StarLink: Battle for Atlas... Reviewed!

Before I even jump into this review, let me just say... we really slept on this Ubisoft title.

Nintendo Switch | PC | Xbox | Playstation

StarLink: Battle for Atlas is a kickass game that takes players on an intergalactic adventure in a massive galaxy full of open worlds. Off the bat, what sets this game apart from other space exploration games is its unique feature of letting players build their own spacecraft... in real life and then transferring them into the game world through the use of a specially designed controller mount. At first glance, this may seem like a cheesy gimmick, but... it's a plus and a fantastic one at that.

Controller Mount + Add-Ons: The controller mount allows you to connect a character of choice, along with the choice of ship. The way it connects basically places the character in the cockpit from the underbelly, and everything else connects to the ship. You just switch out the ship wings, weapons, and characters on the controller, and... BAM, you will see them in the game!

You can literally connect the wings to other wings and add weapons in this simple plug-and-play experience. If you go too crazy, the ship will be overburdened and movement will be sluggish due to the weight... but even with that, I love how these little details were considered. You will notice that when anything is swapped out... you're taken to the loadout screen (which I'll get to that in a second), it's not in real-time. This is good for in-game modifications, but also in case anything is accidentally loosened or knocked off the ship or mount. You don't want that to occur during battle, but something would have to connect with it pretty good in order to knock off the snap-in add-ons.

These are a plus for toy collectors, fans of ships, and... Starfox. It gives you the ability to get a really cool dual purpose out of your toys-to-life purchase without scrolling through your loadout of available weapons. There is an additional fee to buy the physical ships and all that good stuff, but... it's completely optional. I'd be the one to hang all the ships from the ceiling if they aren't in use.

There are actual benefits to adding additional wings to your ship other than cosmetic fun. Select wings can be used to boost your Speed, Handling, Defense, or Energy. Just keep in mind that the weight of your ship can be affected.

If you buy the physical game, get the bundle!

My preferred load-outs are:

Frost Barrage & Imploder: This combination can create a combo attack called, Frost Vortex.

Flamethrower & Imploder: This combination can create a combo attack called, Fire Vortex.

Frost Barrage & Levitator

Flamethrower & Levitator

Freeze Ray Mk. 2 & Imploder: This combination can create a combo attack called, Frost Vortex.

If you use Freeze Ray Mk. 2, it allows you to charge up and release a freezing beam that will cause ice to form on the surface of anything it connects with. If anyone goes near it, they'll freeze if they don't have a level of resistance. On the surface, it seems like these weapons are just a variety of weapons to play around with and it doesn't matter what you use, but you'd be wrong. The weapons you have access to allow you to be strategic, and I still have 13 to unlock from the various options available (which would total 26 weapons).

When it comes to the mods, you mod the ships and the weapons by way of the Ship Cores, Ship Armors, Ship Boosters, Paint Jobs, Weapon Ammo, Weapon Amplifiers, etc. 

The ships and the weapons have slots for things like Stasis Ammo, Support Ammo, Frost Ammo, Stability Amplifier, Cold Amplifier, Efficiency Amplifier, and many others. You upgrade these by doing fusion modifications which improve the Damage, Range, Fire Rate, and Energy Cost. You have to pay for fusions, so that's where collecting various items to sell to refineries and so forth comes into play. Keep the electrum production on high and you should be good. I love when Eli Arborwood & Galla Joust... hit me up on the comms and tells me a new shipment is in (ca-ching baby!).

Gameplay: The game's plot revolves around the Starlink Initiative, a team of pilots tasked with saving the Atlas system from an evil cosmic entity known as the Forgotten Legion. As players explore the Atlas system, they uncover hidden secrets and alliances that ultimately lead to a battle for the fate of the universe.

The themes of teamwork, exploration, and courage are masterfully interwoven throughout the gameplay. The tone of the game is lighthearted (for the most part), making it appealing to players of all ages.

The voice acting and character development of the game are exceptional. Each of the pilots comes with their own unique personalities, abilities, and backgrounds, making them interesting and relatable.

The game's visuals are stunning, with gorgeous landscapes, exciting space battles, and detailed spaceship designs that make players feel like they're in control of their own interstellar adventure. The game also features a decent soundtrack that adds to the immersive experience.

The game's mechanics are easy to understand, allowing players to quickly master the controls and focus on exploration and combat. The game progresses at a steady pace, giving ample time for players to explore the vast worlds and engage in battles, without feeling rushed.

One possible downside of the game... might be that the extra cost of the physical toy components, but they're completely optional. If you think they're cool and you want to collect them, that's one thing... but you aren't stuck buying any of the add-ons. You can go digital only or enjoy the additional option.

Starfox's addition to StarLink: Battle for Atlas was a brilliant move that elevated an already great game to an even greater one.

Do I even need to explain why the Nintendo Switch version is the best? This is one heck of an appetizer for Starfox fans... who are seeking the next installment, and even that's an understatement. You have Peppy, Falco, and Slippy at the ready to assist you periodically (when the assist gauge fills and showcases the ship icon at the lower left side of the screen), and much more.

