· By Sam Wareing
Sea Of Stars - A Love Letter To JRPGs
Have you got a craving for old-school Japanese Role Playing Games - JRPGs - with a modern twist? Then buckle up because boy do I have the game for you.
Sea of Stars - the newest JRPG from The Messenger developers Sabotage Studios - draws heavily from the granddaddy of all JRPGs - Chrono Trigger. Created by the Square Enix dubbed the ‘dream team’ of game developers Chrono Trigger boasts some of the best visuals, mechanics and story of any game of its time and is considered by many to be the best JRPG ever created.
So for Sabotage Studios to create a game that pulls on Chrono Trigger’s strengths, can they match its excellence? The answer: they very well might have.
My time with the demo (which realistically only takes about an hour or so to complete without doing any of the bonus stuff) was one of utter euphoria and I found myself still playing at around the four-hour mark. Your party consists of Garl the cook and either Zale the Solar Baldewarrior or Valere the Lunar Monk - who you can choose to lead the party.
The bulk of the demo takes place in and around Port Brisk where some pirates ask you to look for the Coin of Undeath Accord in return for a lift on their boat.
From here it's your standard JRPG experience but turned up to 11. Battles, puzzle solving, and exploration are expertly presented and absolutely knocked my socks off. You have a large portion of the coastal city of Port Brisk to explore as well as a fishing lake and the alchemist’s lab too. Each area is enthralling and gorgeous with bright popping colours and stunning attention to detail which is all tied up with an enchanting soundtrack, bringing this tiny portion of the world to life. Notably, some of the music has been composed by Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda, furthering its connection to the legendary game.
Combat is an absolute treat. The music is fast-paced and makes every encounter special. Battles are turn-based with an updated version of Chrono Trigger’s combo system and a touch of the Mario and Luigi combat system thrown in. Breaking a ‘lock’ on an enemy fills up the combo metre, while the attack and defence mechanism requires you to time a button input to increase attack or reduce damage. This little addition makes combat feel much more involved and complex. Once again it’s the little things that really make this demo shine.
My time with Sea of Stars was short but magical. The team have shown off their talent by crafting mystery, intrigue, gorgeous music and visuals, and one of the best combat mechanic mashups I’ve ever seen. With a demo this good, I cannot begin to imagine how incredible the full game will be. The Sea of Stars demo can be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop now and releases on August 29, 2023, on all modern platforms.
Sea of Stars Fact Sheet
|Release date||August 29th 2023|
|Available languages||English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese|
|Console||Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Steam|
Ooo, this sounds great. I might have to try it!
AJ Kerr on