Game Review: StarCrawlers (PC)

A modern take on the classic RPG dungeon crawler style, StarCrawlers is an adventure game set in a space-punk style universe. At its core, it’s just like any RPG dungeon crawler game, you build a team, you take jobs and you explore ‘dungeons’ in search of loot and the completion of your job.  What StarCrawlers is not, is anything but an everyday dungeon crawler.

The StarCrawlers universe is rich and vibrant with backstory that is disclosed as you work through the game.  The basic premise of StarCrawlers is like any other RPG, by taking jobs and collecting loot.  Along the way you build or destroy your reputation with many different mega-corporations, eventually choosing a side which will determine the outcome of the game’s story.  These same Mega-Corporations try to persuade you and bribe you with credits to complete their devious tasks, (after all what corporation doesn’t have its own agenda) and it is up to you to decide which path to follow.

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Gameplay & Controls

The gameplay of StarCrawlers is simple, but also unique.  Using a mix of mouse & WASD keys for the general movement through dungeons, you control your character in 1st person mode.  The dungeons, which are space ships or space stations, are laid out with squares, 1 square being 1 sequence of movement.  At first you don’t need to worry about this too much, but it does factor in when trying to escape an enemy encounter, as they will move one square for every one of your squares.

Combat is your typical RPG style combat, all done in time units (turns).  Each one of your team members has a certain time unit, which is altered by equipment, and abilities.  The lower the time unit of the character, the more often they can attack.  Some special abilities cause an extension to the characters time units, which delays their following attack.  Along the top of the screen you are informed of the order of attack during the combat sequence.  Combat attacks are initiated by left-clicking the mouse onto the target of your choice, and several attack options are visible.  Details on the damage and cool-downs for the attacks and abilities are shown when the mouse pointer is hovered over them.  This makes for a very simplified control scheme for StarCrawlers.

As you and your team gain levels, you can assign ability points to upgrade your skills.  There are 3 general skill trees, each with a group of skills.  Maxing out a skill in 3 ranks unlocks the next set of abilities in that category.  Levels are not easy to come by unless you run plenty of missions.  On average, you gain about 30 to 50 experience for each fight, and few hundred for each mission.  In the end 3 or 4 missions should get you a level.

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Graphics & Audio

The graphics for StarCrawlers is extremely well done.  They are very cartoon-like in the sense of the artwork and it almost feels like it should be in a graphic novel, but also detailed enough to allow the player to enjoy the visual aspect of the game.  There is no voice-overs in this game, which means a bit of reading is involved, but overall it doesn’t detract from the classic RPG feel this game is always building on.  The sound track for StarCrawlers does an excellent job of building up the ambiance of the game, while not being to over or underwhelming.  Everything is a nice blend to make for a excellent finished product.

Overall StarCrawlers is a very enjoyable game.  It offers a lot for players to choose and customize their experience while playing.  My only negative that I found while playing the game was setting it up expecting a FPS style game, but I found myself limited with the basic game mechanics.  While it isn’t a huge deal breaker, it is a bit frustrating having to be stuck on a path system and not being able to explore more of the surrounding spaces.

We had the opportunity to interview Juggernaut Games who developed StarCrawlers while we were at PaxWest 2016, and if you have not already check out our interview, please check it out.  StarCrawlers is available on Steam for $19.99USD($21.99CAN) and GoG for $24.79CAN

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