I don’t play many free to play titles on my PS4 as they are usually plagued by MicroTransactions or they are multiplayer-focused whereas I prefer single-player games. However, when I saw Starlit Adventures I had to try it out as it looks so darn cute! I’ve played quite a lot of the game over the last few weeks, thanks to the early access given to me from Rockhead Games, and I think this is one of my favourite casual go-to games that’s currently installed on my PS4. With it’s bright, colourful cheery gameplay, it’s both fun solo or with friends and I’ve not had to spend a penny yet.
Starlit Adventures stars an adorable Starlit and its rider. Starlits are kind star-nosed creatures who look a little bit like giant moles. Our Starlit is called Kikki and its rider is known as Bo – two inseparable cute protagonists. Each Starlit has a Sibling Star in the sky and as long as their star is shining brightly, everything is at peace and the world is wonderful.
Bo and Kikki work together as Starkeepers in the lighthouse, where they overlook the stars and ensure that peace remains and everything is as it should be. One day an evil monster known as Nuru came along and stole all of the stars from the sky and hid them throughout various locations around the world. This, in turn, brings sadness to all of the Starlits 🙁
In comes Bo and Kikki as they set out on their epic adventure to recover all of the stars and return them to the sky! You play as Kikki as you don different outfits and make your way through 64 levels searching for all the stars and coins. There are a few different game modes to keep you busy, things to spend your coins on and the option to purchase MicroTransactions if you want too, although most items are unlockable through an in-game currency as well.
If you want to imagine the gameplay, imagine Dig Dug crossed with downfall but with Super Mario Bros U graphics – that’s pretty much this game! Although, Kikki can’t jump very high so the only way is down. Each of the levels is a downwards adventure filled with dirt, hazards, water, enemies, collectables, and platforms. Depending on your suit you decide to wear, you can perform different operations which will allow you to obtain items you may not be able to obtain with the standard suit. For example, if you wear a bomb suit then you can blow up concrete blocks, the flying suit allows you to fly back up the level, and the electric suit lets you pull metal objects and shock enemies.
The game has a ‘Metroid-vania’ approach to it where you can’t get 100% of everything with the standard suit, you must use the others in order to obtain certain things – in comes the first MicroTransaction. You can purchase green coins with real money which will allow you to purchase these new suits (the first use is free so you can try them within a level). However, you also obtain these green coins through normal play as you level up – so it may take you a while to unlock them naturally but it is possible to do so without paying a penny.
The only three suits you can’t buy with in-game currency are the Unicorn, Dragon and Dino suits which are all ‘advantage’ suits as they perform multiple suit actions. For example, the unicorn suit lets you both fly and you have a dash that destroys anything in its way, including any type of block.
The game controls delightfully with the option to use with the Left Stick or the D-Pad, the Square button performs your suits attack and the Circle button is the suits special attack, Cross jumps and down on the D-pad will dig. As I mentioned before, this game reminds me a lot of Dig Dug (Steamworld Dig to those young ones out there) where you can dig your way through the dirt in order to go down, or use it to your advantage to get to other places – just be careful that the block above the dirt doesn’t fall on your head once you dig up the dirt.
Upon completing a level and obtaining your experience bonuses, if you manage to level up then you will have the chance to play a very, very simple minigame. You have three patches to dig, pick one and dig – you will either find a few green coins or nothing. Either way, you get a chest with about five green coins at the bottom anyway, so you at least get a few coins. The problem is, the cheapest new suit is 120 coins and the most expensive is 480 – so it may take a while to unlock them. However, unlike some other free play games out there, you can still complete each and every level without the other suits, you just won’t be able to obtain all the collectables.
Speaking of the collectables – each level has three Starlit Sibling Stars, a key and a pack of stickers (well, a single sticker). We know what the stars are, the key unlocks a chest containing a load of ‘point’ gold coins at the end of the level, and the sticker is literally a sticker for your sticker album (which you can swap for a new one if you have ten duplicates). The most important collectable is the stars as you will reach a point where you won’t be allowed into the next area unless you have enough stars. But I’ve been playing it with only the base suits and I’ve not hit a wall yet.
Also, another place where you can spend your bought or obtained MicroTransactions is when you die. Throughout the levels you hit checkpoints and if you die then you will instantly respawn there – the first death is free, then it’s one green coin then two… If you chose not to use your green coins then you lose all progress on that level and go back to the map. The only time I’ve had to pay to respawn was when I was facing a boss. That’s right, the game also has a boss at the end of each area, where each area is made up of eight levels.
I mentioned earlier that there are a few modes, if you don’t count the fact you can play the whole of the above in an up-to-four-player local co-op game (which is awesome btw), then we have two other modes:
The Infinite Tower:
As the name suggests, once you have unlocked this, you have to play an infinite tower as you work your way down to see how far you can get before you give up. I say give up because, just like before, you can pay green coins to continue, but it will get pricey if you die a lot. However, your first retry is free, also like the main game.
There are 17 different challenges, each with eight missions within each. These are based on certain suits and there are a few holiday specials in there as well, like Christmas. The first mission of each lets you use the dedicated suit – including the special paid-only suits, but after that, you will be required to own the suit yourself before you can carry on. I’ve played a few of these and I can say that they are a lot trickier than the main-game levels, so it may be best to come to these once you have played the main game for a while.
Graphically, I adore the look and feel of Starlit Adventures. It’s clearly a mobile game converted to consoles, but everything is so bright and colourful, it’s really pleasant to play and it’s very appealing to everyone of all ages. The music is also very bubbly and jolly – I’ve had it on whilst writing this review and even though it does loop after not too long, it reminds me of the Simpsons style of music in a way.
Starlit Adventures is a really fun free to play title which can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. It’s a lot of fun to play on your own and even more fun when you grab your friends and family and all gather around the TV and play it in co-op. You can complete the whole game without paying any real money, which is rare in games like this, as you obtain level-up and daily bonuses, it just might take you a while before you can grab all of the suits. It’s a free to play title so you aren’t risking anything to give it a try, plus there is no platinum trophy so if you give it a try and don’t like it then you don’t need to try and obtain all the trophies – however, I believe you will love it once you really get into it.
- - Fun for all the family
- - Can be completed fully without buying anything (unless you wish to support the developer)
- - Loads of levels and suits offering varied gameplay and locations
- - Really good soundtrack and graphically cute
- - Free (USA at the moment and EU soon)
- - Can take a while to get enough green coins to unlock more suits
- - Metroid-vania - you will have to return to levels later on in order to fully complete them
- - Have to pay for checkpoints with green coins (after your first one)
- - Not yet live in the UK (should be here soon though)