The objective of adding real world toys to video games is not a new one.
Over the years, even from the earliest days of video gaming it has been tried with mixed results.
Then in the mid 2000’s Activision became the pioneers, reinvigorating the Spyro series with Skylanders. This included a base which plugged in to your home console and figures that when placed on the base would appear as playables in-game.
Disney and Nintendo both caught on too, the now fledgling Disney Infinity series cast the entire Disney ensemble from cartoons to movies on to their own USB to console connected base. Nintendo took a differing track and removed the base requirement on the Wii U and 3DS, using the console’s touchscreens to sync the Nintendo character to the game. Thus introducing portability.
Ubisoft have now come along with The Starlink: Battle for Atlas, the connected Universe of planets, ships and characters (including the legendary Starfox McCloud for Nintendo Switch and his Arwing), following the same vein as Skylanders and Infinity, but adds vehicles and physical weapon mods in to the genre for Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation. We received the Switch version with its exclusive bonuses.
To start out with the intro pack will contain a Starlink controller base for you to slide your Joy-Cons in to.
Included is two characters; Starfox McCloud and Mason Rana and one large ship with two weapons systems.
The whole thing all clips together on to the Joy-Con controller hub in an sequential order so that the your chosen pilot can ‘sit’ inside of the cockpit of your spacecraft.
The game will instantly recognise the real world ‘toys’ you are using and you play out the story which places you in the hotseat as a the leader and hero of a foursome of heroes tasked with freeing the star Atlas from the forces of the Forgotten Legion. Both yourself and your ship are the character that you control in an open world game.
The Starlink: Battle for Atlas, the game itself is huge. There is a Universe to explore, planets to conquer and discover and save. Missions upon missions to complete aswell as side quests.
An RPG element sees you whizzing around planets and collecting up minerals, species DNA, special mods and more.
Your ship can level up, as can your character and even your weapons.
Ubisoft have done this brilliantly. Starlink, just as a standalone game would have been a ‘Triple A’ title without the modular ‘toys’.
It’s so easy to get lost in the game – I found myself whirring around determined to find pockets of collectible goodness, filling up my DNA database of as yet undiscovered species and par-taking in countless side missions. So much so that after almost a week of playing, I don’t think I’ve even touched the main juicy bits of the core game.
Now I can finally come out the closet here – I am a toy collector. Toy obsessed.
SciFi collectibles and action figures being my primary round ups and hoarding. Every week I have something old but new arriving in from eBay.
The Starlink collection of ships, weapons add-ons and characters are totally me.
These are not cheaply made additions to an otherwise excellent game. Each spacecraft is minutely detailed, each weaponry add-on aesthetically tells a story of its own and the level of intricacy to each figure makes the whole set collectibles within their own right.
With the game having just released there is six main ships, four dual weapon packs and three additional separate characters. Each ship comes with a character aswell. I suspect that the range will grow very quickly.
You can swap out ships, weapons and characters on the fly as you play.
Sure, it’s a good way for developers and publishers to make coin, as you buy the game’s Starter Kit and then the extra add-ons and characters and ships and so on – but in fairness the game is totally playable without the need of the accessories. yep you can play The Starlink: Battle for Atlas digitally as a standalone title.
But when the ‘toys’ that are used in the game are of quality build it’s an excitement, a thrill to have a new one, with new abilities, new skills, opening up new adventure paths.
Then there’s online play. Level up your ship, your character and get the best weapons to take on opponents across the Starlink Universe.
Each ship handles differently and adds differing elements to the game. Each character has their own path ahead of them and has their own way of getting things done.
With immersive gameplay, real-world ‘toys’ that are super collectible I can see The Starlink: Battle for Atlas shooting far beyond its Universe and venturing farther in to space than any other video game of this type has gone before.
The Starlink: Battle for Atlas, can’t stop playing it.
Released: November 2018
Platforms: Nintendo witch (also on PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Genre: Action, Adventure