by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
Houston, We’ve Got a Problem
Normally I type a nice lead in at the start of my review introductions because I know some people only read the first two or three sentences before going to the score, but I’m not going to do that here. I’m going to cut straight to the chase because I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my tone. Starlight Inception is a bad game that you shouldn’t spend your money on. It possesses the personality of a door-to-door pen salesman, the excitement of a slow-motion snail race, and the inviting presentation of a cancer-sored cave troll. I wanted to like Escape Hatch Entertainment’s Kickstarted space combat game. I really did. I’m in love with the final frontier, and I love when small companies can step up and deliver something with unique charm and niche appeal. Unfortunately, there are just too many problems with Starlight Inception to make it worth your time or money.
Lack of Polish
From the opening moments of the campaign, one of the title’s biggest problems becomes abundantly clear – presentation was not put high on the list of priorities. The first thing the player sees is a monologue by a colleague explaining some tragic event that happened in the war. With no real lead in, and then the scene moving away completely with no reference or reason, it seems like an extremely shallow way to try and build some “this is serious guys!” feeling, but it doesn’t. It probably didn’t help that while my brooding brother in arms was talking, as do all the characters that are seen talking in the game, his mouth was just moving back and forth in an “eeeeeooooooeeeeeeooooo” pattern. I don’t expect perfect lip syncing or anything, but we’re also not in 1999. The next person to speak, after I sludged through a few of my ship’s hallways to a briefing room, didn’t even stop his mouth when he was done talking. As the scene faded away his mouth was still flapping, his eyes dead and frozen, puncturing my very soul.
“But Quinn,” I can hear you questioning with baited breath, “didn’t you just say you can walk through your ship? That’s got to count for something right?” It does. It counts for another check on the list of things that should be awesome but totally aren’t. Even walking though the ship is a chore. Moving my mouse more than an inch or two from center had my head darting at break-neck speeds, and everything looked the same. Developers, please put some kind of marking letting me know where I need to go the first time I’m in a repetitively textured tight space. There’s also nothing to do in the ship. Can there please be someone to talk to, some documents to read, or something? If I’m going to appreciate voyeuristic observation sequences in a game, and I often times do, they need to be one of two things – gorgeously pretty or rich in content, and in this case I was given neither.
Again, this was all in my first 5 minutes of playing, and things didn’t improve going forward. There is a brief voice-over at the campaign’s start explaining the premise of the game: humanity has flowed off of Earth into the vastness of space, alliances among nations are formed, and they’re eventually at each others throats. It’s a little bit more complicated than that, but not much, and the story never really comes up with any unique or compelling reason to care about what’s going on. I actually got more excitement proof reading what I just wrote than I did from the actual story, which isn’t good.
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