Starlink: Battle For Atlas is an action-adventure that sees a group called Starlink travel from Earth to the Atlas system to explore worlds and discover new energy sources. Starlink are a crew of fighter pilots and scientists who travel on a starship called the Equinox to Atlas, where upon entering the system, your Captain Victor St. Grand is kidnapped. You are then tasked to track down St. Grand and find out who took him.
The general gameplay sees you fly to one of seven planets in the system. Each has their own look, environment and band of characters to come across. You are tasked to hit up the planets outposts for information and to do some tasks such as fetching resources, scanning local wildlife for research or defending other outposts from The Legion, the main enemy of the game. After completing these tasks, the outpost is unlocked and it allows you to gain in-game resources like currency, mods to upgrade your ship and weapons or to expose more of the planet.
While on planets, you will face several groups of enemies as you progress. The Legion are the main enemy of the game and come in smaller grunt form, resource sucking towers and massive boss like enemies called Primes. To defeat these enemies, your ship is equipped with interchangeable weapons, which have different elemental effects. Combat is tight and ship control is smooth, allowing you to pull off dodge moves, active shields and you even have special attacks that you can charge up depending on which pilot you are. As this is a toys to life game, you have different ships, pilots and weapons to buy physically or unlock via digital download. You can play the whole game with just the Starter Pack, as there are some simplistic puzzles that involve using your elemental weapons (fire and ice), some basic ship platforming and of course battling hoards of enemies.
Things To Do
So with seven planets, what else is there to do you ask? As discussed above, outposts are a main objective on each planet. You can unlock, build or upgrade outposts which help you gain more resources automatically. There are different types of outposts, so a mix of these are needed to allow the planet to defend themselves and gain you lots of resources to help build more or upgrade your ship.
As you progress, you learn that the massive boss like Primes on each planet are powered by towers. In order to defeat the Primes, you should destroy as many of these towers as possible. This allows you to take on a Prime with less health or less power.
Similar to No Man’s Sky, there are a number of species of animals on each planet to discover. You have to track down and scan a number of these animals, in order to update your database. Not essential, but some added tasks if you are looking for a change. There are also bandit hideouts to discover and rid of planet bandits, which then turn into a neutral area, manned by your allies. There are also relics to find and secrets of The Legion to discover on each planet.
As this is a spaceship title, there are of course space battles. Nothing major to talk about here, as you take on a number of enemy ships in asteroid fields, or open space shooting action. The harder space battles take place later in the game, where you have to take out massive ships called Dreadnoughts and these are similar to taking out the Death Star or some boss levels in the old Star Fox games. These certainly up the difficulty level and you have to be well versed with combat and flying to succeed.
Visuals & Sound
The game is built in Ubi’s Snowdrop Engine, which powers the likes of Watch Dogs and The Division. Its visual style is sleek, with an CG animation esque flair to it. Each planet has a different environment to explore, with bright vibrant colours, dusty sands, ice environments and wild jungles throughout the system. At times it looks beautiful, as you fly across open water and through high forests.
Sound wise it hits all the usual beat. Weapons and ships have different sound that all suit there goal, music is minimal but non-intrusive and the voice acting is fairly solid. There are some great characters and most allies have voiced roles.
I played Starlink on the PS4 with only the Starter Pack available to me, but I enjoyed my time with the game. You could but about 15-20 hours into the main campaign, but the worlds are full of collectibles for the completionist. The story is well acted and nothing too complicated and gameplay is easy to pick up and play. The game can be played in couch co-op and with more variety in ships and weapons, there is certainly a lot of variety to keep you busy for a while. You DO NOT need to play with the toys, but if you want everything unlocked from the beginning, check out the digital only version which gives you all the characters, ships and weapons for a one off few. Otherwise you will have to buy them individually which could hurt your pocket. Again, you can finish the game with the Starter Pack, so don’t worry about missing out on story content.
Additionally, Nintendo Switch has a bonus character available with Fox McCloud and his R-Wing from the Star Fox series available exclusively on Switch. He does have some bonus story content and his special brings in the rest of the Star Fox crew. Fox comes bundles as the starter character for Switch.
Starlink: Battle For Atlas is fun for the whole family. Starlink: Battle For Atlas is availablle now on PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch.