I have kept up with the development of Imagos Softworks’ and Pixel Jam Games’ StarrMazer project, and it has been a wonderful journey to behold. From the start of their crowdfunding, to the finish product of StarrMazer DSP and beyond.
I knew the game had me hooked when I spent hours staring at my computer screen frantically moving my fingers, trying to blast past the basic G’ell ships and I have come to refer to them as “fodder”. In the moment that I named my flying foes it was the same moment that I knew this game was going to be in my library for a long long time.
StarrMazer DSP takes place far before the main storyline that the developers are working on, and it does a remarkable job at bringing to life this futuristic environment; even if it’s purpose is to house the high octane hybrid roguelike shoot’em up (SHMUP). While the characters aren’t there to provide you with intense depth, the situation you are placed in as the player makes for an interesting and memorable experience with each death or victory.
This is your squadron, these are your tools of the trade, and with each enemy you are required to adapt to survive so you can reach the next boss. With each death you are welcomed to a new series of pilots to work with, whether you are selecting from the pool of the free Dog Pack, or attaining pilots that are valued higher from the Wolf Pack. Every encounter with enemies is procedurally generated, so you are bound to loose the advantage in combat with each death—but that means you have more opportunities with the procedurally generated pilots and their different load outs.
StarrMazer DSP doesn’t make you feel cruddy for losing, because even in that loss it stirs something deep and competitive. Maybe it’s that the pilots you pick have their own backstories, or it’s the chance to prove to yourself that you have what it takes to drive straight to the heart of the G’ell mothership. Regardless of your motivation, the unique game play makes you hunger for more witty catch phrases, just hearing one more cat pun or beautiful art from the amazing Pixel Jam studios. All of these things wrap StarrMazer DSP into a beautiful complete package, and make it feel so much more than just an Early Access release.
The level of precision and skill that StarrMazer DSP requires can be trained even if it’s coming to grips with using each weapon effectively, or understanding what pilots would be better for the journey that lays ahead of you. Those factors add a new level of depth of this single player gauntlet which make it all the more memorable, and just based on it’s existence is a perfect appetizer for the upcoming release for their main project StarrMazer.
From the stand point of getting people involved, those efforts have been put into place extremely effectively simply through StarrMazer TV, which is a chance for the developers to communicate with the community through Twitch.TV and the fans come in droves because they make it exciting; be it games, or releasing teasers for new partnerships through game trailers, and then giving out prizes to winners. So much has gone into the development efforts that add personal touches that make the game all that more impactful.
With the early access version of StarrMazer DSP there are three levels available with a ferocious boss fight at the end, and two additional levels available in a work-in-progress state. These levels are for people who want to participate in helping flush out development in the early access state. Early access is set to run into March 2017, and their journey will ever continue on; adding more story, bosses and weapons to the final product.
So suit up, pull out your fingerless gloves, steam controllers, and a fresh pair of sunglasses because you are soaring straight into the danger zone. You can grab StarrMazer DSP on steam’s early access and it is currently marketed at 9.99 a price point that will stick with the title even after early access which is slated to finish in March 2017.
By the end of it you will be craving the classics that they have so purely grabbed their inspirations from, and be sure to follow Imagos Softworks and Pixel Jam Games on Twitter and Facebook, as well as StarrMazer for updates!
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