Space, last frontier. It is very difficult to find a topic more inspiring than the space for a video game. Laurent Malville, creative director of Ubisoft Toronto, told us that his inspiration to conceive Starlink: Battle for Atlas was born of the passion and attraction that many of us have experienced in childhood for stars and distant worlds. That eagerness to explore distant satellites, to pilot avant-garde ships and to fight strange and threatening aliens, is the core of this curious video game for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unifying adventures, action and interactive toys, Starlinkarrives willing to conquer a somewhat abandoned territory after the failure and withdrawal of other licenses and similar sagas, such as Disney Infinity, Skylanders or LEGO Dimensions.
Exploring the Atlas system
Starlink: Battle for Atlas starts off like the classic science fiction stories: with a group of heroes and heroines venturing into the immensity of space. Whether it is the promise of a better world, the idea of a new home for humanity or the possibility of finding new sources of energy, the exploration of distant and distant horizons has always served as a starting point for this type of fables. fiction and video games. In Starlink, we will travel, in a distant future, to a galactic system known as Atlas, composed of seven planets of different nature and origin, as well as several satellites and huge fields of asteroids.
As members and pilots of the Starlink Initiative, our mission will be to collect and study new materials and energy resources under the form of the so-called Nova, as well as combat some dangerous extraterrestrials that will make things difficult for us. These aliens, known as the Forgotten Legion, are captained by Grax, a troubled and miserly leader who wants to obtain the key to developing unlimited energy and conquer the galaxy with his armies. As you can imagine, the argument is very simple and sometimes a mere pretext to advance, but it is built on a series of clichés so innocent that sometimes it is difficult not to feel a certain affection or interest for the misadventures of a group of pilots. Charismatics – not to mention Fox McCloud of StarFox, of course, that makes a cameo more than remarkable in the video game for Nintendo Switch -.
One way or another, we will be involved as pilots in a constant struggle for survival in a mostly hostile system, visiting very varied planets, helping the natives gripped by the villains of the Forgotten Legion and collecting minerals or resources with which to improve our mother base, the Equinox, or our own ships, adding from more effective armor to more powerful weapons. This is where the system of interactive toys and modular ships enters, a quality that will allow us to modify our ships and that offers us all kinds of combinations of pilots, cabins, wings, and weapons.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas can be played without having these toys – there is a digital option that offers us to enjoy their adventures without figures of any kind – but the truth is that with them everything acquires a much more entertaining look, as it is encouraged construction and creativity, as well as originality and the feeling that we are with something more than a simple game. For this, the title of Ubisoft is sold together with a support that is hooked to the command of our console, and that allows us to have a quick access to our ship and toy at all times. In the case of Nintendo Switch – the version that we have analyzed-, this base has two small insert bays for the Joy-Con. The most surprising thing about this system, which is somewhat cumbersome, is how well it works.
The changes of modules, pilots and weapons are instantaneous and in a few seconds, we will be seeing how our ship reflects in the video game all the transformations that we have done in real life. Do we have a weak enemy to the ice? We look for our barrage of ice and place it in the bay of the wings of our ship. Is that huge monster afraid of fire? We remove and put the flamethrower. In this way, we will change ships, pilots, and armament according to our needs, inviting us to a constant adaptation against the enemies and dangers of the game. It is perhaps one of the greatest successes of the title, his passion for establishing a strong synergy between the virtual world of Atlas and us, inviting us to experiment with crazy combinations without transitions or waits. In one of the tensest moments of the review, we were forced to replace one of our ships dropped in combat by another, and since our strategy against the huge creature that had given us hunting had failed miserably, we decided to try another of the spacefighters, adding other weapons along the way to increase our effectiveness.
Do these toys deserve to play Starlink? We think so. Ubisoft has announced, in addition to the starter set that includes the game, a ship, several weapons and a pilot – two in the case of Switch since in this pack comes Fox as an extra – there are different personalization kits in shape of vehicles, weapons or individual pilots. On the other hand, and if we want to play cooperatively, the publisher will market several supports for the ships, which will allow us to fit the toys in an extra command or in an additional pair of Joy-Con. The range is quite varied and complete and is available in large stores and stores specializing in video games.
Ubisoft has made a recipe for his special adventure, with a great personality, but he dares to peck at some very recent video games with which he shares a genre. On the one hand, we have a game that is comfortably framed in adventure and action, with combats against enemies and spaceships on land, air, and space, and on the other, a game of exploration in which resources and loots to discover.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas will take us through a very well structured and balanced campaign, full of varied missions that will go from taking down positions and structures of the Forgotten Legion to others in which we will have to eliminate huge Titans, huge size monsters. It takes a great distance of space travel from one planet to another -even though there is a fast trip, the sensation of exploration and adventure increases if we take our time on the journeys-, where pirates will try to hunt us, set us up traps and ambushes in the cold space at the first exchange.
