Starlink: Battle For Atlas hit us as a bit of a surprise. As a toys-to-life game, it’s easy to write this one off as focused on a younger audience. But the core gameplay loop of this multiple-open-world space adventure is one that will satisfy both kids and adults, with adults potentially getting more out of the deal than the kids might.
Yes, at its core marketing-pitch premise this is a game where you buy (awesomely designed) spaceship toys and snap them together in whatever configuration you can dream of to build a ship in the game itself that you then take off blasting through space with and wreaking havoc on planets below. But what isn’t immediately obvious from the box art is how deep the customization gets in terms of unlockable power-ups, item upgrades, and skill combinations within. There’s a pretty meaty Action-RPG-esque system here that allows you to get to a place where you’re developing custom builds that fit certain battle situations better than others. And when the kiddos go to bed, rest assured you can grab a standard controller and blast off with your ships, swapping gear without needing the toys attached whenever you want.
I played a lot of this game with my 6 year old son in what ended up being a fantastic split-screen couch co-op setup. At first I was a bit concerned, because he wanted to play but kept getting lost. Quickly I realized that as first player, I could enable an option that kept my second-player son tethered to me at all times, so that he was never outside a certain radius of me without being teleported over to the action. This essentially made him like one of those kids you see at the Mall on a leash, but with the freedom to blow stuff up to his heart’s content. At first he was confused why it kept making him move, but as soon as he realized it meant he got to blow stuff up more he was thrilled and kept telling me to hurry up and get to the next battle or find the next quest location. This option for couch co-op made took this game from an average experience for us as a Father/Son gaming duo to an absolutely outstanding first-rate experience.
Of course, my son’s favorite thing to do is swap pieces out on the real life toys, move wings to places they shouldn’t be, aim weapons backwards, and then see how that translates to his in-game space ship. Normally this cracks him up, although occasionally he realizes the practicality of 3 wings on one side of the space ship, all pointed varying directions, doesn’t pay off. As a result, this game even ends up a mini-lesson in physics! This was a major help in justifying the extra time he and I spent playing this game to his Mother. Physics lesson, Mom. Physics.
Starklink: Battle For Atlas is available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. We played our adventures on Switch, and if it’s an option we highly recommend that platform for the additional Star Fox content. Quite honestly this might be the best Star Fox game made since Nintendo 64. Gorgeous graphics, fun combat, tons to do, and carefully crafted couch co-op make this game a must buy this Holiday Season.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download, Amazon physical
Publisher – Ubisoft
Developer – Ubisoft Toronto
Price – $39.99 (at time of publish)
Genre – Arcade, Adventure, Role-Playing, Other
Size – 12.7 GB
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product.
Andrew has been a nerd his whole life. He built his first computer when he was 8, started working in the IT industry at 15, and played competitive Counter-Strike at 16. His interest in amiibo started before their release but didn’t really take off until after the new year. He doesn’t like to admit it but Little Mac and WFT are among the amiibo that he had pre-ordered from Amazon but cancelled before their release. Little did he know a few months later he’d help start Amiibo Alerts. Gaming has always been his passion. He grew up with an NES, Sega Genesis, and PS2 before realizing that PCs truly are better than consoles.
The urge to be a little better, brought on by being a gamer, is what pushes him to help make Amiibo Alerts and Nintendeal amazing communities. Together with the team he has built, he is realizing a life-long dream: bringing something helpful and fun to a large group of people. Andrew’s role at Amiibo Alerts and Nintendeal as Founder and Editor in Chief allows him to create and build contacts within the community, review and present products, and stay on top of all things Nintendo.
Plays: Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4, WiiU, 3DS, Vita, and board games.