Sep 26, 2017 Last Updated 9:15 AM, Sep 26, 2017
Published in Adventure
Read 1176 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Sometimes games offer the player wish fulfillment: The ability to be a hero, face seemingly insurmountable odds, and still win the day. Other games invoke a sweaty-palmed, teeth-grinding stress worthy of the worst wearing-underwear-to-school nightmare. Your Star is the latter.

Part point-and-click, part puzzle exploration, part survival horror, the game is one hundred percent nerve-wracking.

Gameplay

Your Star tells the haunting tale of a young boy trapped in the ruins of his half-remembered home. He is searching for his lost sister using the light emanated by his tattered teddy. Monster shadows lurk in the dark, ready to consume the ephemeral illumination and drive the boy to madness.

Although saving his sister is the primary aim, to find her the boy must unlock his memories. Sinister characters block his efforts, and twisted riddles stand between him and the story of his past. Cleverness, endurance, and keen attention to detail are the keys to success.

Your Star isn’t a reflex-based game, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be painfully rushed most of the time. Three energy bars are to be monitored while playing: light, mind, and will. If light or mind deplete, the character dies. Will is a usable action and replenishes over time, while light drains over time. Mind is static, unless attacked.

The longer you’re in an area, the more monsters spawn. Certain types eat your light, others invade your mind. Killing them doesn’t prevent more from respawning. The clear strategy to survival is to get through each area quickly.

Draining resources aren’t your only problems. Several areas require you to solve timed puzzles or math riddles. The puzzles aren’t difficult, but the math problems can be challenging. If you spent your school years sweating over devious word problems in math class, you won't find this section fun. The answers aren’t multiple choice, you must solve the problem and know the answer. You don’t have time to break out the pen and paper, and if you can’t address the riddle in the allotted time, you lose a chunk of precious light.

When not facing mini-puzzles, you must search for clues that help decode the bigger puzzle. Who are you? Where are you? Where is your sister? What are these terrible things chasing you, and how can you get out alive?

Your Star uses unique, paper-drawn art that gives the environment a gritty feel to enhance its moody themes. The music and sound effects are surprisingly good considering how small-budget the rest of the game feels in comparison.

Problems

My first save game glitched after an update, and I was unable to play it. Attempts to load it just threw me back to the main screen. I hadn’t gotten very far, but considering the difficulty of this game, this could have been a tear-worthy event. The issue did not repeat after the first instance.

Wishlist

Saving after major events: After the first boss fight I was pushed into a riddle session without the option to save. I failed the riddle and died, so I had to repeat the boss fight. The second time I didn’t do as well as the first. Once I solved the riddle I was pushed into a new challenge without an opportunity to save. I went in the wrong direction at first, seriously depleting my resources. By the time I figured out where I needed to go, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough energy to face other challenges, so I quit and had to restart both the boss fight and riddle session.

Repetitive gameplay is painful and unnecessary. Tedious replays don’t make the game more challenging; just more annoying. Since the game limits saves, the player is disincentivized from saving as often as possible, increasing the likelihood of needing to redo a section after an unfortunate death. Having a few autosaves after big events would reduce the grind.

Keymapping reminders: The control system for Your Star differs from any other game I’ve played. It doesn’t follow tradition systems where “Space” or “E” are action keys. It isn’t easy to remember which keys do what if you spend time away from the game. The only way to get a reminder is to restart the game and play through the beginning area again. This is a simple problem solved by having the key system available in the menu. Bonus points if the keys can be remapped.

7

The Verdict

Tension is the primary dynamic of Your Star. Your resources are constantly draining as your enemies gather. The longer it takes to find what you need, the stronger they grow and the weaker you become. Confusion is death. Hesitation is death. To be successful you must think quickly, but you’re still likely to die several times before completing the game.

Your Star isn’t intended to be a relaxing, casual game to be enjoyed between other, bigger things. It is ideal for gamers that love a challenge and who thrive under pressure.

Phoebe Knight

Phoebe Knight is a freelance writer and novelist. She cut her baby teeth on the original King’s Quest, and has loved gaming ever since. Phoebe’s favorite games are usually weird ones with quirky storylines, but she has also logged an embarrassing volume of hours in sweeping open-world fantasy games like Skyrim and Witcher 3.

Website: www.phoebeknight.com

Related items

  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 Review

    With Divinity: Original Sin 2, Larian Studios creates a title that brings together the best aspects of table-top and classic roleplaying games. The graphics, along with the score and voice acting, are painstakingly detailed and are truly awe-inspiring. Every decision you make, from character creation to dialogue, will affect your experience, giving you a slightly different playthrough every time. This is not a game for the casual player, however. The sheer size of the game and the difficulty of some battles will require dozens of hours and have you loading quicksaves time and again. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is primed to be on many all-time favorites lists; few, if any, have succeeded to this degree.

  • Ys SEVEN Review

    Ys SEVEN is packed with content -- over 30 hours of gameplay, a deep storyline, and a catchy soundtrack.  Though the plot retreads the ‘hero tasked with saving humanity’ story arc, it does so in an original manner through a rich cast of characters. However, the default configuration is a hassle, which seems odd, considering that this title was first developed for the PSP — although if you had no idea that this entry originally came out on PSP, you’d never think that it wasn’t developed for PC. You’ll want to love this game, but problems with the controls might keep you from considering it one your favorites.

  • Tangledeep Early Access Review

    Tangledeep is like the platonic ideal of RPGs: it has everything you want in a dungeon crawling roguelike without all the mess of outdated graphics or frustrating UI. This gem evokes memories of 16-bit Super Nintendo RPGs from back in the day. Do yourself a favor, grab Tangledeep before it gets more popular, and just try it for a couple twenty hours. Did I mention there’s great replay value?

More in this category: Beat The Game Review »

Latest Shows

Children of the …

The OPN interview with Jason Kim, Cardboard Utopia. Children of Zodiarcs is a story-driven, tactical RPG set in the fantasy realm of Lumus; a world divided by affluence and poverty...

Mantis Burn Raci…

The OPN interview showcasing the release of VooFoo Studios' 'Battle cars' DLC for the fast-paced, competitive, top-down racer, 'Mantis Burn Racing.' A conversation with Creative Di...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

FIFA 18

Score incredible goals in FIFA 18 as new movement and finishing animations unlock more fluid strikin...

Total War: WARHA…

Sequel to the award-winning Total War: WARHAMMER, Total War: WARHAMMER II introduces a breathtaking ...

A Robot Named Fi…

A Robot Named Fight truly makes a name for itself with everything it does. While not an overly plot-driven title, the story behind it all is a fascinating and fun take on a classic...

XCOM 2: War of t…

War of the Chosen adds so favorably to the original XCOM 2 experience that fans should consider it near-perfect as well as essential. Although some features in XCOM 2: War of the C...

Niche - a geneti…

Niche – a genetics survival game is a species sim with roguelike progression, played in turns on a hex grid. It includes enough novelty to charm fans still searching for the childr...

Life is Strange:…

Life is Strange: Before the Storm plays like a cutscene with a point-and-click element that is a joy; no button combinations or consulting a grainy minimap: Daedalus himself design...