Delusional interstellar journey between the frenzy of RECCA and the crazy atmospheres of WarioWare in our review of Project Starship X.
Sometimes, in one of our reviews , we tend to get caught up in logorrhea, but in other cases the basic idea can be simple enough to keep us busy just long enough to see what the game does right (and what it doesn’t): and it is this happened with Project X Starship . It is a shoot-em-up , which oscillates several times between the trappings of the genre and the deviations of the bullet hell branch . In addition, a dose of extravagance prevails in the game that never hurts to stand out from the crowd. However, having just covered a shoot-em-up talking about Space Invaders Forever , it would be the ideal time to make a clarification.
In short, the “simple” shoot-em-up involves the movement of a spacecraft, twice out of three stylized more than ever, to be moved left and right while avoiding enemy fire. Inflicting blows without taking any is the soul of the genre, to which the son just mentioned has added a little more spice . A bullet hell is in fact a shoot-em-up characterized by a hitbox – the parts of our avatar, in this case the shuttle, sensitive to collisions – much smaller than the aircraft. This advantage is compensated by the considerable price to pay for an industrial quantity of enemy bullets to be avoided on the screen: in fact, a “hell of bullets”, or bullet hell in English.
“There’s an abandoned shuttle here, it’s my turn?”
We are tempted to abandon ourselves to the notes of Starlight Brigade , but more than the song sung by Dan Avidan this Project Starship X reminded us more of the student spirit of the rest of his repertoire with the Ninja Sex Party group being reviewed. As the tradition of the genre dictates (with the most abstruse exceptions, such as Sisters Royale or Jamestown + ), the plot is really stripped down. The four playable characters (not counting the extras), of which only two are available at the start of the game, don’t particularly differ in their abilities, and likewise don’t have much to say in terms of personal history.
On the contrary, the game has a lot to sell in personality. Hardly we happened to see a slingshot against the fourth wall into the character selection screen, but this is one of the many touches with which the cast of the game reminds us to focus more on vague archetype cadet hopelessly become unlikely hero than what Neon Genesis Evangelion inadvertently made a cliché. We wouldn’t know which point of the spectrum we are on, but for better or worse we’re halfway between the space rangers of Buzz Lightear from Star Command and the meat of Star Trek: Lower Decks .
All the clarity of a rave party – Project Starship X review
After a bizarre selection of languages between English, Japanese and Italian (we are as confused as you are about this record), our Project Starship X “review game” opens with a disclaimer. “ Be careful! Epilepsy risk! ”The writer boasts a tolerance for flashing lights a little below average, but we would be lying if we were to define the flickering of the game as something really excessive (except in the most agitated phases, where the annoyance is tangible). We wouldn’t dwell too much on this preamble, but the game somehow manages to pull off half a flaw. However, it is nothing that penalizes the title… no more than it should, at least.
The game, like almost every exponent of the genre, is mostly based on an arcade soul . The only mode, for a hard and pure shoot-em-up experience, appears in the main menu with a terse “Play”. The good news is that the title when it leads to bullet hell adopts warning signs (complete with triangles) as a warning . Which is good, given the cornucopia of obstacles present simultaneously on the screen. The bad one is the aforementioned flickers, which don’t exactly match idyllically with the game’s design. If you just can’t handle the flashing lights, you can stop reading right now.
Heart-pounding Action – Project Starship X Review
The minimalism of Project Starship X extends into the game mechanics as well, which we will try to explain as best we can in this review. To hinder us in our intent is the lack of explanations in this title; obviously, a shoot-em-up shouldn’t have to explain anything to us, but there are actually well-defined dynamics we’d rather not gloss over. In addition to moving the shuttle, there are two actions we can take. The first of them is fire , which in pure bullet hell tradition allows us to hold down the appropriate button for a continuous flow.
The second is the forward momentum, or ” dash “. This shot does not boast any offensive power, but on the other hand its uses on the field are many. We can use it to pass through enemy fire, for example: a tactic that the positioning of the enemies makes indispensable from the first level. In addition to this, power-ups can only be collected with momentum. If we also count the presence of life points, the obligation to restart from the beginning (and no, we do not mean the beginning of a single level) at each game over and the slowed movement while opening fire on the enemy, we discover that there is no lack of space for strategy. If nothing else, it is undoubtedly a title for the experts of the genre.
