Real Talk By: KJ
Here’s an experimental concept by Ubisoft. Character/Spaceship Figures converging for a Major Sci-fi Adventure. Starlink: Battle for Atlas is the newest Toys-to-Life title, available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. One version features a Big Event that does separate it from the other two. Enter Team Fox. Many crossovers can feel like cheap cash-grabs, equaling sloppy results. Thankfully this one is a success.
The Star Fox Crew will appear in cinematics, interacting with Non-Nintendo characters. Starlink has a decent storyline that’s family friendly, but serious enough for veteran players. Definitely better than expected for a game primarily aimed at youths. The good news is that Star Fox fits into it nicely. Plenty of fan service crammed in here as well (I can’t spoil it). The famous Arwing is playable and upgradeable. Some may argue Ubisoft out-foxed Nintendo at their own game. It’s evident the publisher paid attention. This version eclipses the others because of it.
Controls are very comfortable. Flying from point A to B, zipping around enemies, engaging in fire fights, all feels great. Gameplay provides rewards for grinding. The Upgrade Tree elevates SL from a typical Toys-to-life offering. As you play weapons also improve. Most importantly, the tight controls have the potential to get even better with enhancements. Navigating through objectives is a care-free experience. This is really appreciated as main/side missions continue to pile up. Clear out an enemy zone and re-populate it with your own forces. Engage in dealings with outpost captains. Gather research, deliver goods. Destroy Enemy Towers.
Starlink does give off a No Man’s Sky vibe in terms of exploration. NPC variety is a bit on the lazy side. Planets will host various species that are definitely the same character model, slapped with another skin color. However, the game will label creatures as a different alien race.
Fast travel to planets will unlock, making world hopping convenient. Warp speed is available, useful when going to locations yet to be explored. During your travels it’s very possible to get ambushed by Space Raiders, so be on the lookout. Don’t worry. Help is available.
Drop-in Drop-Out Coop allows each player to have full-control of their own ship. Anything Player One has unlocked, the other has full access. Only downside, player two has to stay in proximity of player one. Still a useful mode since Starlink’s difficulty spikes significantly. No secret this one is aimed at children, but everyone can expect a bigger challenge later on. It’s great exploring open worlds with a friend, that feature carries a lot of appeal.
To fully enjoy this game Starlink can really get pricey. Purchasing the physical version ensures that players must buy every toy ship. Going digital gets you access to everything without those restrictions. It’s an odd pay-structure that could easily confuse the average consumer. It feels like a backwards approach. Having access to other ships is important, it’s your only way to respawn. With the digital version that’s easily available.
Starlink absolutely nails its crossover promotion with Nintendo. Ubisoft does the Star Fox franchise justice while enhancing the game it’s a part of. Battle for Atlas has truly satisfying combat that rewards players with useful upgrades and rock solid controls. An experience that needed more variety in missions, and easier access to ships. Despite the barriers, Starlink: Battle for Atlas still packs enough to keep you going. Unfortunately, it holds itself back from greater success with the Physical/Digital marketing.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Gets
3.5 of 5
+ Tight Controls
+ Impressive Local Coop
+Awesome Star Fox Crossover
-Absurd Pricing Structure
-Repetitive Character Types and Missions