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Starlight Inception Review

Starlight Inception has arrived for PS Vita, making it the first space style shooter to do so. The game itself was kickstarted into life by gamers for PC and Sony's handheld and developer Escape Hatch has duly delivered. 

The game itself was funded after a $150,000 campaign, so it was never going to be aiming for huge budget territory in terms of presentation and this is the way that it works out. Unfortunately for those who prefer eye bleeding quality to go with the action, Starlight Inception is not the prettiest game in the world, the cutscenes are pretty rough, the text is hard to read and the starship models are poorly designed. Everything is meshed together with a low resolution, making for a very poor first impression.

One of the things that Starlight Inception does do is allow you to explore your mothership, but its visual do not immerse you enough in the experience, which instead leaves you heading for the briefing room and straight into the action as quick as you can. It seems to me like the developer has bitten off more than it can chew in this respect. Escape Hatch would possibly have been better served in sticking to throwing you straight into the action and left the story telling and ability to explore your ship on foot to one side.

Once your are out in space things don't exactly improve a great deal. Control of your ship just doesn't feel right, it feels too rigid, almost as if it's a cardboard cutout moving up and down on the screen. The action isn't much fun either as often you'll never get into full on dogfights, as most of the ships will already have met their fate thanks to your ability to shoot them down from a distance using your cannons and missiles. On a more positive note, the missions are at least varied and do get slightly tougher as you advance. The action can also get quite intense and addictive the further that you get into the game, it's just that getting there is a bit of a grind. 

In a way I admire what the developer was trying to do with this game and in some respects (on very limited occasions) they pull it off. If there is one thing that Starlight Inception has shown me it's that Vita is crying out for a high quality space shooter, unfortunately though, this game isn't it.

Considering the budget of this game the developer has crammed in so much to keep you occupied. For instance, away from the campaign there is Fly Patrol, which mixes things up a bit with a mesh of space combat with tower defence. There is also online multiplayer offering 
Free For All, Team Deathmatch and other modes, although finding a match to play in is nigh on impossible. 

To me, Starlight Inception falls into the "don't bite off more than your can chew" territory. There is plenty of ambition and great ideas, however most of them hidden under a lot of bad execution. 

Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: Wotta

(Version Tested: PS Vita) 


+ Some great ideas
+ It's space combat on the Vita


- Terrible presentation
- Poor design choices
- Cutscenes are beyond bad
- Ships feel like cardboard
- Most space combat ends before it begins

Edited On 29 Apr, 2014

( 2 )
RTLF's avatar
RTLF 2 years ago
Don't TxK and Super Stardust Delat count as space shooters?
warden976's avatar
warden976 2 years ago
gutted. was hoping this was going to be good, but even the trial was difficult to sit through.

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