Throwback RPG Sea of Stars avoids mindlessly copying the ’90s greats

A throwback RPG that avoids mindlessly copying the '90s greats that inspired it, Sea of Stars draws from classics like Chrono Trigger to create a breezy adventure in a pleasant land.

Throwback RPG Sea of Stars avoids mindlessly copying the ’90s greats
Published by Liam @ PC Game Spotlight 9 months ago


Sea of Stars review – a throwback RPG that dares to be different

A throwback RPG that avoids mindlessly copying the ’90s greats that inspired it, Sea of Stars draws inspiration from classics like Chrono Trigger. But unlike many modern games that are content to merely ape the superficial elements of their forebears, Sea of Stars understands the difference between “inspired by” and “mindlessly copying,” and it’s that difference that allows it to stand out in a crowded indie market.

From the high-quality animations to the gorgeous world itself, Sea of Stars is brimming with unique flourishes in every mundane NPC and minor story event. The main cast moves around their gorgeous surroundings with fluidity and ease, surpassing their 1995 ancestors with a grace that few have managed. Even the world’s most basic mechanic, swimming, is livened up with unique animations for shimmying, jumping, and balancing that make the world seem more interesting and organic.

The combat is similarly enhanced, incorporating swimming, shimmying, jumping, and balancing actions that make the world more interesting and organic. Battles with monsters are livened up with a brilliant turn-taking/breaking mechanic that allows players to weaken or interrupt special attacks. The outcome of battles depends on the player’s actions as well as stats and equipment, making Sea of Stars a more balanced RPG that’s less about grinding and more about skill and strategy.

Attribute-laden slashes and skills can be enhanced or extended with a quick tap of a key, making combat even more interactive and rewarding. Boss fights can be frustrating slogs, with regenerative abilities and complex patterns that can push players to their limits. Optional relics can be used to tweak the game’s difficulty, but their inclusion doesn’t necessarily enhance the strategic depth of combat.

The story is a bit less impressive, with some retro elements that will be familiar to anyone who’s played an RPG in the past 30 years. NPCs have shallow dialogue and predictable plot twists, and the main villain has a laugh that may cause listeners to put the game on mute. However, the game maintains a sincerity that holds the story together; Sea of Stars is never excessively meta-humor or ironic in a way that could annoy players.

Whether you’re a fan of throwback RPGs or looking for something different, Sea of Stars is certainly worth a try. It’s a breezy adventure in a pleasant land, aware of classic RPG problems and never letting them become serious issues. While it may not reach the highest heights of its inspirations, Sea of Stars comes closer than most games by daring to be different.

This review is based on a PC review copy of Sea of Stars provided by publisher Nix Hydra.

Pros

Cons

Throwback RPGs can be a mixed bag, with many games aping the best parts of classics like Chrono Trigger with little innovation. Thankfully, Sea of Stars is different, incorporating unique ideas in almost every aspect of the game. While it may not reach the highest heights of its inspirations, Sea of Stars comes closer than most games by daring to be different.

Check this out if you’re a fan of: Chrono Trigger, RPG games, turn-based games, retro games, nostalgia, throwback games, Nix Hydra.

Check this out if you’re not a fan of: RPG games, turn-based games, retro games, nostalgia, throwback games, Nix Hydra.


Sea of Stars review – a throwback RPG that dares to be different

Throwback RPG Sea of Stars is more than just a nostalgia trip by incorporating unique ideas in almost every aspect, making it one of the best games in the genre.

For a throwback RPG, Sea of Stars is a bit of an odd duck. As someone who grew up on the classics of the genre, I’m pleased to say that this game is more than just a nostalgia trip by incorporating unique ideas in almost every aspect.

From the high-quality animations to the gorgeous world itself, Sea of Stars is brimming with unique flourishes in every mundane NPC and minor story event. The main cast moves around their gorgeous surroundings with fluidity and ease, surpassing their 1995 ancestors with a grace that few have managed.

From the swimming mechanics to shimmying, jumping, and balancing actions, Sea of Stars makes its world seem more interesting and organic. Battles are also livened up with a brilliant turn-taking/breaking mechanic, allowing players to weaken or interrupt special attacks. This outcome-based combat system is more balanced than many RPG games, making Sea of Stars more about skill and strategy rather than grinding.

While the story is a bit less impressive, with some retro elements that will be familiar to anyone who’s played an RPG in the past 30 years, the game maintains a sincerity that holds it together. While Sea of Stars certainly doesn’t break any new ground, it certainly avoids the most common pitfalls of RPGs and comes highly recommended.


Sea of Stars review – a throwback RPG that dares to be different

Throwback RPG Sea of Stars is more than just a nostalgia trip by incorporating unique ideas in almost every aspect, making it one of the best games in the genre.

For a throwback RPG, Sea of Stars is a bit of an odd duck. As someone who grew up on the classics of the genre, I’m pleased to say that this game is more than just a nostalgia trip by incorporating unique ideas in almost every aspect.

From the high-quality animations to the gorgeous world itself, Sea of Stars is brimming with unique flourishes in every mundane NPC and minor story event. The main cast moves around their gorgeous surroundings with fluidity and ease, surpassing their 1995 ancestors with a grace that few have managed.

From the swimming mechanics to shimmying, jumping, and balancing actions, Sea of Stars makes its world seem more interesting and organic. Battles are also livened up with a brilliant turn-taking/breaking mechanic, allowing players to weaken or interrupt special attacks. This outcome-based combat system is more balanced than many RPG games, making Sea of Stars more about skill and strategy rather than grinding.

While the story is a bit less impressive, with some retro elements that will be familiar to anyone who’s played an RPG in the past 30 years, the game maintains a sincerity that holds it together. While Sea of Stars certainly doesn’t break any new ground, it certainly avoids the most common pitfalls of RPGs and comes highly recommended.

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