by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
I havenít even begun to touch on the actual flying yet, which is of course the core of a space combat game. At best the dog fights are functional, but theyíre never exciting. I understand that most of space is empty, otherwise it wouldnít really be space, and that in a real-life space fight things would probably move pretty slow. Starlight Inceptionís combat, however, is void of more than just matter, itís void of substance. Most of the objectives are ďfly to point, kill bad guys, repeat,Ē which is fine if the combat is engaging, but it isnít. I aim my cursor at the ships and fire. When I need to turn I do so (though even the controls arenít great. Why on Earth are the up/down controls not inverted but the left/right banking is? When has that ever been a thing?), then shoot some more uninspired generic missiles or lasers again.
Enemies also seem to lack the ďIĒ part of AI, kind of just moving around and turning, more like fruit flies than trained pilots. I thought multiplayer might be my cup of tea, trading the boring AI enemies for human ones, but, despite trying on more than one occasion, I couldn't find a single match. Maybe itís better, maybe itís not, but it doesnít really matter if thereís nobody logging on to find out. The monotony is amplified by the absolutely lackluster visuals and audio, which, again, range from ďfineĒ to ďoh-god-why.Ē The HUD doesnít fair any better, appearing cluttered and messy. It looks like a UI based on something from a 1980s movie hacking sequence, and the font was a bit difficult to read at times, even on my 20 inch monitor. On a semi-related note, and I realize this is probably a nit-pick, why canít I pause with a button press? I had to move my cursor, which was still steering my ship mind you, to the top right corner of the screen to pause, which sent my ship veering off course at the last seconds.
One Very, Very Small Step For Man
I didnít like writing this review, because I really wanted to like Starlight Inception. I just donít though. Its narrative is bland, its combat is uninspired, its presentation is a mess, and it never reaches above mediocre in any discernible way, shape, or form. Iíve seen posts from the folks at Escape Hatch that there are going to be some incoming patches soon that may fix some of the minor issues, but unless a large-scale revamp is in store I just donít see things getting much better in the near future. The game truly feels like a beta thatís still using placeholder animations and sounds until it can be polished and filled with content, but itís not a beta, and because of this Starlight Inception needs to be put on the no-fly list.
Update: Escape Hatch Entertainment has announced that they are currently working on a patch that should address many of the issues currently present in the game.
At least it doesn't make your computer explode when you boot it up or anything.
Boring story, wonky controls, unengaging combat, unappealing audio and graphics, and an unpleasant UI