Sea of Stars is a wonderful RPG that reminds me of Chrono Trigger, Illusion of Gaia, and Super Mario RPG. It has an interesting story, fun characters, and gorgeous artwork. I like almost everything about this game.
Most RPGs are built on a series of tropes. When done well, they make for a spectacular game. Sea of Stars does an excellent job with its story, but I think some of the gameplay isn’t what I like from an RPG.
The Story is what gets you through this game. It is a good one. It can be serious when needed, and it can be funny when it needs to be.
TLDR: Beautiful Graphics, Great Story, and Good Gameplay.
Sea of Stars has a good story. It starts with a few cliches, which are done well. There is a narrator who is telling us the story. This is a classic “You have to defeat a god” story that you can find in many RPGs. This doesn’t mean it is bad; it is just a little cliché.
There is a lot of secrecy early on. Your Mentor is hiding something from you. The two older Solstice Warriors try to give you hints, but your mentor stops them. It comes across like the main characters will be cannon fodder or live bait for the big boss.
Your characters are Solstice Warriors, and they’re fighting against the Dwellers who serve The Fleshmancer. At the start of the game, your goal is to defeat the Dweller of Woe, who is the last known Dweller.
Once you defeat it, the two older Solstice warriors betray you and perform a ritual to resurrect the Dweller of Strife. This is a stronger Dweller that took twelve Solstice Warriors to defeat. There are also four bad guys named One, Two, Three, and Four.
Your mentor abandons his post after the Dweller of Strife is resurrected. He still tries to help you as best he can but doesn’t want to fight anymore. This leaves your party on its own to fight the dweller.
Serai/Klee’shae has a secret. She tries to hide her identity during the game, and some of the dialogue suggests that there is more to her story. I’ll write more about it as her role in the story gets more fleshed out.
To get what you need to defeat the Dweller of Strife, you have to fight the Dweller of Torment. Not sure why your mentor didn’t know about this Dweller, but whatever.
You fight the Dweller of Strife but aren’t strong enough to defeat it. The Fleshmancer appears and ends the battle. He takes many of his minions away, injures Garl, and promises to give Erlina and Bugraves their wishes.
Garl is fatally wounded, but he asks for a potion of Borrowed Time to allow him to help one last time. It is a nice moment in the game. Yes, it is the same as many other RPGs that have you lose a party member, but it is done very well.
You travel across the Sea of Stars to Serai’s world, which has fallen to The Fleshmancer. It is a technologically advanced world where the people have been turned into cyborgs. It reminds me of Phantasy Star IV in some ways. It also turns out that Serai is a cyborg. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be shocking or not.
While in Serai’s world, you must restore balance and defeat another Dweller. This one is called the Dweller of Dread. You have to put the moon back where it is supposed to be and clear the clouds so the sun can shine.
You meet a character named B’st. I have no idea how to pronounce it, like many of the names in this game. It gets bonded to living glass and will help you free Serai’s world. I like B’st. It reminds me of one of the characters in Breath of Fire III.
You’re ready for the final battle once you defeat the Dweller of Dread. I’m guessing you’ll have to fight the entity that Burgaves, Elina, and the Fleshmancer in that order. This is just a guess at this point. I’ll let you know if I’m wrong.
The final boss is Elina. She has two forms, and it is an easy fight. Maybe it is because I’ve learned how to play, but it was easy. The ending is a bit of a letdown. It sets up future games, but I would’ve liked a bigger confrontation with The Fleshmancer.
I like most of the gameplay. There are some interesting things in the game, and it has some good ideas. The only thing I don’t like would be the timing combat system.
The main characters are fun. They occasionally come across like stock heroes, but plenty of moments make you feel like these are real characters. There is some personality to them that I find charming.
Here is a list of the playable characters in the game:
There might be more playable characters that I haven’t come across in this playthrough. If I did miss something, please let me know.
One interesting part of the gameplay is when your characters get knocked out. You don’t have items or spells that you can use to get them back on their feet; instead, you wait a few turns. The number of turns is represented by stars circling over the knocked-out character.
I like this a lot. It simplifies things and lets you focus on the combat. It was also a departure from other RPGs I’ve played. Items are mostly downplayed in this game. Instead of healing items, you cook food. Throughout the game, you’ll find new recipes. I didn’t put much time into this, but it is an interesting way to get cooking, collecting ingredients, and fishing into the game.