Hard Coin – Project Starship X Review
During the review phase, we ran into some roguelike elements that the Project Starship X trailer had vaguely alluded to. In short, between levels there is a chance to run into a shop where you can spend some of the coins – which the game distributes generously – for powerups. The selection is made with the mechanics of the shots, as always. We take this opportunity to extend the powerup discourse, because perhaps we have not given a clear idea of how unsuitable (for better or for worse) the game actually is.
The momentum mechanics is in fact subject to a cooldown, comparable to what was seen in the first Crash Bandicoot : each use of the forward sprint must be measured. Not surprisingly, in fact, the level design is nothing short of merciless with the players who waste it. Furthermore, the shot is directional but never for purely lateral movements, nor for backing away: the maximum choice is limited to diagonal movements, and therefore it is a matter of rigor to plan the moves well in advance. Between the continuous flickering and the frenetic pace of level design, however, an inexperienced player will not really have a single moment of respite.
Pimp my ship, or maybe not – Project Starship X review
We conclude our review of Project Starship X by commenting on the list of options present in the main menu of the game. In fact, there is an option to play together in co-op (renamed with a nice, and very Neapolitan, “We are in 2”). For the rest, there’s not much to add: the options are stripped down, instead putting a hard and pure shoot-em-up experience aimed at putting our skills to the test. There is a menu for options on a purely technical level, but graphically we can only speak of a “red filter” that dyes the screen with the aforementioned color and another filter that transforms our HD screens into CRT TVs.
There is therefore no mention of the possibility of removing the psychedelic alternation of colors, and from this point of view the other options do not add much to the experience. The audio menu boasts the usual choices for music and sound effects (which we’ll talk about – well – shortly). For the rest, there is only the possibility to change the language and to bring the save data back to the starting point, just to close the circle of the hardcore niche that the game itself is aiming for.
Technically speaking – Project Starship X review
So let’s sum up in this review of Project Starship X starting with the analysis of the graphic engine . We talked recently about pixel art artist Andy Robertson, and in a way the game reminds us of his work… for good, yes, but also for bad. All the bizarre ideas that pop up on screen, from the WarioWare- style character design to the mere existence of a zombie Hitler piloting a mechanical version of Zero from Kirby’s Dream Land 3 , results in a game that certainly doesn’t lack character. However, the continuous play of light – which even a Square-Enix title would call exaggerated – pay homage to Robertson a little too much, just enough to exacerbate (sometimes) the experience.
Musically speaking, there is really nothing to complain about. Seeing the name of a composer concurrently with the title screen, as Yuzo Koshiro teaches us with Streets of Rage , is a great sign. Seeing even before that we have a pseudonym to associate the music of the game, then, we anticipate that we will hear some good ones. And in fact, novtos (or “Sinoryu Z” on Soundcloud) does not disappoint, with chiptune sounds always pressing from the first moments of play to the distortion that accompanies our last point of life. The sound effects are also excellent, between the NES and a deliberately contrasting auditory cleanliness.
In general, the gameplay of Project Starship X analyzed in the review phase translates as a version of Summer Carnival ’92: RECCA that accelerates a lot on style, while braking sharply on accessibility. The resulting funnel provides the record-breaking niche with a game that knows how to put it to the test, and that for the ten euros it requires offers a well-proportioned challenge. For the rest of the videogame community, for our part, we would recommend with an open heart to do the apprenticeship elsewhere: the excellent shoot-em-ups on the current platforms are not lacking.
The longevity of the title, being a game that has its roots in the arcade, is based a lot on how much the player cares about the highest score. For the rest, there is not a sense of completeness in the contents sufficient to justify (for newbies) the admission price. The game is certainly not lacking in personality, but the characters and their story do not go beyond the archetypes and tropes that have been mocked up. It’s about the journey, not the destination , but if you’ve already practiced elsewhere (and have seen the episode of Pokémon banned for excess strobes without problems) it can be worth it.