Starwish

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Visual novel meets shooter meets RPG meets space opera meets awesome in this unusual hybrid from Anonymous D Studios. After decades of skirmishes and violent protests, the battles between the pirates and the Federation appears to be heating up, and one young pilot finds himself in the middle of it. Strike out on an hours long adventure that combines drama, romance, and fast-paced arcade action in this impressive game.

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Walkthrough Guide


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Seeing that no one has posted a walkthrough here yet, and the Game Guide that Starwish already has is more a guide than a walkthrough, I'm going to post a walkthrough, though much of it will actually be commentary, and me reviewing the game some more. If you just want to get the low down on beating Starwish and don't want to read that commentary just skip to the end.

Before I begin though, I do want to say that if you want to see the "best" ending, you'll need to play the game on Hard-playing on Normal will not allow you to see Neferiti's ending, which means you won't be able to see the "Best" ending either. I believe there are seven other endings you might be able to see in Normal mode though, so even if you're not interested in Hard you may still see several endings-assuming you meet the requirements for those endings.

There are different styles you can choose for how to play, depending on the stats , weapons, and mods you choose. In games I play I usually go for the long haul, and that was the case in Starwish. I put all my stat points from the first few levels I beat into Intelligence, because this stat increases the experience you get from killing enemies and bosses and such. Once I reached the roof in that I went for Luck. And once I got that maxed out as well I began putting points into Offense. Note though that every time you gain a level you'll be able to put a few more points into your stats, even stats you previously maxed out, since the maximum on those stats increases again.
Sadly, after beating the game 5 times now, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Intelligence isn't nearly as useful as I hoped it would be. Basically, enemy strength appears to increase so much that gaining levels faster is probably not going to help a lot, unless you do a whole ton of level grinding. Even then, starting a new world or a New Game + may effectively nullify your advantage, though I'm not entirely certain of this. Early on putting your points in intelligence, luck, and then offense could be useful-say, all the way through world 1. After that, it may be best to just switch to offense and defense, and perhaps luck as the third stat. Popping up your stats in this way should probably make the second and third worlds easier.

Endings and New Game +
While still on the subject of what stats to increase, I'll also mention that while Starwishdoes have a New Game + feature as originated in Chrono Trigger I believe, in StarwishI think it's nearly useless. In Chrono Trigger, the New Game + feature was great. You basically started the whole game over-except you still had all the experience and money and items you got from the first play through, making you very tough. This is also the case in Starwish, but unlike CT, Starwishgreatly increases the strength of enemies as well when you start a New Game +. Whereas in CT a New Game + meant that you could go back and totally cream enemies that gave you trouble the first time around, in Starwishin my NG+'s it meant that the enemies basically scaled up with me too. I think the enemies were pretty much as strong the first time around as they were the second, in comparison to the strength of my weapons. I didn't realize this until I'd beaten the game the second time-on normal mode. Once again, a reminder: if you want the best ending, don't even bother with normal mode. That's something else I didn't find out until my second play through.
Now, even though I realized after the second time that enemies scaled up in difficulty, I was not aware of something else about NG+: being able to view the "Best" ending is a good deal more complicated than simply beating the game twice on Hard and just talking to different characters each time. I discovered this after I beat Starwishthe second time on Hard-the fourth time in total-and discovered I still couldn't see the "Best" ending. The first time I had talked to Deadeye, Tessa, Mare, and Neferiti every time I could, and at the end of the game found that I could view all their endings; the second time I went for Johnny, Ginny, and Swig. I thought that the game would save the endings I had seen from Deadeye, Tessa, Mare, and Neferiti, so that I could now see all seven of those endings and would have access to the "Best" ending. I was wrong; it turned out there were a lot more requirements than I had realized, and I think I could only see four or five of the possible endings.
It was at that point that I looked around a bit online and discovered a link to a thread about in the forums on Kongregate, and discovered the requirements for the "Best" ending. MrRubix over there has a post on Starwishthat gives the order that you can talk to characters in the cafe in order to get the "Best" ending.
This was the order I talked to people the fifth time I played, and it allowed me to see the "Best" ending. As he said, some of the characters have additional requirements for you to be able to talk to them in the cafe. Neferiti and Ginny were the only ones I had trouble with on this-Neferiti because like I said I played on Normal the first time, and Ginny because you can't die at all while she's with you if you want to see her ending. Because of all this, I didn't see the "Best" ending until the fifth time I beat the game.
So, having said all this about the endings, time to talk a bit more about actually playing the game and beating the levels. Whether you play on Normal or Hard, putting your stat points into intelligence, luck, and then offense for the first world will probably work pretty well. In the second world, put your points into offense, defense, and then luck. This should make later levels easier, due to increased damage you're dealing.

Weapons and Mods
By and large, I'd say try to put most of your money into mods. Don't worry too much about upgrading weapons to higher levels unless you're going to see a significant increase in the amount of damage-say, 20% or more. If you're not using one or more of the weapons at your disposal, you probably shouldn't bother upgrading them, as the money would be better spent on mods-dozens and dozens of mods. In order to see Deadeye's ending though you need to have enough total levels of upgraded weapons. The number is determined by a kind of complicated formula. On NG+ though the requirement for talking to Deadeye is gone, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you don't get Deadeye's ending once you've beaten the game, just go for NG+. You should be able to beat the whole game on NG+ in less than two hours, if you skip the dialogue.
So what weapons and mods should you use? For weapons, obviously you'll have to use the Machgun until other weapons become available. After that I think it's up to your play style. Most of the weapons simply didn't fire fast enough for my taste-so I used the laser most of the time. It has the fast fire rate and the highest accuracy of any weapon, and the travel time is basically instant. I'm not sure what the damage per second is compared to other weapons, but it's high enough that most little enemies drop quickly from it. Probably the biggest drawback is that has a very narrow beam. This means that you yourself will need to be pretty accurate with it to take out enemies, especially the smaller ones. This can be a little tough once you have a lot of engine mods. If you do have this problem, try making passes up and down so that the laser repeatedly hits the foes. A couple passes will kill most enemies. Of course, if you're up against something that can take more damage, you'll need to line up your ship up just right. One other point on the laser: I've noticed that sometimes it can hit enemies behind obstructions-sometimes by simply moving your ship up and down, sometimes because the laser actually seems to cut through terrain.
Once I got it, I also found the wave to be a very effective weapon. Unlike the laser it has a much wider firing area and it can hit multiple targets. I used it almost all the time after I gained access to it near the end of world 2. Just move to the top of the screen and then the bottom and back while firing continuously, and wave should take care of most enemies you encounter.
Lastly, I used a smattering of the chain weapon. The range is so low I just didn't find it very useful, except in a handful of situations.
As to secondary weapons, I'd say that the most recent one is probably your best bet. I think the only time I ever went back was for the Bomb: it can pass through terrain, which is useful a few times.

