REVIEW: StarWings

If the very best thing your game has going for it is some of the cheesiest voice acting around, it’s safe to assume you’re in for a shelling. That I strongly considered giving this a recommendation purely for the chance that you, reader, would be so inclined as to try it yourself (see Link below to inquire), can’t be a vote of quality. I ultimately couldn’t bring myself to do it, knowing that asking you to spend a dollar on StarWings (80 MSP) is a direct violation of your human rights.

Star, Lain, and Trey are mercenaries, as evidenced by their crazy hair and ineffectual avatars. Together, they comprise StarWings (as in arwings), and form a poor man’s Star Foxย (Star = Fox, Lain = Slippy, Trey = Falco). They’re hired by the Cornerian— ahem, Galaxy Defense, to put a stop to a Bandit army that’s threatening galactic peace, or something along those lines. It’s not required reading. What’s important is it’s a side-scrolling shooter with some minor weapon upgrades between stages.

There’s a problem immediately. You only ever control ‘Star’, the group’s egotistical (had to name the squad after himself, of course) leader. The game hinges on his health bar alone, making your squadmates, for lack of a better term, expendable. Problem is, they go wherever you go. And they never break formation, so avoiding incoming fire is a pain in the ass, multiplied by three.ย The bullet patterns aren’t too severe as to make it unplayable, but when you’re flying the equivalent of an eighteen-wheeler in three ships, it makes for a pretty big target. You’ll find it’s common to face the boss at the end of each stage down a wingman, or at the very least, weakened, through no fault of your own.

The experience is hampered further by highscores that aren’t recorded and a quick save system that doesn’t work, at least on some consoles. I tried it three times, on three different stages; not once could I load the save file. Switching over to a memory card, however, DID work (the developer is currently looking into the problem). Not that you’ll really need to save your progress. The gameย is four levels long, and takes about twenty minutes to complete. Extras? No.

It doesn’t bring me any particular joy to bash a game, but StarWings is akin to handing over game development and a case of beer to eighth graders who’ve only seen a screenshot of Star Fox to build off of. I don’t advocate either, and it’s clear to see why. I’m positive that the material and voice acting are meant to be laughably bad. That’s fine, and contributes to the ‘campy’ feel, but if the short gameplay and busted (for some) options were to fall into that same category, I’m not laughing.

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20 thoughts on “REVIEW: StarWings”

  1. A freind recently recommended me this game because I would have a good laugh well I tried the demo….and he was right…I’d like to play the full game though ^^

    It seems still “fun” kinda ๐Ÿ™‚

    #StarWingsCode

  2. I just played the demo for a while, and the thing that aggravated me was the need to keep tapping the fire button. In a game that requires you to shoot constantly, there’s no sense in forcing you to give yourself RSI by hammering away at A.

    1. I wanted to mention that, but I let it slide because of the short length. That and when you run out of specialty ammo, you won’t actually resume regular fire unless you switch back to it.

  3. Voice acting is tough to get right. I’d urge Devs to remember that it is not a necessity, there are alternatives (The Sims) and that sometimes even the big boys get it wrong – see Diablo 3’s Templar… Glorious!

    1. A solid point. Also increases the file size, I hear, which could change price, depending on where it falls. You have to weigh whether it’s worth it.

      It can work both ways; the original Resident Evil still cracks me up with its acting, in a good way. It’s more or less the same here. You’re smiling with StarWings, not at it. I hope that was their intention, and I’m not just being a dick. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. As a general rule, I prefer to be without voice acting. The exceptions are the few games where it’s very good (the Legacy of Kain series springs to mind). One of the reasons I prefer Morrowind to Oblivion is the relative lack of voice acting.

    3. I’m fine with it in any game, including indies, so long as it makes sense to do it. Even the cheesy stuff.

      It made Cuddle Bear’s opening more memorable. ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. I’ve always thought it made sense to go the alien language route (think Boushh/Leia in Return of the Jedi) particularly for larger devs. Make up a language, record some random dialog, tweak the text in subtitles to say whatever you want. As an added bonus, you don’t have to re-record if you localize the game.

    5. I like that route too. They did that for Sine Mora; gave it more of an ‘alien world’ vibe.

      I think it’s right to leave it out of certain games. Giving Mario a script would remind fans too much of the CD-i disasters. They’ve scarred me for life when they did it for Zelda CD-i too, but I do kind of wish they’d go full voice acting for the next-gen Zelda. Enough with the ohhs and ahhs. Nintendo could pull it off.

  4. I remember it also as Lylat Wars still have my copy here ๐Ÿ™‚ If this game really only takes 20 minutes I’m willing to try it myself and see if I can agree with this review although the video give also a good overview for in-game action hum #StarWingsCode

    1. Hey ๐Ÿ™‚ I was on vacation and almost forgot about this, but I found the code in my email and wanted to say thanks! Added the site to my favorties to keep track of interesting new Xblig Games!

  5. The StarWings/Star Fox connection might be even more blatant than that, depending on where the developer is from. Here in the UK, the game you obstinate Yanks know as Star Fox was officially retitled Starwing. (Star Fox 64 was slightly more confusingly called Lylat Wars.)

    1. Lylat Wars? Man, you guys get it rough over there. That’s terrible. I did not know of the name changes. Once again, my investigative work in reviews is put to shame. Nice find.

      I think the developers are stateside, though it’s likely they knew of it. A little too much coincidence. They seem like nice guys, which made this a tough one to publish. Not only are they looking into the save issues I had, but they even gave me codes for a a giveaway, AFTER I told them it wouldn’t be a positive review. That’s class all the way.

    2. As to investigation, I don’t know how you’d find out something like the Starwing name change unless you were looking for it specifically. Don’t feel bad. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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