games. Sea of Stars isn’t a game I’d play completely for the narrative. Finally, there are many video games with right reviews. But I’d counsel it fixed with how the narrative blends with the relaxation of the equipment.

Flip-basically basically based fight with a twist

Sea of Stars‘ crown jewel is its fight, from its filled with life, fascinating sprites to its “lock” system that encourages gamers to hit enemies with the lawful form of weaknesses sooner than they unleash their next switch. It capabilities a turn-basically basically based fight system the attach gamers regulate up to three occasion contributors and freely resolve which one acts first in a given turn. Characters will also be swapped for a bunch reasons, including to live to narrate the tale an enemy attack or to counter a form weak point. These principles encouraged me to make use of all my occasion contributors on narrative of one and all felt adore they had a device, something that infrequently gets misplaced in translation when RPGs absorb too many characters.

Valere, Zale, and Garl combating ram monster
Picture oldschool with permission by copyright holder

Timed hits especially stand out. Sea of Stars rewards you for pressing buttons at upright the lawful time, allowing you to interrupt two weaknesses straight away or deal extra injure than you on the general would. If I timed my presses upright lawful, I could perchance weaken an enemy twice as powerful with the lawful personality. Characters can assemble combos or “ultimates” after they attach up adequate vitality from landing hits on enemies, so managing these meters added to the bother. Players may perchance also use a “are dwelling mana” means to infuse characters with magic for breaking weaknesses, even if they’re out of mana.

All this to claim that Sea of Stars’ fight affords a refreshing substitute of tempo. The timed hits attach me genuinely feel adore I’m an brisk participant within the general battles. Whereas you happen to don’t adore something about the fight, chances are high you’ll perchance also also alter it to a pair degree with a Relic, an item that can attach bigger or reduce the topic of your playthrough. I didn’t use many on narrative of I desired to help the expertise as pure as imaginable, but I did use one which implemented a “designate flare” to extra clearly narrate whether or no longer I timed a hit neatly.

What a stupendous, confusing world

Sea of Stars is type of as powerful of a puzzle game because it is miles an RPG. Every of its procedure challenges gamers to use environmental instruments and powers they’ve amassed all over their playthrough. As an illustration, there’s a wind implies that can switch platforms alongside a area direction. It may perchance perchance perchance also be oldschool to cure puzzles adore powering a raft or pushing platforms into start slots in a wall adore a key. Some parts also encompass minigames adore matching tiles fixed with memory to liberate the next part of a procedure.

Sabotage retains the grindiest parts about RPGs out of Sea of Stars.

It feels gratifying to sooner or later manufacture puzzles after racking my mind over certain solutions for several minutes. Alternatively, Sea of Stars may perchance elevate pleasure in an goal marker or varied methodology of hinting at what to connect next, in order that it isn’t as easy to score “caught.” These moments the attach I stalled for an resolution were long adequate that I dreaded no longer being in a characteristic to procure my methodology via a route. It’ll also merely no longer be adequate to turn me away, but it may well probably perchance with out say persuade a much less affected person participant to position down the controller.

For essentially the most segment, Sabotage retains the grindiest parts about RPGs out of Sea of Stars. You obtained’t be compelled to absorb interaction in fight in random encounters, even supposing monsters will scuttle after you if they watch you of their line of seek. You furthermore mght soar straight into battle with out a transition, so fights genuinely feel breezy with out loading monitors breaking them up. Grinding is worn, so I will be able to battle a handful of enemies here and there with out working via the procedure over and over, upright to stage up for a boss fight.

Zale, Valere, and Serai combating wind dragon in Sea of Stars
Picture oldschool with permission by copyright holder

Sea of Stars also does a ambitious job of inserting off backtracking, which is valuable for a game with restricted like a flash scoot. Players may perchance stumble upon a hidden shortcut after polishing off a stage, adore a river that carries them help to the entrance, or procure that a closed-off segment of the procedure is all straight away accessible thanks to a contemporary tool or vitality they’ve earned. These minute additions elevate away as many inconveniences as imaginable with out copying the system from in model RPGs.

Alternatively, higher like a flash scoot would had been welcome on account of how enormous the sector is. There are a pair of strategies, adore dwelling statues that throw (and spit) you between pick islands, but revisiting most of the towns turns right into a chore. Steering a nervous pirate ship between the locales shall be frigid, but it’s no longer exactly helpful.

Whereas you happen to can are dwelling with a pair of of its missing objects, Sea of Stars is a ambitious homage to primary RPGs. It does that with out merely leaning on retro nostalgia. As a change, it delivers a special scoot all its believe filled with humor, dramatic weight, and a ingenious battle system that’s completely its believe. It’s both a respectful watch help at the past and a valorous step ahead for indie RPGs.

Sea of Stars was once reviewed on a PlayStation 4.

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