For mods, it's probably best to max out the mods in those categories where it's possible-Reduce, Accuracy, Evade, Crit, Item, and Engine. I don't have too much more advice on them, except that I generally had a lot of xp and moolah mods, the first few times I played. NG+ will mean that you probably don't have to worry about those sorts of mods though. If you can, try to have roughly equal values in shielding and HP, adjusting your mods accordingly. For regen mods, I usually aimed to have enough so that I would totally regenerate my shields in about 8-12 seconds. You can have shields that regenerate faster if you like, but the total shielding might not not be high enough and more shots will probably get through your shields and to your HP.

Skills
Over the course of the game you'll five opportunities to choose from one of three possible skills-there are 15 skills total, but you'll only have five by the end of the game. NG+ resets the skills, meaning you'll never have more than five, but if you want you can choose new ones the second time around.
Of the first three, I didn't use explosive crit at all. Until the Scatter bombs, I didn't really find the secondary weapons all that useful. The fire rates are too low, and the opportunities to even hit enemies with them are pretty few, because your lasers or the wave should be able to take out most everything.
If you know you're going to be going for a NG+, you may well want to go for Insurance the first time around, and Tail Shot the second time. Otherwise, just go for Tail Shot. It will probably be better-and even then, the ability to hit enemies behind you shouldn't be something you need often, because laser and wave should allow you to get most enemies before they pass you.

Of the next three, I used Vertical Spread the first time and didn't much like it. I think Rapid Reload was more helpful. I didn't ever try Kitsune's Cloak; if I were to play the game again though I think I'd probably go with it though, just to see if it makes much difference. I'm still betting Rapid Reload would be better.

For the third tier, I've tried both Overdrive Charger and Demolitions and liked both. If you have high defense, Overdrive Charger probably isn't very helpful. Most of the time I used Rapid Reload and Demolitions, and together they mean that you're pumping out quite a bit more secondary fire than usual. These skills with Missiles or Scatter can be very useful. I never tried Long Shot, but by and large I don't think it would be very useful because it doesn't actually increase your damage per second-just shot speed. If the Chain weapon came earlier in the game, though, I think it might be quite useful. If I were to play again though, I think I'd want to test it with some of the weapons to see if there's anything I'm missing out on.

On the fourth tier I believe I've used all three skills. I think Triton Absorber is probably the best. I tried Power Critical the first few times, but weapons just don't crit often enough for it to be that useful, IMO. On my current saved game I have Overheal. I like it-because I also have high defense, and thus high overdrive. If you don't, Triton Absorber is probably your best bet.

And for the fifth and final tier, I have tried all three skills. My least favorite was Self Fix. I never noticed that this was helpful. Once or twice while I had this skill my HP dropped kind of low and I watched a bit to see how quickly it regenerated. The regeneration rate is evidently very slow. I think it's so slow as to be basically insignificant in battle-I'm not impressed. Overdrive Charger II I used two or three times because I had not taken the first Overdrive Charger. Like the first one, if you have fairly high defense I wouldn't go for Overdrive Charger II either. A high defense stat-and thus high overdrive-should allow you to pretty easily use overdrive two, three, even four times in a single level. Overdrive Charger II would just be overkill on overdrive. I'd rather go overkill on defense by taking Defensive Shielding myself. And yes, if you take Defensive Shielding and Triton Absorber, I would say that you will be very difficult to kill. I suspect that with both at once the final battle would pretty much be a breeze. In my saved game I have Defensive Shielding, and during the final battle I don't believe I lost any health-but I had high defense. Even with relatively low defense though, I still think that Defensive Shielding would be the best of these three skills.

Grinding
I did a fair amount of grinding in Starwish. For the most part though, I don't think it's really that necessary. Maybe if there's a specific weapon you'd like to upgrade, or a mod you want to buy. It seemed like though that no matter how much I went back to a previous level and leveled up or farmed cash, it didn't really make things that much easier. I'm not certain, but I think that every time you switch worlds or start NG+ the game scales the enemy strength with you, making leveling up kind of pointless. I don't know this for sure though. In any case, here are my favorite levels for grinding:
In world 1, Hidden Ruins, just before the Earthwall, is probably the best place. The Monolith is the boss here, and I found it quite easy to beat. In world 2 the Icicle Cavern is a pretty good place, which like the Hidden Ruins is pretty easy and gives good xp and moolah. In world 3, Eternal Swamp is probably the best. Ancient Ruins actually might give better spoils, but the boss is one of the more difficult in the game. I also did a lot of grinding on Maelstrom. I found the boss there very easy to beat.

Achievements
I've found 11 achievements in Starwish; I think there are 12. Here are the ones I've found and a little on how to get them:

Maximum Overdrive-Use overdrive 3 times in a level. Get high defense and/or the overdrive skills and this should be easy.

Weapons Collector-Obtain one of each weapon. I'm not sure why there's even an achievement for this-you get the weapons automatically after beating the levels, every other level I believe. The only thing I can think of is that the Chain weapon might be considered secret or something. Maybe it requires that you talk to Deadeye enough or something? I don't know.

Moolianaire-Just save up 3,000,000 in moolah-you probably need to have that much available at the beginning or end of a level or something.

Mod Maniac-Purchase 200 mods. You'll need a lot of money, so having high luck will be helpful, and high intelligence means you'll raise your luck faster.

Excessive Force-Obtain a level 61 weapon. Again, lots of money and some persistence required. You can probably beat the game pretty easily with your weapons only in the 40's, possibly below, so just start a NG+ if you like.

