Starward Rogue Logo
Starward Rogue Icon
Starward Rogue

Developer: Klabater

  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: Jan 25, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    There are elements of a terrific and challenging roguelike here, but it gets at least partially obscured by small issues that add up

    As a huge fan of all things to do with action-based roguelikes, whether shooting, slashing, or some combination of both, when I first saw Starward Rogue I was intrigued. Boasting a pretty wide variety of base bots to play as, hundreds of items and perks, and an impressive variety in enemy shot patterns to keep you on your toes it has plenty of elements to be positive about. That said, there are also stumbling blocks that, when added together, take it down a few notches.

    Starting with the positive, there’s absolutely a great promise of variety in how you choose to approach the game, whether focusing on an offensive juggernaut with a glass jaw, a tank who has attack limitations, or somewhere in between. From there, of course, with this being a roguelike you could find that the upgrades available may or may not fit well with the base you’ve chosen, but that’s just how the genre works. Also, while you’ll be able to adjust the level of difficulty for every run to help it match your skill level or preference, there’s no question that even on the regular difficulty you’ll be challenged to stay alive pretty well every run.

    That brings us to the areas where the game unfortunately gets in its own way in terms of details. First, if you were planning on playing the game in handheld mode you may find the size of text descriptions for things like upgrade entirely too small, as they could even be tough to read on a larger screen. Second, the user interface, when compared to its competitors, is cluttered and consumes more of the screen than it needs to. Third, directly related to the previous point, there is such a thing as giving people too many options, sometimes ones that aren’t even needed. Last, and possibly the small detail that consistently irritated me the most, is that there are too many types of floor or destructible barriers that can be placed on the screen in your way. There are multiple types of tiles you can pass over, destroy with either normal fire or a missile, take damage from, and that can’t be removed and it can make for a visual mess you’re being asked to interpret while dodging a wide variety of attacks. Less variety, some sort of consistent color-coding, or any number of other methods to make different types more easily discernible could go a long way to reducing taking cheap damage or dying because you stepped on the wrong spot.

    Putting this all together you have an intense and quite engaging mix of roguelike and at times bullet hell elements. The potential variety on a per-run basis is there, and challenge hounds will likely still gravitate to the game since it has a pretty unique overall flavor. All that said, this is a very mature category on the Switch, filled with numerous titles that are more well-conceived and polished in their execution, making Starward Rogue pretty far down on the roster list for people looking for their next great roguelike action game.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Good [7.3]

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