As it turns out – the ‘toys to life’ genre isn’t completely dead as Ubisoft has released Starlink Battle for Atlas which incorporates ships, pilots and weapons as interchangeable parts and accessories to your gaming experience. In Starlink Battle for Atlas, you are part of the Equinox crew who can explore planets, fight against aliens, trade with colonists and conduct ariel dog-fights in space. The game is rated E for Everyone and is very youth-centric in its writing and storytelling but it does have an appeal to older gamers who felt like they didn’t get a satisfying experience from playing No Man’s Sky.
The majority of action in Starlink Battle for Atlas is on the ground where you are flying or hovering in one of many spaceships – get used to strafing and performing barrel rolls to avoid enemy fire. There is plenty to explore in Starlink as well – you can collect orbs, minerals and other scraps on the planet to trade with the locals or use to upgrade your ships. All of the pilots, ships, and weapons can be swapped in and out – and the game encourages (and sometimes forces) you to do this. For the most part, we equipped a cooling frost weapon on the left side and a flamethrowing type weapon on the right which made for a good combination but you may decide you prefer the ‘imploder’ or ‘shockwave’ weapons. Some enemies will be more susceptible to certain weapons and some puzzles can only be overcome with certain weapons equipped.
We played Starlink Battle for Atlas on the PlayStation 4 and the graphics were very lush and pleasing to the eye – the only hangup is that too much happens on the screen to let you soak up and enjoy the atmosphere of the planets you encounter. In fact – a complaint we had was the often popping up dialogue scenes with characters talking getting in the way of your view and even during combat situations. The controls were surprisingly refined and once we got the hang of things flying, dodging, boosting or rolling all felt like second nature – an achievement not every ‘flying game’ has mastered.
Starlink Battle for Atlas Review Final Thoughts:
Know going into Starlink Battle for Atlas that there are two ways to play this game – one is the expensive way and the other not as expensive. The expensive way is the physical way in which you purchase physical ships, pilots and weapons packs which could easily exhaust your funds way before the Holiday season. The cheaper and probably more ideal way would be by purchasing the Starlink Digital Deluxe package which comes with a handful of ships, pilots and weapons – plenty to progress through the game. The big difference here would be if you are a toy collector or hobbyist who wants to have the ships and pilots in physical form or if you just want to play the game without all the physical accessories.
Something else worth noting — we found out during our unboxing video shoot that the Starlink Battle for Atlas PlayStation 4 version of the game is wired. This was extremely disappointing as no marketing or messaging previously mentioned this – we played the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions of the game at E3 Expo 2018 and the controller adapter is wireless for those two systems. Speaking of the Nintendo Switch version – this starter pack comes with Fox McCloud and his ship the Arwing (along with the pilot Mason) but not the Zenith ship which as of right now isn’t available individually – making collectors question if they want to purchase two starter packs or not.