Grinder-Reach level 100. I think this might mean "beat 100 levels." I think that I got this long after my character had reached level 100. Not sure. Note that your character's level, the number of levels you've played, and the level of your weapons are probably all going to be different-my current character level is 307, but the highest weapons I've seen available for upgrade in the shop are only around 240. As to how many levels I've beaten, it has to be at least 150, and it's probably closer to 250.

Killer-Kill 4,000 enemies. This shouldn't be difficult, but if you do somehow reach Iblis without getting this achievement, just take a break and grind for a while.

Time Paradox-Beat the first Firebolt encounter. I'm pretty much certain you'll have to do this on NG+. This battle forces you to use the laser, so make sure your laser is maxed out BEFORE you start NG+. Your skills will have reset, but your stats will still be intact-I'd recommend high offense and defense, but other combinations might work. Other than that, there's a little technique I like to use in shooters that helps me dodge enemy fire better. Sit in a position where you're hitting the Firebolt with your laser. The Firebolt will be shooting at you, but the travel time of the shots means you'll have a while before they hit. So don't move. Just sit there, until just before the shots hit. Then move a slight bit up or down, and the shots should miss, and you'll be able to stay in this new spot a while. If you get to the top or bottom of the screen just watch carefully and you should be able to spot an emptier area where you can pass in between shots from the Firebolt.

The End-Complete the game. If you've read this walkthrough I doubt you'll have any trouble. The programmer, xdanond, also wrote a Game Guide though, so you may want to read that as well.

Chosen One-Complete the game without dying. I think that I only obtained this achievement on my most recent play through. This is pretty difficult to get. Of course, viewing Ginny's ending requires that you not die at all, at least until she leaves the Mothership. I would say your best bet is to go for for high defense, and get Triton Absorber and Defensive Shielding. And you'll probably want to try for this on NG+. And you'll want to be very careful not to get stuck behind terrain. I believe that on my fourth time playing through the game I died more times from getting stuck behind terrain than did from enemy weapons. Also, if you think you're probably going to die you can always click the Pause button on the lower right of the screen and exit the level. This has saved me a few times.

Social Club-View all character endings. The best ending does not count. You'll have to do this on Hard though, so you can also see Neferiti's ending.

Overview
For the first world or two put your stat points from leveling into intelligence, then luck, then offense. Later on switch to offense, then defense, then luck. Use the Machgun as you main weapon, until the laser becomes available, which you should use almost exclusively until the wave becomes available. Wave is good for lots of small enemies; laser is better for single enemies with higher HP. You may want to experiment with other weapons to find your own play style. Investing most of your moolah into mods is probably the best strategy for your money. Upgrade your weapons only when it will significantly increase their damage, by 20% or more I'd say. By and large that probably means upgrading to a level 10 or 20 above your weapon's present level.
As far as skills, on the first tier Insurance can be useful if you really want moolah, but Tail Shot is probably better. Explosive Crits will be nearly useless. On the second tier Rapid Reload is probably the best, but Kitsune's cloak might be worth a shot. You could use Vertical Spread if you didn't go for Tail Shot earlier, but it's not very useful. Third tier: Demolitions gives more firepower, especially when combined with Rapid Reload and good secondary weapons. Overdrive Charger could be a good choice, but if your defense is high you'll probably want to skip it. Long Shot is a long shot, but might be useful depending on the weapons you use. Fourth tier: Triton Absorber is very nice. Overheal may be OK, particularly if you have lots of overdrive. Power Critical is not very useful. Fifth tier: Defensive Shielding should make you significantly stronger, especially with a high defense stat, and if you combine all this with Triton Absorber you will be very tough to kill. Overdrive Charger II might be useful if your defense is low, but if it's high go with Defensive Shielding. Self Fix was slow-too slow for me.
Remember to take a look at the Game Guide that comes with Starwishif you have other trouble. And as for the endings, if you want to see a particular character's ending, the main thing is to talk to them a lot. Remember that after you beat the game once you can click Continue on the main screen, beat Iblis again, and view another ending you qualify for-there being a total of 9 possible endings. After you beat the game once though you'll need to start a New Game + if you want to see endings you didn't qualify for. The first time you play you may be best off mainly talking to the characters you like the most. The other characters' endings and the optimal ending won't be available, but you will be able to see the basic ending that comes when you don't make a wish. If you then start a New Game + and use the optimal talking order, available above, you can get the "Best" ending. Is the "Best" ending actually worth playing the game through again if you've already seen the other endings?

Maybe. The philosophy at play there is quite a bit at odds with my own view on things. The idea is that when you have the opportunity to ask for and get basically anything you could wish for, you should ask for nothing, and then you will get something much better than anything you could have wished for.
To me, the lesson the game should have been trying to teach is that, rather than setting aside what you want and basically embracing a rather apathetic approach to the future, you should carefully examine your desires and make sure you make the RIGHT wish, instead of making NO wish. As I understand it, Iblis-the final boss of the game-is basically the manifestation of desire, an entity that is constantly aware of all the desires of all the other beings in the universe. It is your task in the game to eventually defeat Iblis, or defeat desire, or defeat "Bliss," as the entity is later called. I think there's a big difference between "Be careful what you wish for" and "Don't wish for anything." The Lucernians, around whom much of the game was centered, were a society that could have virtually anything it desired, having all their desires fulfilled through Iblis. Yet they went to war with each other and became so caught up in the fighting that they lost sight of the future, ignored the plight of the other "lesser" alien races in their galaxy, and eventually destroyed themselves largely through a lack of foresight.
Was their mistake inherently the act of making wishes-which not very different at all from just seeking that which they desired? That is, was it simply the fact that they had such vast power at their disposal? Or did their error come in the way they used or misused that power-the particular wishes that they asked for? I would say it was the latter. With more foresight, with more insight, they could have avoided the the fate that they blindly stumbled into. I think this ought to be a tale about seeking out the right things, and learning to curb and balance our desires, and correcting the flaws in the natures of intelligent beings, instead of completely casting aside the things we want, and their ability to get them. When a society, or an individual, flies headlong to its own destruction, don't assume that it must have been because of all that power at its disposal. The power itself is not the evil; it is in those beings that misuse and abuse the power. It's interesting to me that the Kingdom of Zeal fell for reasons very similar to those that the Lucernians fell; I think xdanond is a big fan of Chrono Trigger, and certainly I am.

