IMPRESSIONS: StarCrawlers Press Build

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

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StarCrawlers | oprainfall

I recently got the opportunity to try out the more polished and complete Press Build of StarCrawlers, which I had previously played during and after PAX Prime 2014. While the early build was troubled with small annoying glitches, I fervently hoped that this more complete build would have ironed most of those out. And, while it’s true that many have been fixed, I cannot say that all of them have. But, before I get too far into that topic, let’s discuss what has changed in regards to gameplay and presentation.

StarCrawlers | oprainfall

First off, Juggernaut Games have provided a very helpful tutorial mission to ease new players through the basic gameplay mechanics. This was greatly appreciated, since, in the Beta build, there was no such tutorial, and I found myself mostly playing from memory when I wasn’t fumbling for the right controls. The first class you select becomes the main character by default, and you have an assistant who provides most of the banter and dialogue for the story. The tutorial also provides a bit more exposition to get you invested in the game, making it truly feel like you are a band of rogues lost in space. Best of all, there are endlessly-generated side missions to have fun playing until a more final build is released.

StarCrawlers | oprainfall

The gameplay is much the same, but that’s hardly a bad thing, since I loved the gameplay in the earlier builds. I availed myself of a couple new classes this time around, such as the Engineer, who makes use of little robots to collect junk to power his attacks. By far my favorite aspect of this class is Taunt Mode, where you order the little robot to irritate your foes and distract them, keeping them from firing on you. Instead, they fire on the quirky little bot as he races by, hurling insults at your foes such as “neenerneener” and the like. I appreciate the humor in a game like this, as it really helps me enjoy this dark world.

StarCrawlers | oprainfall

I was also able to acquire a new class, that of a robotic Prototype who has a tendency to glitch out and forget to attack foes. When he’s on task, however, this Prototype is a great warrior, dealing tons of damage to foes. I love the variety to each of the classes and how the game requires actual strategy to win, not just brute force. Another feature I appreciated in this version is the little + symbol during battle that allows you to make use of healing items in your inventory. Though I don’t recall if this was in the Beta version, if it was, I never figured it out. The menus now seem more streamlined while still conveying the same great style.

StarCrawlers | oprainfall

However, not every part of the press build was roses for me. As much as I like what Juggernaut Games have accomplished thus far in StarCrawlers, it is painfully evident that they are still working out some kinks. While I didn’t encounter the same glitches that I found in the Beta build, I found some new, disheartening ones. First and most annoying was one that caused the turn taskbar to freeze during the enemy’s turn, keeping me from doing anything and forcing me to restart. That was annoying, but manageable, as I didn’t lose much actual progress. This was due to the game auto-saving, which actually allowed me to retain my XP and items despite the randomized rogue-like nature of the game.

StarCrawlers | oprainfall

I even thought that an update had deleted all of my save data, and panicked until it came to my attention that Juggernaut had only migrated their save files. Once I figured this out, I was able to play with my team, which was a great relief. However, I still fervently hope that the other problems still present in this build are fixed long before the final build of the game is released.

StarCrawlers | oprainfall

I will say that, despite the problems I encountered in StarCrawlers, I am still a fan of the game and rooting for it to be the game I see between intermittent glitches. When it works, it is incredibly fun and engaging, and I feel it will be worth your time and money once it is fixed. I just want to dive deeper into the game and explore every nook and cranny. I can easily see myself spending hours and hours playing the game once it’s running glitch free. In the meantime, you can find out more on Juggernaut Games’ official website, and also check out the trailer. StarCrawlers will be available on Steam starting today.

About Josh Speer

Josh Speer is addicted to two things in equal measure : Books and Videogames. He has a degree from the University of Washington in English with an emphasis on writing. He joined Operation Rainfall last year while following it on Facebook. His two giant life goals are to write his own series of fantasy / science fiction novels and to get into the creative side of the video game industry. He is beyond pleased to now have his proverbial foot in the door thanks to the opportunity provided by Oprainfall!