It’s easy to think of Starlink: Battle for Atlas as a late-comer to the already-dead toys-to-life market, but thankfully the game itself has more going for it than just the plastic ship you attach to your controller.
EXPLORING THE SOLAR SYSTEM
The game has a complete solar system of planets to explore, including the option to use your hyperdrive to fly between them. Although they weren’t in the demo that I played, you’ll also encounter random ships and ports in your travels – including some who are spoiling for a fight.
Naturally planets have missions, involving both combat as well as some puzzles, and there are different factions to take missions from in order to upgrade space stations. There’s also loot to find as you explore worlds.
The long and short of it is that Ubisoft Toronto has built out an entire solar system, and there should be no shortage of things to do in it.
A DEEPER EXPERIENCE
Starlink features different ships, pilots, and weapons that you attach to your controller. The weapons constitute the most obvious changes, such as attaching a flamethrower or ice cannon to your wing.
However, the game digs deeper into the options pool. Pilots have their own special attacks (like a giant, rechargable large area blast or an orbital strike) and their stats and abilities can be upgraded via skill points. Moreover, the wings themselves have their own stats, denoting them as more suited to speed or defense. There are also equipment upgrades to find on worlds.
During combat you can hot swap weapons (the game automatically pauses), which is very useful if you need more of a long-range attack, for instance, or you just prefer the Gatling gun.
Although the demo didn’t feature aerial dogfights, there were sequences where your ship was effectively grounded due to corruption fields during a mission. This meant that the ship hovered feet above the ground while ground-based enemies attacked.
This was the weakest part of the demo, as scuttling above the ground in what is otherwise an airborne ship doesn’t feel satisfying because you’re neither rooted to the ground nor free to fly in the skies.
Pressing Y brings up a temporary front-facing shield, and you can also hop pressing the A button and dodge roll to the left or right, giving you some mobility.
The demo ended with a land-based crab boss, and although my ship was free to take to the skies again for this encounter since I destroyed some corruption structures earlier, the best way to defeat the large boss was, unfortunately, to return to the ground.