Anyway, big kudos to xdanond for Starwish. I would love to see him make some future games. Someone give him a couple million bucks and let's see what he comes up with next!

27 Comments

Iconian Author Profile Page June 15, 2011 6:25 PM

I like RPG's; in recent years I've gotten tired of them though, because while strategy often comes into play in the battles, most are typically quite boring because they're turn based, and thus quite slow. As a result, my sights in recent years have turned more toward shooters in particular of various types, whether FPS or sidescrolling or whatever, since battles are more realistic, faster paced, and basically just more fun. Yet I still crave the deeper stories of RPG's.

And now, a big RPG/shooter hybrid has just been released. Reading the review here and comments on Kongregate I am reminded of those RPG's, and the introduction music I'm listening to sounds a lot like the theme from Secret of Mana.

This . . . could be fun.

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Anonymous June 15, 2011 7:39 PM

Was wondering when you'd review this.

Pretty much agree with what you've written. I'd also further point out that this is a game for those would are willing to read out a story, not for a coffee break gamer.

Thought you would try to cover some more detail into the gameplay itself as from the review itself, I barely know anything besides that it is a shooter and uses stats in a RPG way. Though the gameplay itself is fairly basic, though I'd encourage people to read the game guide (linked ingame) to further understand exactly how stats affect them. For the most part, while the game could have used at least an art upgrade between "stages", it is decent and fairly well balanced (before start game+'s at least).

Also, you didn't mention at all what is arguably the main goal of the game: to see the different endings. As you play and engage in the chat menu, you will progress on their side stories. You will need to speak to a character 9 times to unlock their ending, though when and how they appear in chat is restricted by a number of parameters. The whole process is somewhat confusing and is only really hinted at, and at times not entirely intuitive. It can be appreciated as a good "hidden" content it were not that you can vote for the ending to be canon. I'd just link the guide at Kong, if it weren't against the rules.

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Seems like there could be some more bug testing needed. At one point I grazed a wall and got stuck with a nonresponsive ship until the scrolling screen pushed me out of the scenery with a sliver of my lifebar left.

Honestly I'm not a fan of the scenery in general. It blends in with the backgrounds far too often, and the enemies ignore it, meaning sometimes I'll just stop moving, get my shield drained, and sit there confused until I realize I'm on a wall. That and enemies shooting through a wall that I have to maneuver around to hit them is nonsensical and annoying.

Not to let those minor complaints take the forefront, though, I do rather enjoy the game. It's definitely casual-level difficulty, at least what I've seen of it, but that's pretty much what I'm looking for in a game where grinding would be a tedious slog through previous ares.

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tchakkazulu Author Profile Page June 15, 2011 8:26 PM

Deadeye for president, indeed!

When I started playing the game, I couldn't get into it. Some storyline. Answering questions. More storyline. Then finally a battle... which didn't prove to be very interesting. More storyline. Then a menu with a lot of options, and immediately some stats to upgrade.

So I clicked around for some conversations, didn't buy or upgrade any stats, and went into the first *actual* battle of the game. Nothing too exciting. This continued for a few more levels, when suddenly the story started getting interesting.

The second world... game-play-wise wasn't very different from the first world, and as the review mentioned, even the bosses were the same. I played through it mostly because of the story. When there suddenly was a third world (hadn't seen it coming), I was about to stop, especially when the first boss I fought was *yet another* clone of one I had fought twice before. However, those levels were more fun than anything the first two worlds had to offer. I actually had to switch around guns mid-level. The bosses, while repeats, had changed their attack patterns, so that's good as well.

All in all, I agree with the review. The gameplay isn't very refreshing as far as side-scrolling shooters go, though there are some different character/ship builds that are worth trying. I also like the difference between permanent character stat-points, and reassignable ship stat-points, so there's that.

And for the multiple endings... I don't really feel like replaying the game to see them. There are no in-game choices to make that actually influence gameplay, only the ending. It'd be neat if, for example, you choose to spend lots of time with Ginny, there's a discount on modules. Or something like that.

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tchakkazulu Author Profile Page June 15, 2011 8:56 PM

Hrm. I think that ate some of my comments about the third world. The general tone I was aiming for that world was "positively surprised". Levels were more interesting, bosses, while repeats, were somewhat different, too. So yay!

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Coldfrog Author Profile Page June 16, 2011 3:01 AM

I really want to get into this, but right now I just don't have the time to go through the entire plot... You weren't kidding when you said a lot of the game was major text dumps. Wow!

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Is it possible to defeat the boss in the first battle?

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SteelBoots June 16, 2011 12:17 PM

Having finished the game and replaying the appropriate level to see the endings at my disposal (5 for me) (I'm not sure how many there are, I think I'm missing at least 2). I feel I can make a couple comments.

The story is what kept me playing. I was also shocked at the amount of gameplay available for free. I enjoyed finding the best weapon pattern that worked for my gameplay style.

The backgrounds were great, but I did have the same issue as others in trying to figure out what was not background and some weaponry being fired upon my Snail was difficult to perceive.

In the end though I encourage others on the fence to give it a try at least past the intro and through the first several areas.

All areas are replayable if you need more moola and experience.

I'd like to see a sequel where you're an up and coming pirate lad and visit various star systems doing combat or particular missions. A bit more rpg depth with another great story and some varied gameplay.

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neo1973 Author Profile Page June 17, 2011 4:26 AM

Could. Not. Stop. Playing.

So, I skipped past the dialog in the beginning, but after the first chapter and I missed a major plot point, I read pretty much all of the main dialog. Still skipped through some of the side dialog.

Overall, pretty good. I always get frustrated with RPG's when you don't quite know when good enough is good enough on your stats. Also, I was confused about the modules and how to use them for the first part of the game.

Other than that, typical soap-opera RPG story, so if that's your bag, you'll love this game.

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Random Author June 17, 2011 11:22 PM

Best game ever

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Anonymous June 18, 2011 6:23 AM

I almost beat the Fireball in the prologue (after beating the game).

Then it glitched on me.

I think they did this on purpose. o_o

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No idea why anyone would play this. The writing is... awful. The gameplay is not really that original, and the graphics are horrible. The game also makes no sense: why on earth do I have to buy ship parts from someone who lives on my ship and is on my side, apparently developing technology for me? Just... bleh.