In these boundaries, when the game gives us our battle ration between spaceships action in dogfight-style, Starlink offers a well-done experience. We have intense wars against extraterrestrials on foot on the planet, huge ships of outlaws hidden among asteroids and surrounded by mines and costly battles against the Titans, colossal monsters that are the living witness of a remote era. It offers direct action, without contemplations, with an easy and fun control, which will keep us hooked for hours. It is not Everspace, but it does resemble it in certain aspects, and at times we will even have echoes of the mythical Colony Wars. But at the same time, Ubisoft has wanted to give the game a great component of strategy and resource collection, which is seasoned with a certain fashion in the progression of weapons, ships, and pilots.
In what is this combination translated? Well, as in the failed -and resurfaced- No Man’s Sky of Hello Games, we will spend a lot of time establishing resource extraction posts, exploration camps and clearing ruins of an ancient civilization to get juicy prizes. We must add the urgent need to obtain credits and certain minerals to increase the level of the Equinox, our base of operations, and the constant struggle of factions of our allies that will bring us a little bit along the path of bitterness if we are not too much of her. Many times, the task of collecting minerals and resources can become tedious, so the need to fully automate this task by allying ourselves with the natives of each planet and fulfilling their requirements and commissions will be little less than a forced toll in the game.
Starlink has a very basic and clear scheme as a video game, and from there it does not come out too much. Within a few minutes of departure we will have a more or less clear notion of its structure, and although this is not necessarily a bad thing – it supposes a good work of designing mechanics and levels facing the player – it is true that It can be a small disappointment for those users who are looking for a bigger challenge or a bigger variety of objectives and things to do. There are many missions, some secondary ones of interest and the sensation of exploration are never lost, but the impact that such a game could generate is dispersed when we get into their routine. Yes, we have some puzzles-that invite us to change weapons to solve them-, and sometimes there are hacking missions or search and cataloging of the local flora and fauna, but they do not end up being completely fun.
Overall great but lack of variety with certain type mission within a few hours from the start, we must also add a relatively low difficulty, sums up many ups and downs in the experience. Although the title has really good times, such as combats that exceed us – the level of our enemies as in a role-playing video game, it is very important to take into account- or regions in which it is not advisable to enter unless we are very well equipped or with enough experience to leave unscathed.
A very attractive audiovisual style
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a very beautiful video game. The production quality of Ubisoft is unquestionable and once again become well known in a title that successfully uses a large collection of audiovisual experience to overwhelm the player. We have exotic planets, with different ecosystems, that will take us to visit from strange jungles to the frozen tundra, going through vast worlds full of quagmires, desert satellites or wastelands tucked away by ruins of an extinct civilization. The planets of the Atlas system are very different from each other, something that adds a certain variety and dynamism through strong contrasts to the video game, especially when we move from one to the other in the different missions. Also, we must add certain time cycles in each planetoid, thus conferring a varied and colorful roster of surfaces and scenarios in which to fight. Space also has its own regions, with high-density asteroid belts and huge ships stranded in the middle of them.
Another aspect worthy of mention is the one related to the design of the spacecraft. Starlink: Battle for Atlas comes with a whole fleet of pilots and ships, each with its own lines and form, the latter being completely influenced by the personality of each pilot. Although the history of the game will be the one that gives us clues and keys to understanding each of the members of the Starlink Initiative, each player will understand, with a simple glance, what role each ship plays in the game thanks to the morphology of the game. each vehicle.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a video game of very fun to ride ships. Its greatest attraction lies in its simplicity since it knows how to combine elements of unbridled action, exploration and role from its very base. The system of interactive toys and modular ships, which allows us to tinker with spaceships made at scales and see how they react immediately in the video game, has seemed an incentive that will encourage creativity the smallest when solving problems, puzzles to solve while fighting against enemies.
Although it is entertaining and has good production values, sometimes it does not finish defining itself. And it is a pity because both in their figures and in their playable proposal, great strengths reside. In any case, it is a recommendable title, entertaining and full of content. It will entertain players and collectors of all ages equally.
We have reviewed Starlink: Battle for Atlas on Nintendo Switch thanks to a digital deluxe version code and a starter pack with a ship and figures provided by Ubisoft.