Author Topic: First impressions with Starward Rogue  (Read 625 times)

Offline Wingflier

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First impressions with Starward Rogue
« on: January 26, 2016, 11:39:36 PM »
Hey guys, long time Arcen fan here, wanted to give my impressions with this game. Sorry I couldn't get it out before the beta ended. I'll split it into 3 sections:

The Good


1. Plenty of replay value - This is an essential for the roguelike genre, and it seems to succeed in this regard, (though it could improve in some ways, which I'll list later on in the review).

2. Feels nice - For the amount of time put into it, the game feels pretty good. One of my biggest problems with Arcen in the past has been that they've put too much emphasis on the concept and design, leaving the feel of the game, which is arguably the most important part, lacking. This one feels pretty good overall. Very responsive, flashy, and engaging.

3. Difficult enough - Arcen has made a reputation for brutally difficult games, and it's good to know that the option for this at least, still exists.

4. The music - Pablo's done it again.

Overall it's a solid game and given the timeframe you made it in, quite an impressive accomplishment.


The Bad

1. Lack of consumables/weaponry - This is a personal beef, but in a game like this, a huge part of the replay value comes from the discovery of literally hundreds or thousands of potential drops. To never see the same drop within several runs offers a very unique and enjoyable experience, and is one of the main selling points for games like Binding of Isaac. If the game does well enough, I would highly recommend an expansion with at least double, if not triple the current amount.

2. Lack of starting characters - Another personal beef, but 6 is not very many to choose from, even if they are individually unique. This could be improved upon as well, possibly in an expansion.

3. Lack of personal progression and/or long-term goals - Being able to unlock new weapons and items via playthroughs i.e. BOI, or to loop the game i.e. Nuclear Throne, which is essentially beating it in order to start over with all the upgrades and weapons you have intact, gives players a lot more reason for coming back. I'd like to see this area developed some more as well.

4. Sound design - This turned out to be pretty underwhelming. Certain weapons don't even have sounds at all (the Flamethrower comes to mind), certain things should have a much more 'intense' sound (Black Hole Generator), and for most everything else the sound effects are generally weak or kind of boring. This is one area in which I feel ALL Arcen games are lacking. Never underestimate how powerfully engaging a proper sound environment can be. Bullet Hells need to be visceral, intense, and even somewhat grating at times. The sounds should pull you in, increase the stakes and make you fear for your life. The sounds from Starward Rogue are on par with something you could find your average Flash game.

There's some other minor annoyances like the game's pacing (can get a little tiring after an hour of grinding) and the "monster + puzzle levels" which are more frustrating than anything, but these are just minor gripes, and overall will probably be improved upon as the game is patched.

The Necessary


Multiplayer - Yes, I know you've probably heard it a million times, but this game is screaming for it. It's quite a disappointment because Arcen used to be known for their amazing online co-op support, especially with their first title, AI War, but the past several games have been completely empty in this regard. There's always talk of it, and usually in the beginning development stages it's planned, then it inevitably gets cut either due to new design decisions or time restraints in the end.

Well this time, there's really no excuse not to include it. The game is practically begging for it. This is exactly the kind of game you *want* to play with your friends. A procedurally generated bullet hell with level progression, selectable difficulties, and goodies galore? Talk about endless overnight LAN parties and online gaming sessions with friends.

Honestly, the Unity engine already supports it, take the extra couple months and implement it into the game. Create an expansion with it and a bunch of other goodies and charge a fair price, I'm baffled that a Universe exists in which this wasn't already included. It NEEDS to happen.

As a final note, congratulations on the best game you guys have produced in a long time. There hasn't been a single negative review on Steam or anywhere else I can find. I hope you guys go the distance with this one and continue to improve it from good to great. I'll give it a solid 5/7.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 11:42:33 PM by Wingflier »
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Offline Rujasu

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Re: First impressions with Starward Rogue
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 12:00:51 AM »
3. Lack of personal progression and/or long-term goals - Being able to unlock new weapons and items via playthroughs i.e. BOI, or to loop the game i.e. Nuclear Throne, which is essentially beating it in order to start over with all the upgrades and weapons you have intact, gives players a lot more reason for coming back. I'd like to see this area developed some more as well.
There actually is some amount of metaprogression. What it actually consists of apart form shopkeepers and the 10x thing, only the devs know for sure. The game isn't good at communicating its changes.