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Love the game, but only one complaint.

Ginny the Djinni, really?

It really stands out as being odd especially since the naming conventions for all the other characters are great. There is foreshadowing and then there is making the players do a collective face-palm at the pain of the pun.

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@Pe-ads: You're free to have your opinions, but...

"The game also makes no sense: why on earth do I have to buy ship parts from someone who lives on my ship and is on my side, apparently developing technology for me?"

Because it costs money to acquire/make/improve those parts? Even if she is on your side, the weapons don't magically appear out of nowhere.

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Vindicator June 19, 2011 5:04 AM

Great game, MUCH better than The Last Canopy, your old overrated review for game.

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dmboogie Author Profile Page June 20, 2011 3:52 PM

@Pe-Ads

That is pretty much a thing in any RPG you play, so don't blame the game for THAT.

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Iconian Author Profile Page June 22, 2011 8:16 PM

I've now beaten Starwish a few times, so I think I'm ready to give my own little review.

First, the most noticeable thing right from the start was that the graphics and artwork weren't all that great. In particular, I noticed that the backgrounds and a lot of other things in the game have a rather grainy, pixelated look. The graphics just don't look as though that much work was put into them, especially if compared to, for instance, the Drakojan Skies games. However, I'm more than willing to look past poor graphics if other aspects of a game make up for them.

The second thing was the music. Overall, I didn't think it was that great. I really loved "Space Fish"--which is good because I'd say that's the track I heard more than any other--and "The End of All Things" was pretty good too, but the others weren't very memorable or impressive. I believe the game has tracks for most of the characters, but I can't remember any of them. I'm comparing mainly to role playing games like Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger I suppose, since the characters in those games had their own unique tracks--and I though it's been years since I played those games they're still very memorable.

I like the gameplay in Starwish quite a bit though. It does get repetitive after a while, and I noticed I had to grind quite a bit, but compared to an RPG it's very nice because it's much faster paced. Compared to other shooters, you have a wider range of options on how to play the game, with 8 different regular weapons, 4 secondary weapons, and the ability to buy upgrades in all them, mods to specialize your craft for different purposes, and stats to level up. I liked the system, and I think it's the best of both the RPG and shooter worlds.

Finally I'll lump together the story and characters in Starwish, which I felt were very good. The story seems similar in some ways to other RPG type games, but nowadays, considering all the RPG's that have come out over the years and the variety of stories they've had, it's pretty understandable that we're going to see some of the same material. I thought the characters were all interesting and for this kind of game I'd say that all the characters had a lot of character development. I could see some people not liking the story and the characters very much, particularly if you've never played any of the Japanese style RPG's, which I think this was based on quite a bit.

Anyway, I would give Starwish 4/5. For a free game, I sure this is one of the best you can find on the web. Definitely worth a play, and I plan on writing my own little walkthrough in the next day or two.

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I think Iconian just said the same things I wanted to say. It gets 4/5 from me as well (on Kongregate I rated it 5/5).

Additional comments:
* The writing was good, enjoyable I'd say, but I also think there's too much of it in between stages.
* The way the cafe/ending unlocking works has been explained elsewhere (by analysing the source code). It's pretty much agreed that no-one could realistically unlock all the endings in their early playthroughs as they would lack the inside knowledge of where to allocate resources/play correctly, and a way to optimise their visits to the cafe to develop each character's ending. I think this is a great shame and should strongly be discouraged in a sequel.
* Overall, the story is great and makes it worth enduring the rougher patches.

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Keith_Z June 26, 2011 6:20 PM

I quite enjoyed this game, it was a good fun time. At times, though, I'll admit, it felt a bit repetitive.
Another issue was at the end levels, specifically the ice level, there were a few places where the walls glitched and stopped me from moving simply by bumping into them. occasionally, I would also just slide through them. but beyond that, no real bugs to speak of.

I really enjoyed the character development, and the stories behind all of the characters.

The biggest problem I had was with the lack of a certain character type. You see, when I first found out about the friendly drunk panda, Swig, I said to myself, 'Talking animals? I bet there are more than just pandas!' Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out about the foxkind. (Though, I was disappointed to find out only by the corpse of the pirate lord, amusingly named Kitsune.) This is when we get to my problem: There isn't a single one you get to see in this game! Argh!
... so it's not really a problem so much as I'm just a little butthurt from the lack of foxes, but I digress.

One more thing before I go: Some of the names were just... I'm sorry. Johnny the janni, ginny the djinni, and so on? Also, if you choose that certain ending, the kid they name 'Miru' (Which, oh, coincidentally means see or look in japanese.)
Sometimes it was just too corny to believe.

The music was great, and on the whole aspect, I could see this becoming a real video game. (Of course, some aspects would have to change, maybe add a bit more rpg elements to it, maybe more gameplay than just click-advance dialogue and side-scrolling shooter, no offense.)

Regardless, I greatly enjoyed playing this game, and would love to see more with it, if possible.

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Iconian Author Profile Page June 27, 2011 4:38 AM

Seeing that no one has posted a walkthrough here yet, and the Game Guide that Starwish already has is more a guide than a walkthrough, I'm going to post a walkthrough, though much of it will actually be commentary, and me reviewing the game some more. If you just want to get the low down on beating Starwish and don't want to read that commentary just skip to the end.

Before I begin though, I do want to say that if you want to see the "best" ending, you'll need to play the game on Hard-playing on Normal will not allow you to see Neferiti's ending, which means you won't be able to see the "Best" ending either. I believe there are seven other endings you might be able to see in Normal mode though, so even if you're not interested in Hard you may still see several endings-assuming you meet the requirements for those endings.

There are different styles you can choose for how to play, depending on the stats , weapons, and mods you choose. In games I play I usually go for the long haul, and that was the case in Starwish. I put all my stat points from the first few levels I beat into Intelligence, because this stat increases the experience you get from killing enemies and bosses and such. Once I reached the roof in that I went for Luck. And once I got that maxed out as well I began putting points into Offense. Note though that every time you gain a level you'll be able to put a few more points into your stats, even stats you previously maxed out, since the maximum on those stats increases again.
Sadly, after beating the game 5 times now, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Intelligence isn't nearly as useful as I hoped it would be. Basically, enemy strength appears to increase so much that gaining levels faster is probably not going to help a lot, unless you do a whole ton of level grinding. Even then, starting a new world or a New Game + may effectively nullify your advantage, though I'm not entirely certain of this. Early on putting your points in intelligence, luck, and then offense could be useful-say, all the way through world 1. After that, it may be best to just switch to offense and defense, and perhaps luck as the third stat. Popping up your stats in this way should probably make the second and third worlds easier.

