Starwhal (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 14.12.2015 1

Review for Starwhal on Xbox One

Jousting is an old competitive sport from ye olde medieval times. Two mounted horsemen charge at each other with lances and the basic rules are the pointy end hits the other man. Starwhal is what happens when the horsemen are replaced by narwhals and ye olde medieval times gets swapped out with the sleek and dazzling neon flashiness of the 80s. Just what kind of multiplayer mayhem is Starwhal? Find out as Cubed3 takes a stab at reviewing Starwhal for Xbox One.

Starwhal is a stylish looking, multiplayer centric indie game. Outside of its flashy exterior there just is not a whole lot to it other than mastering the poor controls and ridiculous physics. The gist is that every narwhal must stab opponent's hearts and win and that is pretty much it. Sounds simple, yet the controls are extremely unyielding which makes every match a hilarious and chaotic match of flopping around and grinding up against opponents or other surfaces. With the controls and physics being as they are, it will render any sense of skill moot and ensure all users are at the same level which is "Help! I have fallen and I can't get up!" mode as the match descends into a neon blur of narwhals smacking into each other. There are a handful of single player challenges, but as mentioned earlier, the physics turn this game into a war of attrition to complete some of the most basic actions. There are not many of these solo levels and it is clear that Starwhal is meant to be a couch multiplayer game.

Screenshot for Starwhal on Xbox One

Suffice to say Starwhal's gameplay is very shallow but is fairly amusing for parties and does have a wealth of customization accessories to deck out space narwhal to the heart's desire. From accessories that are the heads of the game's designers to references to classic titles like Mega Man, the variety of cosmetics is all over the place, which suggests that the developers put some effort into Starwhal. In the end none of these accessories have any impact on the gameplay and do not add any substance at all.

If there was anything that Starwhal excelled at it would be its presentation. This is a very cool looking game with righteous soundtrack. The start screen truly is a radical screen saver to leave on the TV and emits a powerful glow that sets the mood just perfectly. Tron-esque gridlines, neon, and the stars: Starwhal has its heart in the right place, but sadly falls into the "fumblecore" subgenre of games like Goat Simulator which rely more on goofy physics and so-bad-it's-good novelty. The style Starwhal carries can only take it so far and even with a group of friends the game's core wears thin quickly and runs dry. The original Joust had a bit more going on thanks to the solid controls and gameplay that involved changing terrain and that enemies had an extra step to be killed off after a successful joust. Starwhal is unfortunately a step backwards compared to Joust, which is an actual 80s game.

Screenshot for Starwhal on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

If Starwhal was $4.99, it might have been worth it for the so-bad-it's-good novelty. As it stands now, the amusement just is not worth it even for the stellar sound track or cool style. This is a couch multiplayer game and not much else. All solo play features really come down to breaking targets or setting CPU controlled opponents. Anyone who is a fan of fumblecore style games will possibly get a kick out of Starwhal, but for those who care about tight controls or a single-player mode with some substance may want to steer clear from this stinky fish.

Developer

Breakfall

Publisher

Breakfall

Genre

Fighting

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I guess you could say, Starwhal's lack of single player content was done on porpoise.

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