The introduction of Fox McCloud and his team into the game adds a new level of nostalgia and excitement. The incorporation of Fox's starship, the Arwing, is seamless and it makes me feel like they've stepped back in time to when I first played Starfox by way of a Ubisoft game. A game that almost represents the Starfox installment some of us have always wanted.

Not only does Fox have his own missions and storylines (which is huge, he's not just a playable character for Atlas missions-only), but he also interacts with the other characters in the game, adding a new dynamic to their relationships. The voice acting and dialogue for Fox & his crew are great, as are the character animations and movements.

Fox's inclusion also brings new gameplay elements to the table, such as more aerial combat and unique abilities that are exclusive to the Arwing, hence... it's the best version (in my opinion). The exclusive Fox-themed missions keep things fresh for players who may have already completed the main storyline. This was a really smart move for Ubisoft, and... despite what some people think about the other characters, I have to say this, all characters start from somewhere. Recognition has to be gained. I was talking with a few gamers, including a father & son duo from the UK (which was the motivation behind this review)... and character development came into play when I brought up StarLink as a must-play.

Overall, the addition of Fox McCloud and the Starfox team to StarLink: Battle for Atlas is a fantastic move that adds even more excitement and depth to an already amazing game. It's a great nod to the nostalgia and history of the Starfox franchise and a treat for fans of both StarLink and Starfox.

By the way, you don't have to play alone. Play on the telly... for some couch co-op action!

Replay Value: Replay value was kinda sorta explained in the previous segment, but wait... there's more! This game has strong replay value based on the number of planets you get to explore around the galaxy (7 are currently on my Starmap). It's quite a beautiful experience to go from space to planetside and back again, it's seamless.

Planets have different animals to discover, but... beware if they feel threatened. Plant life is also available to cultivate, but messing with the wrong plant can leave you jacked up (i.e. Bile Bombs). Planets will have different threats from the Forgotten Legion, like the Imps, and Cyclops' as more of the general threats. The legion baddies vary by element... challenging you to switch up your weapon types accordingly. 

You also have the Outlaws... that fight against Atlas and the Legion (they could care less). The Legion isn't just standing there being attacked by these space pirates either... so expect to ride up on battles that don't involve Atlus. You also have bigger threats... like the Giants, Primes, Battle-Mechs, Outlaw Sloop Tanks, Extractors, etc. You will be sent back to the drawing board if you don't play your cards right during these encounters because these baddies play for keeps. You can respawn, but it won't be directly into battle, you will have to go back to that location from an Expedition Refinery, a Prospector Observatory, etc. If you don't want to respawn, you can choose another ship.   

Like any other game, you're going to start off light, but you will notice the game getting better and better in regard to challenges as you fight to take down Grax and The Forgotten Legion. There are these being behind Grax only known as... the Wardens, who he feels selected him to be the "chosen". I won't get into them, but I think StarLink has a great base to build upon regarding a full-blown franchise (even if they abandon the toys-to-life aspect).

Once a war essentially breaks out, you will get that feeling of tug of war where Atlas & the Legion fight for control of the planets. You help by making sure Atlas forces have what they need to fight off the baddies. You can upgrade bases like the armory to improve weaponry and increase the number of ships with the firepower to fight back. Space delivers a different experience in terms of combat. You don't have the planetside Legion & the land-roaming Outlaws, but you will have ships from each group that will challenge you to dogfights, and huge warships that you will have to infiltrate in order to destroy (i.e. Outlaw Hideouts & Legion Dreadnoughts), and there is still more.

You will see a little something on the Starmap in space called "The Void", this is part of the interstellar justice system where you'd deliver Outlaws that are on the Most Wanted list. 

Visuals: It wouldn't really make sense to rate the price... years after the release of this title, so visuals are going into this slot, although you can land the game for far less than it originally retailed for. It's not an official Nintendo title, so the price has come down significantly. Anyway, when it comes to the visuals... I think that this is one beautiful game. It isn't hyperrealistic, but... it doesn't have to be, they made great use of what they had and made a beautifully mesmerizing experience. Going from space to planetside and back again... isn't just seamless, it's beautiful.

You don't just fly out and it's space, you go through the atmosphere with the whole burn effect. You have different effects seen in a planet's atmosphere that can go from nice and sunny to a dark electrical storm thanks to nearby Extractors, and more. The designers did a great job in terms of planetside structures, plant life, rocks, and the whole 9. Even liquids that may seem like harmless water can actually be extremely hot for extremely cold, which can harm you (duh of the day).

Overall, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is an exceptional game that delivers on all fronts, from its immersive story to pleasing graphics, gameplay, and music. It is a must-play for fans of space exploration games, aerial combat, and those who love a good adventure + if you're a Starfox fan, I strongly suggest this title on the Switch... or you're missing out on something really cool. I enjoy playing it sometimes just for the sake of flying around, but there is plenty to keep you busy, and with the low price... you will get your money's worth.

Control Mount + Add-Ons 5 (Lower price, good quality, easy 5)

Gameplay 5

Replay Value 5

Visuals 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

+ Sophima | Guest Contributor

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