Endings and New Game +
While still on the subject of what stats to increase, I'll also mention that while Starwishdoes have a New Game + feature as originated in Chrono Trigger I believe, in StarwishI think it's nearly useless. In Chrono Trigger, the New Game + feature was great. You basically started the whole game over-except you still had all the experience and money and items you got from the first play through, making you very tough. This is also the case in Starwish, but unlike CT, Starwishgreatly increases the strength of enemies as well when you start a New Game +. Whereas in CT a New Game + meant that you could go back and totally cream enemies that gave you trouble the first time around, in Starwishin my NG+'s it meant that the enemies basically scaled up with me too. I think the enemies were pretty much as strong the first time around as they were the second, in comparison to the strength of my weapons. I didn't realize this until I'd beaten the game the second time-on normal mode. Once again, a reminder: if you want the best ending, don't even bother with normal mode. That's something else I didn't find out until my second play through.
Now, even though I realized after the second time that enemies scaled up in difficulty, I was not aware of something else about NG+: being able to view the "Best" ending is a good deal more complicated than simply beating the game twice on Hard and just talking to different characters each time. I discovered this after I beat Starwishthe second time on Hard-the fourth time in total-and discovered I still couldn't see the "Best" ending. The first time I had talked to Deadeye, Tessa, Mare, and Neferiti every time I could, and at the end of the game found that I could view all their endings; the second time I went for Johnny, Ginny, and Swig. I thought that the game would save the endings I had seen from Deadeye, Tessa, Mare, and Neferiti, so that I could now see all seven of those endings and would have access to the "Best" ending. I was wrong; it turned out there were a lot more requirements than I had realized, and I think I could only see four or five of the possible endings.
It was at that point that I looked around a bit online and discovered a link to a thread about in the forums on Kongregate, and discovered the requirements for the "Best" ending. MrRubix over there has a post on Starwishthat gives the order that you can talk to characters in the cafe in order to get the "Best" ending.
This was the order I talked to people the fifth time I played, and it allowed me to see the "Best" ending. As he said, some of the characters have additional requirements for you to be able to talk to them in the cafe. Neferiti and Ginny were the only ones I had trouble with on this-Neferiti because like I said I played on Normal the first time, and Ginny because you can't die at all while she's with you if you want to see her ending. Because of all this, I didn't see the "Best" ending until the fifth time I beat the game.
So, having said all this about the endings, time to talk a bit more about actually playing the game and beating the levels. Whether you play on Normal or Hard, putting your stat points into intelligence, luck, and then offense for the first world will probably work pretty well. In the second world, put your points into offense, defense, and then luck. This should make later levels easier, due to increased damage you're dealing.

Weapons and Mods
By and large, I'd say try to put most of your money into mods. Don't worry too much about upgrading weapons to higher levels unless you're going to see a significant increase in the amount of damage-say, 20% or more. If you're not using one or more of the weapons at your disposal, you probably shouldn't bother upgrading them, as the money would be better spent on mods-dozens and dozens of mods. In order to see Deadeye's ending though you need to have enough total levels of upgraded weapons. The number is determined by a kind of complicated formula. On NG+ though the requirement for talking to Deadeye is gone, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you don't get Deadeye's ending once you've beaten the game, just go for NG+. You should be able to beat the whole game on NG+ in less than two hours, if you skip the dialogue.
So what weapons and mods should you use? For weapons, obviously you'll have to use the Machgun until other weapons become available. After that I think it's up to your play style. Most of the weapons simply didn't fire fast enough for my taste-so I used the laser most of the time. It has the fast fire rate and the highest accuracy of any weapon, and the travel time is basically instant. I'm not sure what the damage per second is compared to other weapons, but it's high enough that most little enemies drop quickly from it. Probably the biggest drawback is that has a very narrow beam. This means that you yourself will need to be pretty accurate with it to take out enemies, especially the smaller ones. This can be a little tough once you have a lot of engine mods. If you do have this problem, try making passes up and down so that the laser repeatedly hits the foes. A couple passes will kill most enemies. Of course, if you're up against something that can take more damage, you'll need to line up your ship up just right. One other point on the laser: I've noticed that sometimes it can hit enemies behind obstructions-sometimes by simply moving your ship up and down, sometimes because the laser actually seems to cut through terrain.
Once I got it, I also found the wave to be a very effective weapon. Unlike the laser it has a much wider firing area and it can hit multiple targets. I used it almost all the time after I gained access to it near the end of world 2. Just move to the top of the screen and then the bottom and back while firing continuously, and wave should take care of most enemies you encounter.
Lastly, I used a smattering of the chain weapon. The range is so low I just didn't find it very useful, except in a handful of situations.
As to secondary weapons, I'd say that the most recent one is probably your best bet. I think the only time I ever went back was for the Bomb: it can pass through terrain, which is useful a few times.

For mods, it's probably best to max out the mods in those categories where it's possible-Reduce, Accuracy, Evade, Crit, Item, and Engine. I don't have too much more advice on them, except that I generally had a lot of xp and moolah mods, the first few times I played. NG+ will mean that you probably don't have to worry about those sorts of mods though. If you can, try to have roughly equal values in shielding and HP, adjusting your mods accordingly. For regen mods, I usually aimed to have enough so that I would totally regenerate my shields in about 8-12 seconds. You can have shields that regenerate faster if you like, but the total shielding might not not be high enough and more shots will probably get through your shields and to your HP.