Sea of Stars uses a timing attack and defense combat system. You can press a button to increase or decrease the damage when you attack or get attacked. I wouldn’t say I like this combat style, but it is done well in this game.
The game says this is optional, but why wouldn’t you use it? You’re incentivized to use this timing attack system, which always annoyed me. Just make my attack do the damage of the timed attack, or keep it as is. It is like inserting an unnecessary mini-game into the combat.
You can disrupt enemy attacks. This is a cool mechanic, and it goes along with something else I love about the combat system. You can swap between characters. The party is made up of three characters; this leaves two characters in reserve.
You can freely swap between characters during your turn. This lets you get the right party members in place to disrupt an enemy attack. It is an awesome idea, and Sea of Stars does an excellent job of implementing it.
The leveling system is pretty awesome. Experience is gained after each battle, and characters level up simultaneously. It is like there is a pool that all the characters are connected to. This is much better than many older RPGs where each character gains experience separately and has to be in your party to gain experience.
You get a few items to help you overcome obstacles and solve puzzles. Here is a list of them:
- Wind Bracelet – Blasts wind and helps you move objects and rafts.
- Grapple Hook – Attaches to grapple points, enemies, and climbable surfaces.
These items help you to solve puzzles and navigate obstacles. I don’t normally like this in an RPG, but this grew on me. It does make exploration a little hard, but it isn’t too difficult to solve the puzzles and figure out where to go.
The ending is odd from a gameplay perspective. The final boss is a pushover as long as you learn to play the game and pay attention. Then things get weird.
Zane and Valere set off to fight a World Eater. This takes place in a vertical-scrolling shooter section, and when you beat the World Eater, the game stops, and the credits roll. It is odd, to say the least.
Overall, the gameplay is very good! I was a little worried about the timing combat and defense when I first started, but it grew on me, and there is an item you can get that simplifies things. The puzzles and boss fights are a little too easy at times. Sea of Stars is just a fun game to play.
The graphics are gorgeous! It looks like a retro game but with modern artwork. It doesn’t look like pixel art but resembles a game from the late 90s and early 2000s. Both worlds look excellent.
I love how this game looks! At times, it looks like a watercolor painting. It is such a beautiful game to look at, and it reminds me of the Mana games. It looks beautiful!
There are two worlds in this game. The first world looks like a high fantasy world. There are ruins everywhere, which gives the impression that this place has been here for thousands of years.
The second world resembles a post-apocalyptic world that some Lovecraftian horrors have torn apart. It is a high-technology world, but several ruins are incorporated into the landscape. Both of them look amazing.
Near the end of the game, you lose Garl as a party member. The style of cutscenes changes to a comic book panel scene. It reminds me of Phantasy Star IV when you lose Alyse. It is a great scene! I’m not sure if that game inspired this, but it is where my mind went when I saw it.
The other cutscenes are excellent. They play out like anime cutscenes from some of my favorite games on the PS1. They look awesome!
Overall, I love the graphics. The characters, enemies, locations, and cutscenes all look great. Sea of Stars reminds me of many other retro RPGs, and the graphics are a big part of it.
9.5/10. Sea of Stars has gorgeous graphics, good gameplay, and a great story. There are a few minor things that I don’t like, but they grew on me as the game progressed. I’m not a fan of timing combat systems in this type of game, but it does work well in this game.
- Beautiful Graphics
- Good Gameplay, but I don’t like the timed combat
- Great Story
- I wish there was more to it. I didn’t want the game to be over.
- The ending was a letdown
Sea of Stars is the best game that I’ve played this year. I like it more than Dredge and Oxenfree II. It is a beautiful game with a great story. The ending of the game and the timing combat are the only things I have a bit of an issue with.
Neither of those things should detract you from playing the game. It is a wonderful game that has an excellent story. It reminded me of the many RPGs that I enjoyed from the 90s.
It feels like there is some Chrono Trigger, Phantasy Star, and Super Mario RPG in this game. I kept finding things that reminded me of other games. I wish this game had gone on longer, as I wanted to see what adventure our heroes would embark on next.