Why You Should Play ‘RPG Shooter: Starwish’
In a world of launcher games and tower defense clones, there exists a gem; a flash game that is an incredible mish-mash of genres that is also capable of reaching into the very depths of your being, making you actually give a damn about its characters and what happens to them.
Enter RPG Shooter: Starwish. Self-described as a “shooter, rpg, visual novel and dating sim rolled into one”, you might be forgiven for thinking this generically named shooter is trying to entice and lull male audiences into playing it for a glimpse of some crudely drawn boobature.
Such is not the case though, for while the game definitely has some PG level dating sim elements, it always ties into the game’s true strength, that of it’s story. Over the course of 18 months, creator xdanond has managed to build a host of vibrant characters, as well as a plot so deep and immersive that it leaves most AAA games in the dust.
From the outset of the game you get greeted by a cast of characters who all have their own quirks, personalities and stories. While the core game might be that of a fairly competent Gradius inspired side scrolling shooter, it’s the character development and story that kept me coming back from start to finish.
While the game itself is in a futuristic sci-fi setting, I was surprised to find that I could relate to practically every character in the game. Even the games main antagonist has human flaws and desires to the point that while I couldn’t accept the atrocities done to gain those desires, I could understand them.
Not since the works of Christine Love have I felt so emotionally attached to characters and their actions. While the overall message of the game has much more humble and homely origins than hers, the impact is the same: I was often forced to reflect on my own experiences and I broke down into tears more than once and ended up questioning my own masculinity because of it.
But what about the interactive elements? One of the curses of generating such a stunningly beautiful story is that everything around it needs to be of the same fibre, otherwise it just feels flat. Until the characters and the story grew on me, I found that the shooter and RPG elements were fun and responsive. Afterwards however, they seemed like a distraction that was between me and the next part of the story.
It’s unfortunate, because there is a lot of depth and polish to those aspects. You can end up with two people having completely different play styles due to how they distribute stats and how they outfit their ships, and the amount of balance each of them have is fairly disturbing. Levels are detailed, and have their own individuality even if enemies and bosses get reused.
When someone builds a game for the first time, it usually ends badly…even worse if that game is a hybrid mishmash of elements from completely different genres. But every now and then, you get some mutant monstrosity that truly shines…and RPG Shooter: Starwish shines very bright, very bright indeed.
You can play RPG Shooter: Starwish on Kongregate for free.