Skills
Over the course of the game you'll five opportunities to choose from one of three possible skills-there are 15 skills total, but you'll only have five by the end of the game. NG+ resets the skills, meaning you'll never have more than five, but if you want you can choose new ones the second time around.
Of the first three, I didn't use explosive crit at all. Until the Scatter bombs, I didn't really find the secondary weapons all that useful. The fire rates are too low, and the opportunities to even hit enemies with them are pretty few, because your lasers or the wave should be able to take out most everything.
If you know you're going to be going for a NG+, you may well want to go for Insurance the first time around, and Tail Shot the second time. Otherwise, just go for Tail Shot. It will probably be better-and even then, the ability to hit enemies behind you shouldn't be something you need often, because laser and wave should allow you to get most enemies before they pass you.

Of the next three, I used Vertical Spread the first time and didn't much like it. I think Rapid Reload was more helpful. I didn't ever try Kitsune's Cloak; if I were to play the game again though I think I'd probably go with it though, just to see if it makes much difference. I'm still betting Rapid Reload would be better.

For the third tier, I've tried both Overdrive Charger and Demolitions and liked both. If you have high defense, Overdrive Charger probably isn't very helpful. Most of the time I used Rapid Reload and Demolitions, and together they mean that you're pumping out quite a bit more secondary fire than usual. These skills with Missiles or Scatter can be very useful. I never tried Long Shot, but by and large I don't think it would be very useful because it doesn't actually increase your damage per second-just shot speed. If the Chain weapon came earlier in the game, though, I think it might be quite useful. If I were to play again though, I think I'd want to test it with some of the weapons to see if there's anything I'm missing out on.

On the fourth tier I believe I've used all three skills. I think Triton Absorber is probably the best. I tried Power Critical the first few times, but weapons just don't crit often enough for it to be that useful, IMO. On my current saved game I have Overheal. I like it-because I also have high defense, and thus high overdrive. If you don't, Triton Absorber is probably your best bet.

And for the fifth and final tier, I have tried all three skills. My least favorite was Self Fix. I never noticed that this was helpful. Once or twice while I had this skill my HP dropped kind of low and I watched a bit to see how quickly it regenerated. The regeneration rate is evidently very slow. I think it's so slow as to be basically insignificant in battle-I'm not impressed. Overdrive Charger II I used two or three times because I had not taken the first Overdrive Charger. Like the first one, if you have fairly high defense I wouldn't go for Overdrive Charger II either. A high defense stat-and thus high overdrive-should allow you to pretty easily use overdrive two, three, even four times in a single level. Overdrive Charger II would just be overkill on overdrive. I'd rather go overkill on defense by taking Defensive Shielding myself. And yes, if you take Defensive Shielding and Triton Absorber, I would say that you will be very difficult to kill. I suspect that with both at once the final battle would pretty much be a breeze. In my saved game I have Defensive Shielding, and during the final battle I don't believe I lost any health-but I had high defense. Even with relatively low defense though, I still think that Defensive Shielding would be the best of these three skills.

Grinding
I did a fair amount of grinding in Starwish. For the most part though, I don't think it's really that necessary. Maybe if there's a specific weapon you'd like to upgrade, or a mod you want to buy. It seemed like though that no matter how much I went back to a previous level and leveled up or farmed cash, it didn't really make things that much easier. I'm not certain, but I think that every time you switch worlds or start NG+ the game scales the enemy strength with you, making leveling up kind of pointless. I don't know this for sure though. In any case, here are my favorite levels for grinding:
In world 1, Hidden Ruins, just before the Earthwall, is probably the best place. The Monolith is the boss here, and I found it quite easy to beat. In world 2 the Icicle Cavern is a pretty good place, which like the Hidden Ruins is pretty easy and gives good xp and moolah. In world 3, Eternal Swamp is probably the best. Ancient Ruins actually might give better spoils, but the boss is one of the more difficult in the game. I also did a lot of grinding on Maelstrom. I found the boss there very easy to beat.

Achievements
I've found 11 achievements in Starwish; I think there are 12. Here are the ones I've found and a little on how to get them:

Maximum Overdrive-Use overdrive 3 times in a level. Get high defense and/or the overdrive skills and this should be easy.

Weapons Collector-Obtain one of each weapon. I'm not sure why there's even an achievement for this-you get the weapons automatically after beating the levels, every other level I believe. The only thing I can think of is that the Chain weapon might be considered secret or something. Maybe it requires that you talk to Deadeye enough or something? I don't know.

Moolianaire-Just save up 3,000,000 in moolah-you probably need to have that much available at the beginning or end of a level or something.

Mod Maniac-Purchase 200 mods. You'll need a lot of money, so having high luck will be helpful, and high intelligence means you'll raise your luck faster.

Excessive Force-Obtain a level 61 weapon. Again, lots of money and some persistence required. You can probably beat the game pretty easily with your weapons only in the 40's, possibly below, so just start a NG+ if you like.

Grinder-Reach level 100. I think this might mean "beat 100 levels." I think that I got this long after my character had reached level 100. Not sure. Note that your character's level, the number of levels you've played, and the level of your weapons are probably all going to be different-my current character level is 307, but the highest weapons I've seen available for upgrade in the shop are only around 240. As to how many levels I've beaten, it has to be at least 150, and it's probably closer to 250.

Killer-Kill 4,000 enemies. This shouldn't be difficult, but if you do somehow reach Iblis without getting this achievement, just take a break and grind for a while.

Time Paradox-Beat the first Firebolt encounter. I'm pretty much certain you'll have to do this on NG+. This battle forces you to use the laser, so make sure your laser is maxed out BEFORE you start NG+. Your skills will have reset, but your stats will still be intact-I'd recommend high offense and defense, but other combinations might work. Other than that, there's a little technique I like to use in shooters that helps me dodge enemy fire better. Sit in a position where you're hitting the Firebolt with your laser. The Firebolt will be shooting at you, but the travel time of the shots means you'll have a while before they hit. So don't move. Just sit there, until just before the shots hit. Then move a slight bit up or down, and the shots should miss, and you'll be able to stay in this new spot a while. If you get to the top or bottom of the screen just watch carefully and you should be able to spot an emptier area where you can pass in between shots from the Firebolt.

The End-Complete the game. If you've read this walkthrough I doubt you'll have any trouble. The programmer, xdanond, also wrote a Game Guide though, so you may want to read that as well.

