Guitar Hero Live was the last time I used a “toy” for a game, and even though I had fun, the flame didn’t last long. So, this was why I was surprised Activision was trying again with StarLink: Battle for Atlas. This game links with toys and figures you can buy and is actually pretty fun.
The one thing that you should know, is that the physical accessories aren’t needed. You can buy their digital counterparts for the same price, and it means that you don’t need to have lots of parts and toys lieing around. The starter pack I got allows me to play as two characters, one being Fox McCloud, which is why most people are getting the game. There are other digital copies including the deluxe version, which gives you everything out of the box, but there are no toys.
There is a great mix of dog fighting and exploration in Starlink. Playing this game makes me think, that this should have been No Mans Sky. There are hyper jumps, you can go from space through the atmosphere onto a planet with no cut scene! The whole game looks like a dream, and the graphics are amazing. I understand that the developers needed to cut corners in order for this to run on the Switch, but you hardly ever notice. Planets, fighting and just flying around is vibrant and dynamic.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Nintendo Switch Trailer
Though I did find planets starting to feel a bit samey, you do have to give the developers credit, as this hand-designed landscapes have their own distinctive feel and colour. There are 7 planets per planetary system, making this feel like Ubisofts biggest game ever. Though I forgot the storyline for the game after the 5th minute of play, the voice and artworks for the characters you speak and interact with are on-point.
You get a controller dock for the physical ship, so when in dock mode, you are playing with a hefty ship on the end of the joycons. This means that if you want to change the wings or add a weapon, you can switch and click the new ones in place. You can also play digitally, which means that you can do this from within the game menu instead. I did find myself leaving the ship to one side and playing just digitally. Fox McCloud’s ability is to call a ship down to help out, which has saved my life a number of times.
One game element I didn’t get behind is the changing ships and wings. I think this is more aimed at kids. As they can build their own designs and use their imaginations. Whereas I just want to shoot down spaceships. The enemies you face can be difficult to kill, this is where combing attacks come into play. As I found out you can combine attacks to make them have a bigger effect on the enemy. Some enemies have a weakness like fire or ice. So you need to make sure you are using the right combo of weapons.
They have done Fox McCloud justice, with great voice work, and his integration into the story. This feels like a Starfox game. If anything should show Nintendo that they need to push through a Starfox game quickly.
The controls were really easy to pick up, and I was doing barrel rolls after the first 10 mins. The RPG element of the game is where I have an issue. The upgrade system is built around having to keep killing enemies to increase your resources. After that you have to defeat harvesters. These are placed on each planet, these all look similar so can be a little monotonous.
Overall Starlink is a great game. In other words, the port for the Switch looks great and feels on par with some of the top games already out. Finally, please check out our other gaming reviews.