Sea of Stars

I had been following Sea of Stars for quite a while after I first saw some of the amazing pixel artwork that had been done with the game, and when it was included with Playstation+, I was extremely surprised. I’ve played through a significant portion of it so far. I’m currently exploring the world with new abilities before approaching the last battle in the normal game. I will have New Game+ content to go through afterwards. 

I have to say that I really, really love this game. It is a love letter to the 16bit RPGs from the Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis days and it is absolutely gorgeous…and fun! It definitely nails the vibe of the SNES Final Fantasy games, Breath of Fire series, as well as channeling other titles like Star Ocean, Tales of Phantasia, and others.

The game is full of twists and turns, some of which you’ll see coming a mile away (and with achievements like “Who Would Have Thought?” the developers are in on the obviousness of the reveal) and others that might just catch you off-guard. The characters are fun and well-written, and there is always a comic turn-of-phrase waiting, even in the most dire of situations.

The art style is absolutely gorgeous, with water effects and hand-drawn animations reminiscent of games like Secret of Mana. The pixel art plays perfectly with the stunning backgrounds. While all of it is pixel art, the game has benefitted from not being as restricted in palette to provide wonderful lighting and water effects.

I’ve been playing it on the regular difficulty and have only had a few instances where I have died, usually in a boss battle because I did something super stupid rather than what I should have done. Even when you are hit with special attacks that drop your HP to 1 and then an area of effect attack that kills the rest of your party, the game makes you feel like you could have stopped it since there is an attack break system in place to mitigate special attacks. IT doesn’t make it less frustrating when it happens, but it feels fair. It also makes you realize what a dunderhead you are for the battle choices you’ve made.

It is by far one of the most entertaining games I’ve played in a while, and one I look forward to playing through all of the New Game+ content to get the true ending as well.