Chosen One-Complete the game without dying. I think that I only obtained this achievement on my most recent play through. This is pretty difficult to get. Of course, viewing Ginny's ending requires that you not die at all, at least until she leaves the Mothership. I would say your best bet is to go for for high defense, and get Triton Absorber and Defensive Shielding. And you'll probably want to try for this on NG+. And you'll want to be very careful not to get stuck behind terrain. I believe that on my fourth time playing through the game I died more times from getting stuck behind terrain than did from enemy weapons. Also, if you think you're probably going to die you can always click the Pause button on the lower right of the screen and exit the level. This has saved me a few times.

Social Club-View all character endings. The best ending does not count. You'll have to do this on Hard though, so you can also see Neferiti's ending.

Overview
For the first world or two put your stat points from leveling into intelligence, then luck, then offense. Later on switch to offense, then defense, then luck. Use the Machgun as you main weapon, until the laser becomes available, which you should use almost exclusively until the wave becomes available. Wave is good for lots of small enemies; laser is better for single enemies with higher HP. You may want to experiment with other weapons to find your own play style. Investing most of your moolah into mods is probably the best strategy for your money. Upgrade your weapons only when it will significantly increase their damage, by 20% or more I'd say. By and large that probably means upgrading to a level 10 or 20 above your weapon's present level.
As far as skills, on the first tier Insurance can be useful if you really want moolah, but Tail Shot is probably better. Explosive Crits will be nearly useless. On the second tier Rapid Reload is probably the best, but Kitsune's cloak might be worth a shot. You could use Vertical Spread if you didn't go for Tail Shot earlier, but it's not very useful. Third tier: Demolitions gives more firepower, especially when combined with Rapid Reload and good secondary weapons. Overdrive Charger could be a good choice, but if your defense is high you'll probably want to skip it. Long Shot is a long shot, but might be useful depending on the weapons you use. Fourth tier: Triton Absorber is very nice. Overheal may be OK, particularly if you have lots of overdrive. Power Critical is not very useful. Fifth tier: Defensive Shielding should make you significantly stronger, especially with a high defense stat, and if you combine all this with Triton Absorber you will be very tough to kill. Overdrive Charger II might be useful if your defense is low, but if it's high go with Defensive Shielding. Self Fix was slow-too slow for me.
Remember to take a look at the Game Guide that comes with Starwishif you have other trouble. And as for the endings, if you want to see a particular character's ending, the main thing is to talk to them a lot. Remember that after you beat the game once you can click Continue on the main screen, beat Iblis again, and view another ending you qualify for-there being a total of 9 possible endings. After you beat the game once though you'll need to start a New Game + if you want to see endings you didn't qualify for. The first time you play you may be best off mainly talking to the characters you like the most. The other characters' endings and the optimal ending won't be available, but you will be able to see the basic ending that comes when you don't make a wish. If you then start a New Game + and use the optimal talking order, available above, you can get the "Best" ending. Is the "Best" ending actually worth playing the game through again if you've already seen the other endings?

Maybe. The philosophy at play there is quite a bit at odds with my own view on things. The idea is that when you have the opportunity to ask for and get basically anything you could wish for, you should ask for nothing, and then you will get something much better than anything you could have wished for.
To me, the lesson the game should have been trying to teach is that, rather than setting aside what you want and basically embracing a rather apathetic approach to the future, you should carefully examine your desires and make sure you make the RIGHT wish, instead of making NO wish. As I understand it, Iblis-the final boss of the game-is basically the manifestation of desire, an entity that is constantly aware of all the desires of all the other beings in the universe. It is your task in the game to eventually defeat Iblis, or defeat desire, or defeat "Bliss," as the entity is later called. I think there's a big difference between "Be careful what you wish for" and "Don't wish for anything." The Lucernians, around whom much of the game was centered, were a society that could have virtually anything it desired, having all their desires fulfilled through Iblis. Yet they went to war with each other and became so caught up in the fighting that they lost sight of the future, ignored the plight of the other "lesser" alien races in their galaxy, and eventually destroyed themselves largely through a lack of foresight.
Was their mistake inherently the act of making wishes-which not very different at all from just seeking that which they desired? That is, was it simply the fact that they had such vast power at their disposal? Or did their error come in the way they used or misused that power-the particular wishes that they asked for? I would say it was the latter. With more foresight, with more insight, they could have avoided the the fate that they blindly stumbled into. I think this ought to be a tale about seeking out the right things, and learning to curb and balance our desires, and correcting the flaws in the natures of intelligent beings, instead of completely casting aside the things we want, and their ability to get them. When a society, or an individual, flies headlong to its own destruction, don't assume that it must have been because of all that power at its disposal. The power itself is not the evil; it is in those beings that misuse and abuse the power. It's interesting to me that the Kingdom of Zeal fell for reasons very similar to those that the Lucernians fell; I think xdanond is a big fan of Chrono Trigger, and certainly I am.

Anyway, big kudos to xdanond for Starwish. I would love to see him make some future games. Someone give him a couple million bucks and let's see what he comes up with next!

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Thank you very much for all the praises! I am still trying to discuss the possibility of future games with auriplane, but the sheer size of this game seemed to limit its distribution potential.

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Anonymous August 12, 2011 5:49 AM

I personally loved this game. Although the gameplay does have a few glitches, for a bored person with a bit of time this is a perfect game. Great story, great characters, interesting enough gameplay. On difficult mode it is tough enough to make it interesting. I ended up playing multiple times to get most of the endings, because it was that good. Just a very nice game.

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The thing that keeps this game going is the storyline. One of the best storylines ever! It was enjoyable, and the ending gives you one of those life-lesson kinda things... It just leaves you thinking...

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to get the chain weapon you need to fight in a lot of levels win or lose. dedai will not give an explanation of the weapon.

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RPG Retro space shooter is what this game is
So for those who dislike it based on that... clearly you missed the point of this game.

As for me, very enjoyable. Yes the arcade action part could use some upgrades, screen size could be larger, graphics better, but lets not quibble here. I think I read that one guy coded this? Bravo.
And yes, the story line is actually decently engrossing and really gives the player that sense of - WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?! I MUST FIND OUT!!!

5/5

Also agree that after beating it you should be able to see other endings.

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Fun game, played it all the way through once.
The shooting aspect of the game is entertaining but average. The enemies were often more annoying than challenging.

The story was cool. I was surprised that I didn't have many choices, other than who to talk to in the cafe.

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