Densetsu No Starfy 4 (Nintendo DS) Review

By Mike Mason 22.08.2006 16

It's unlikely that you'll have heard of Starfy, except for the odd review or article about him (such as ones on C3, perhaps). For some reason completely abandoned in the west, the games are still tipping out in Japan, with the series on its fourth iteration over there. With the latest game, they have crossed over to the Nintendo DS from their original home of Game Boy Advance - can the quality be maintained in the platform switch?

Densetsu no Starfy (Legend Of Starfy) is a series about a little starfish's adventures, and is the only series that ninja developers Tose like to put their name to as a joint venture with Nintendo, otherwise choosing to cloak themselves and develop games in secret for others. By this, you'd expect the Starfy franchise to be good, good enough to give Tose the recognition it deserves, to make up for all the other accolades they may not have been given in the public eye for all their secrecy. Here's some good news: yes, it does. The Starfy series is an excellent set of platformers, and Starfy 4 is no exception.

The first thing that will strike you is possibly exactly the thing that prevents Nintendo from releasing the series over in the west - the looks. Simply put, it’s too darn cute; take the cutest Nintendo character you can currently think of (no, that would not be Wario) and up the adorability-meter (patent pending) by a few notches. Now you have Starfy. Served in a deliciously cartoony style, with a healthy dollop of colourful backdrops and garnished with fiendishly sweet little characters for extra taste (including the enemies), it’s possibly too rich for a market where guns and cars dominate as Nintendo tries to rid itself of its silly, mislabelled ‘kiddy image’. You might counter this with retorts of ‘Kirby!’, but there’s a difference here: Kirby came when Nintendo was still considered ‘cool’, and was accepted as part of the family with open arms, allowed to continue on with few people batting an eyelid at it. Starfy is a relatively new property, which happened to come along as Nintendo were taking an extended battering. Perhaps as the company begin to regain ground, they will stop ignoring Starfy and bring him over, especially with DS as popular as it is right now. Perhaps not – it’s difficult to know how our overlords work sometimes.

Anyway, ignore all the cuteness for a second. It's a gorgeous looking title and could even be considered to be one of the best lookers on the DS - well, 2D-wise, anyhow, especially on the sun-rivalling screen that is DS Lite’s. In addition to looking great in still form, it also has some of the greatest animation that we’ve seen, with exceptional attention to detail. We know that we said you should ignore the cuteness, but when you see Starfy flying about with a look of pure rapture upon his little yellow mug with his legs/arms/whatever starfish are supposed to have flapping about in the air in glee (and presumably helping with his gliding, too) you can’t help but let your heart melt for a split second, before you regain your composure and remember that you’re saying ‘awww’ to a handheld video games console.

While it's pleasant on the audio side, we know that what you really want to hear about is how the game plays. The Starfy series is quite unique in the platform genre in that part of the game takes place on land and behaves like a standard(ish) platformer, while the other half takes part in water. 'What's so unique about that?' you might cry. Well, while in other platformers it can be a chore to swim about, in Starfy it's the easiest thing in the world, perhaps even more so than the land-based sections. When you look at the character, it's obvious why: well, he's a starfish, isn't he? Rather than having to press action buttons constantly to keep afloat as in Mario, you can swim around freely and at a greater speed than you can walk. Across both environment types Starfy has a nice range of moves, from running, sliding, double jumping and spin-attacking on the surface, to boosting, spinning and drill attacking underwater. Starfy isn't the only 'star' (groan) of this game, though...

Starpy, Starfy's pink, hair-bowed little sister, makes a return from Densetsu No Starfy 3. Players never choose between the two characters, with the game forcing you to play as a specific fish on each level. On some levels you will actually end up controlling both, starting in different sections of the stage and progressing alternately (you switch by moving onto a special platform located at set points on both sides of the level.

Tose have done a good job with the game, being a very solid platformer indeed. There're some fun design elements, and the boss characters are excellent (the last battle, in particular, with a character that spreads all over the screen regularly, is brilliant). It might be best described as a combination of the Mario and Kirby series with some added fishy goodness. It also speaks volumes about good design too, being pretty much understandable to us despite being entirely in Japanese, a variety of images or facial expressions showing what needs to be done (though it is considerably more difficult in the second playthrough, where you have to find certain objects and enemies - and obviously we didn't understand all the dialogue, only a rudimentary understanding of what was going on). It wouldn't be entirely unfair to describe it as a game for children, as we assumed the role of the child unable to read while playing, and we still managed to get through it with ease. We also got quite a few laughs out of it, as the gist of some of the jokes are clearly shown in the characters' actions (they are all made harsh victims of unrequited love at some point throughout the story).

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Another fine addition to the DS' catalogue, we can only hope that it will eventually find its way over here. Despite being easy, this adds to the game in some ways as it makes a very relaxing, easy, fun journey through Starfy's world. Go and import it if you've got some spare money lying around.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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


Two decent licensed games something is wrong here.

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

Yeah, something is a tad odd. Developers wising up and making better movie games? Wouldn't count on it, but it was a nice surprise. :Smilie

It's a conspiracy I tells YA!

IANC said:
Dude yuor totally awesome. And i won't be killing you anytime soon.

"wheres the edit button?"

and Great review Mason. :Smilie

IANC said:
Dude yuor totally awesome. And i won't be killing you anytime soon.

Only if EA knew the potential of the Lord of the Rings franchise it could be epic

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

Can't believe I got the shitty version and you got this decent version.
lucky ba...

still haven't sold your DS version yet? Hazuki

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

Good point is: When I find this in the Box-Of-Selling-Out-Titles in 3 months, I can grab it and have some fun. But there are millions of better games out there waiting for my time to let it pass.
But I am glad, that grandmas, who grab a game for their kids, are not grabbing shit, as they will do with DS, Gamecube, PS2 and XBox-Version of this game...

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

I totally agree with you Mike, especially about the costumes bit! :lol: Smilie

For me, this and Starfy 3 are superb platform games, better than the TOSE-developed Super Princess Peach. Nintendo should really bring them to the West...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Cheers Adam. The costumes stuff is so irritating, I was really expecting to be able to send Starfy around in a big puffy dress, but no. Very disappointing...

And I agree, definitely better than Princess Peach!

Nice review, sounds like good-looking, light-hearted fun!

I've been meaning to look into the series for a little while now, very rarely hear anything but good things about it. :D

Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ] looks as much fun as watching wallpaper dry. I'll get this......when the World ends

You're the one missing out, Olu.

Low value?? Uh uh...not buying it.

6/10 isn't exactly a low value rating, and since you can get it for just over 20 quid and you have to playthrough twice to fully complete it (and the second play is entirely different), it's not that bad. It's just not as good a value as some other titles.

this is just wrong to show on a public website

mighty lord of the triforce

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