by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
I haven’t 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 they’re never exciting. I understand that most of space is empty, otherwise it wouldn’t really be space, and that in a real-life space fight things would probably move pretty slow. Starlight Inception’s combat, however, is void of more than just matter, it’s void of substance. Most of the objectives are “fly to point, kill bad guys, repeat,” which is fine if the combat is engaging, but it isn’t. I aim my cursor at the ships and fire. When I need to turn I do so (though even the controls aren’t 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 “I” 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 it’s better, maybe it’s not, but it doesn’t really matter if there’s nobody logging on to find out. The monotony is amplified by the absolutely lackluster visuals and audio, which, again, range from “fine” to “oh-god-why.” The HUD doesn’t 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 can’t 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 didn’t like writing this review, because I really wanted to like Starlight Inception. I just don’t 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. I’ve 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 don’t see things getting much better in the near future. The game truly feels like a beta that’s still using placeholder animations and sounds until it can be polished and filled with content, but it’s 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