After immersing myself in the world of Sea of Stars for a whopping 37 hours, I’m ready to deliver a comprehensive review of this retro-inspired turn-based RPG. Drawing inspiration from beloved classics like Final Fantasy VII and Chrono Trigger, this game truly resonates with the nostalgia of bygone RPG eras. Let’s get into it!

sea of stars cover art
cozy campfire overlooking the sea and horizon with large moon in the sky.

A Perfect Start: Pacing and Lore

In the initial four hours of gameplay, Sea of Stars shines brightly. The balance between engaging combat sequences and captivating storytelling is seamless. It’s very reminiscent of a masterfully woven gameplay loop. Every 20 minutes, a fresh twist is introduced, injecting diversity into the gameplay. The rich lore continuously unfolds against the backdrop of a beautifully pixelated landscape. Somehow, Sea of Stars expansive world manages to maintain a sense of conciseness too!

Each dungeon presents enjoyable puzzles and concealed treasure troves. I found these puzzles to be on the easier side, taking no more than a couple of minutes to solve. Despite some critics claiming an overabundance of puzzles, I personally didn’t share this sentiment. Sea of Star’s journey takes players through a variety of locales. From towering mountains to lush jungles, eerie graveyards, serene lakes, and bustling cities. The diversity of enemies and their designs adds depth to the experience.

Sea of Star’s Narrative Depth vs. Cliché

However, as I delved deeper into Sea of Stars, I began to notice a few shortcomings. While the game’s world-building and lore are undeniably impressive, the surface-level storytelling can feel somewhat cliché. The absence of inner conflicts among the noble heroes results in a lack of unpredictability. I, personally, appreciate a dose of unpredictability in my narratives.

All secondary characters have more appeal and attraction to their personality than the two main characters. The whole party is happy-go-lucky and trusts literally everyone they come up against. There is no bickering between party members. It feels less realistic to real relationships. Due to the noble heroes never having a nasty bone, the major plot moments fall a bit flat in terms of emotional connection.

Combat Challenge: A Matter of Perspective

Some reviewers have noted Sea of Star’s combat as being challenging, but I respectfully disagree. Beyond the initial two hours and a specific section where a new party member is acquired, I found my remaining 18 hours to be a breeze, with minimal risk of character death. Even when a party member occasionally fell in battle, the game promptly revived them after two turns. This honestly makes it easy to maintain the party’s vitality. The well-balanced pacing, even after 20 hours, keeps the gameplay feeling fresh. Unlocking new party members and abilities, as well as discovering new exploration tools, ensures that monotony is kept at bay.

A Visual and Audio Masterpiece

Artistically, Sea of Stars is a marvel. Its exquisite pixelated visuals offer a never-ending feast for the eyes, with new visual delights awaiting exploration around every corner. Complementing this visual splendor is a soundtrack that is nothing short of exceptional. The attention to detail is remarkable, with both day and night themes featuring subtle variations. Sea of Star’s day/night cycle, coupled with the manipulation of time through solstice powers, adds another intriguing layer to its visual design. The world undergoes stunning transformations as time passes, such as flowers blooming or ice melting before your very eyes. The atmosphere is mesmerizing!

sea of stars cutscene
four fiends praising the blood moon

Other Sea of Stars Surprises

While the storyline may lean on familiar tropes, it’s forgivable when considering the top-tier gameplay, artistry, and sound quality that Sea of Stars delivers. One pleasant surprise in the narrative did manage to catch me off guard, preventing the cliché elements from becoming a significant drawback.

On a more trivial note, the absence of character outfit customization is a minor disappointment. It would have been a fun addition to see characters don different attire throughout Sea of Stars. Additionally, the inclusion of the mini game “Wheels” adds a delightful diversion for players. You use 2 heroes and spin a roulette wheel up to 3 times per round to lock in the best outcome. The main choices are between building defensive walls or attacking the crown with the left or right hero. The first competitor to lose their crown’s hit points loses the game. I could totally play this as a separate game altogether!

A Modern Turn-Based RPG That Feels Classic

Sea of Stars transports players back to the golden age of turn-based RPGs, inviting them to lose themselves in its captivating world for hours on end. This game, with its masterful blend of classic inspirations and modern gameplay elements, is a heartfelt homage to the RPGs that defined an era. While it may not completely escape some well-worn storytelling conventions, the sheer joy of exploration, the beauty of its pixelated landscapes, and the depth of its musical score more than compensate for any narrative predictability. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of turn-based RPGs, reminding us why we fell in love with this genre in the first place.

Aching for more turn-based RPGs? Check out Dark Quest 3: A Thrilling Turn-Based Tactics RPG Experience! As always, never miss out on reviews and gaming content with me on the GameGushGamer YouTube channel. Thank you everyone!

Leave a Reply