Stellar Stars takes you to new levels

The non-stop flow of new maps does not allow you to memorise the fastest way to get through a level or learning the best way to beat the enemies. This makes the game always fresh, and it really keeps you on your toes.
The non-stop flow of new maps does not allow you to memorise the fastest way to get through a level or learning the best way to beat the enemies. This makes the game always fresh, and it really keeps you on your toes.PHOTO: WHITESPONGE

Stellar Stars is a 2-D platformer that harks back to the good old days of gaming, with retro Midi tunes and blocky, 8-bit graphics.

It has a meta, self-referential premise - you play as David (the actual founder of game studio WhiteSponge), who gets sucked into the game world that he is developing and needs to find a way back out.

David is a small, squarish red block that can shoot projectiles to destroy enemies. He can also deploy special moves and collect ammunition for powered-up attacks.

What is great about Stellar Stars is the level variety. Each map is procedurally generated, which means that it changes each time you die and respawn.

Because of the non-stop flow of new maps, there is no way of memorising the fastest way to get through a level or learning the best way to beat the enemies. This makes the game always fresh, and it really keeps you on your toes.

However, this also significantly ups the difficulty level of the game, which I already found quite tough to get through. You start off with six life points, which are supposed to get you through an entire stage comprising multiple levels.

  • 7/10

    RATING

    PRICE: $14.99 (PC, version reviewed)

    GENRE: Platformer

Each time you get hit, you lose a point. And probably due to my abysmal hand-eye coordination, I found myself spending over an hour at each stage (there is also no way to toggle the game difficulty).

An option to change the controls, which are currently optimised for an Xbox controller, would be good. I used a keyboard to play the game, and movements were bound to keys W, A, S and D, while attacks were J, K and L. If I had a choice, I would rather movement be bound to my more dexterous right hand.

A large portion of the game is supposed to be multiplayer, as there are leagues to compete in and ladders to climb. But, due to the small player base now, it is tough to find a match - I queued for more than 10 minutes on multiple occasions, but was unable to find an opponent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Stellar Stars takes you to new levels'. Print Edition | Subscribe