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: First impressions with Starward Rogue
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 03:23:36 AM »
3. Lack of personal progression and/or long-term goals - Being able to unlock new weapons and items via playthroughs i.e. BOI, or to loop the game i.e. Nuclear Throne, which is essentially beating it in order to start over with all the upgrades and weapons you have intact, gives players a lot more reason for coming back. I'd like to see this area developed some more as well.
There actually is some amount of metaprogression. What it actually consists of apart form shopkeepers and the 10x thing, only the devs know for sure. The game isn't good at communicating its changes.
It's supposed to be story! After your first Warden kill and every couple after that you get some backstory.

EDIT: Forgot to say, this is an upcoming thing. Sometime this week hopefully.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 08:09:52 AM by Watashiwa »

Offline Misery

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Re: First impressions with Starward Rogue
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 07:18:51 AM »
Weaponry/consumables:  Just so you know, Wingflier, I think there might be an actual issue with items right now.   I'm not seeing any weapons appearing either.... and there's actually alot of them.  This goes for both main guns and secondary weapons.  Seriously, there's a whole pile of them (Chris had even said recently that he thought there were too many).  But in my last few runs I didn't spot any!   And someone else in a different topic has said the same as you.  And I think I heard someone in a video say that too.

So, I dont know what's up with that, but I'm going to ask Chris and the others about it ASAP (once they're awake).  Might be a genuine bug.


Lack of starting characters:  Another thing I discussed with him recently.  Brought up the possibility of getting the number of selectable mechs up to 9 instead of six, he seems to think it's a good idea, so we'll see what happens with that.  I do think  six is too few, but 9 seems like a much better number to be starting out with.  More can always be added later.   We just have to think the things up now... haha.

Difficult enough:  I sure hope so, hah.  Though Misery mode isnt ready yet.  I mean technically it's there, yes.  But the version that's there is sort of a "placeholder".  The ACTUAL mode will be a bloody nightmare and will basically be done when I'm finished with it; cant really give a specific point in time.  But I'm glad you're finding the challenge levels the game currently offers to be good!  I've yet to hear anyone say it's too easy, that's for sure....

The music:  Bloody excellent, aint it?


Lack of progression:  Also been discussed internally.  I've nothing I can tell ya on this one, for the time being.  We're all trying to get some ideas on how to deal with this one.


Also, if you're finding the game "grindy", lemme know what's causing that.... it's really not meant to be grindy at all (if it was, I'd have complained until it went away).

But anyway, thanks for the feedback!

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: First impressions with Starward Rogue
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2016, 08:13:36 AM »
I think six characters are fine but more could never hurt. if you make more, make at least one yellow.
Maybe also a black one (because we have already white).
I've thought about some kind of freezing mech (cyan?) that can stun enemies on place.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: First impressions with Starward Rogue
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 04:42:41 PM »
Quote
Weaponry/consumables:  Just so you know, Wingflier, I think there might be an actual issue with items right now.   I'm not seeing any weapons appearing either.... and there's actually alot of them.  This goes for both main guns and secondary weapons.  Seriously, there's a whole pile of them (Chris had even said recently that he thought there were too many).  But in my last few runs I didn't spot any!   And someone else in a different topic has said the same as you.  And I think I heard someone in a video say that too.
Yeah you may want to look at this more closely.

I've done entire runs where I barely saw any weapon drops aside from the ones you start with (which is very disappointing). This was my main issue with the game aside from the lack of multiplayer. Hope you guys can get it fixed soon.
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Offline Misery

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Re: First impressions with Starward Rogue
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2016, 05:11:21 PM »
Yeah, it's being looked into.  It's looking like internal methods for how item pools are dealt with are being looked at.  Nobody likes missing out on an entire class of items after all.   Not to mention the bit with some items appearing more than once in a run.

That's not to say there arent other issues though.... one that I want to see addressed is, uh, the "special" items in the game, to put it without spoilers.   After some more testing they might be just a BIT too easy to get.