Canadian-based game developer Sabotage Studio isn’t skimping on their production of Sea of Stars, a turn-based RPG slated for release in 2023. Mounting enthusiasm for the video game follows the tremendous success of a Kickstarter campaign that empowered the studio to match their ambitious vision with playable results.
The Sea of Stars storyline serves as a prequel to the developer’s successful side-scroller dubbed The Messenger. Sabotage Studio revisits retro-stylized pixel art, but this time with a top-down approach. Their upcoming entry to this vast nameless world emulates classic RPGs from the 90s, chiefly paying tribute to Chrono Trigger.
Forging its own identity has produced detailed landscapes drenched in some of the most pleasing palettes seen in this medium, but the game’s appeal extends well beyond attractive visuals. Sea of Stars is a love letter to its inspirational predecessors and another to fans who crave modernized mechanics.
So what’s Sea of Stars all about? Join the Children of the Solstice as they traverse a flooded world in dire need of their heroics. Valere wields magic bestowed upon her by the moon, while the sun fuels Zale’s skillful attacks. It’s their destiny to master their Solstice Magic and unite against the horrors created by an entity known as the Fleshmancer.
Of course, the final battle will require plenty of preparation. You’ll need to level up against lesser foes before stepping up to bigger threats. Valere and Zale must hone their abilities to become powerful Solstice Warriors, and they won’t get far without the aid of an intriguing cast of characters sprinkled throughout this mysterious realm.
Luckily, the duo’s celestial journey allows open exploration of every nook and cranny without pesky limitations, creating a smooth experience as you guide the protagonists and their allies. Explore each terrace by dropping down, climbing up, and vaulting across ledges. Swim through the sparkling waters, or let the wind catch your vessel’s sails.
Numerous islands dot the sea like brilliant stars in this archipelago. What secrets will you encounter on unfamiliar shores, or perhaps even beneath the waves? But don’t let your mission prevent the enjoyment of leisurely moments, too. Find a spot to cast your fishing line, then light a fire to cook your catch. Or partake in a round of the built-in mini game called “Wheels” inside the tavern as musicians play lively tunes.
Speaking of songs, Sea of Stars will lure you in with its nostalgia-laced soundtrack. Chrono Trigger’s composer Yasunori Mitsuda lends his talent to several enchanting tracks alongside Eric W. Brown’s ambient achievements. The resulting score creates an immersive backdrop for every aspect of gameplay.
Not everything about Sea of Stars is a retro throwback though. Sabotage Studio offers original storytelling that will forge memories unmistakably attached to this title. Additionally, the team introduces an impressive dynamic lighting system that plays a vital role in the game’s story while modernizing the pixel art genre’s appearance.
It’s also worth mentioning the clean, user-friendly interface displayed throughout the game. This slick UI merges classic elements with fresh takes as you click through interactive sequences. Sabotage Studio doesn’t want monster encounters to feel like a chore either. They’ve incorporated systems for grind-free combat, such as a lock technique that hinders enemy attacks.
Sea of Stars shows plenty of potential as a standout 2D title, and early demo previews fuel unrestrained anticipation. Sabotage Studio knows how to implement desirable elements into a retro-inspired game without dismissing the charms of classic masterpieces. The outcome is shaping up with the potential to become another RPG worth replaying years later.
Dive into the Sea of Stars in 2023. Announced platforms for this single-player RPG include Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, and PC. You can also wishlist this title on Steam today.