Sea of Stars takes a step into the classic JRPG genre that has some of the classic titles like Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, and more. It is a modern game developed by Sabotage Studio that is set in the world of The Messenger, a classic side-scrolling JRPG. Sea of Stars is a prequel to The Messenger and its narrative does justice by telling an intriguing story in JRPG style.
Any old gamer can tell that the Sea of Stars is heavily inspired by the classic titles of 16 & 32-bit era games and they can feel right at home while playing Sea of Stars. The story takes place way before the time of The Messenger and it revolves around two main characters, Zale and Valere. Two young mysterious magical warriors have been delivered to the people living in Mooncradle Village and are brought up as Solstice Warriors at Zenith Academy.
The story of Sea of Stars is compelling and engaging as you will never get bored by the dialogues that take place between the characters and the NPCs that they meet throughout the journey. You will get to begin your adventure while looking for your old friend named Garl which will then take you 10 years back where you will get to experience the training for both of the main characters. After becoming the true Solstice Warriors, you will get to use the Lunar and Solar abilities. You will begin your search for your old friend and it will take you back from where you started.
As you progress further, you will get to meet with your old childhood friend and the warmth of their friendship can be seen clearly when they meet. Garl will join you in your adventure of taking out the evil spirits which will take you to some of the exciting places, beautiful places, horrifying places, and the places that you didn’t expect. Throughout the journey, you will cross through various towns and establishments that will have several activities for you to partake in. For instance, spinning the wheels to defeat the previous champion of the game to earn useful rewards, you will find it at every bar you cross in your journey.
Climbing on cliffs, going through the caves, setting up the campfires to cook the recipes that you learned, all of the interactions will keep you engaged with the game. Crossing through a town and partaking in a fish activity will help you catch fish that can be used in recipes or it can give you a hidden Relic that can apply certain effects on your character. Interacting with the Campfire will allow you to cook dishes with the fish, vegetables, fruits, and other eatables that you found on your journey which will help you replenish your HP and MP during combat.
Speaking of Combat, Sea of Stars offers a classic turn-based combat experience to the players. The ability to make strategies for defeating an enemy/boss is quite compelling and as it is a modern game, there are some complex systems that players should consider learning before making destructive moves. One of the classic combat systems that you will get to refresh in your mind is the ability to enhance attack by pressing the X Button at the time of impact, similar to Super Mario RPG. You will also be able to block or deflect attacks to take less damage from the enemies by pressing the X Button at the time of impact. These combat mechanics are one of the classics and players will be using them throughout the battles in which they encounter.
The complex system that is worth mentioning is the lock system. Sometimes, enemies will get ready to attack and have symbols next to them. These symbols show the kind of damage they can be hurt by, like sun, moon, blade, or blunt. If you use the right kind of attack that matches the symbol, it will make the enemies weaker or stop their attack completely when you get rid of all the symbols. Every enemy and boss will have these symbols on when they are readying their attacks so, make sure to hit them with the same kind of attack to deal critical damage to them and make them vulnerable. Once you have mastered this system, you will not have to worry about encountering enemies as they will become another layer of cake for you to clear.
The level designs are enriched with classic 16 & 32-bit era vibes and the music just makes you hum along the areas you go through. The puzzles that you get to complete in the dungeons are interesting and will leave you for a moment to solve the puzzle first in your head and then apply it in the game.
Verdict – Score 9/10
Sea of Stars is a really fun game from the beginning to the end. It takes ideas from old RPG games but makes itself special with a cool story, interesting characters, and lots of background information. The fighting is exciting because you need to think and plan, and the pixelated world you explore looks fantastic. It’s not completely perfect, but it makes up for its problems with a nice style, a big world to explore, and lots of uniqueness.
Sea of Stars is now available on PC, PlayStation 5/4, XBOX Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.