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Starwish claims it has “the most epic story for a Flash shooter” and it delivers. Vibrant characters and witty dialogue bring this story to life in an anything but average Flash game experience.
Starwish accomplishes something we don’t see very often in the realm of Flash games: it tells a story, with characters you actually care about. Developers and publishers alike generally avoid large-scale, story-driven web games, primarily because the player-base is accustomed to Flash games that can be picked up in 5 minutes and beaten in 30. Starwish is not one of those games. It follows a formula more akin to a Japanese console RPG (let’s say Final Fantasy or Star Ocean).
The beginning of RPG Shooter: Starwish is fairly slow-paced. You play one brief battle at the onset of the game when the pirate Mothership is attacked by the Federation, and after that you’ll be treated a lengthy introduction of the game’s various characters. However, once you’re set free onto the level-selection map, you’ll find that battles and cutscenes become well-balanced to where one might make you give a damn about the other. And this is where Starwish picks up steam, and becomes more than just a casual 30-minute web game.
Deuce, your brash and charming hero, is joined by Deadeye, the ship’s weapons expert, Ginny, a clumsy engineer picked up planet-side, Mare, a famous pilot who doesn’t speak much, Johnny, the ship’s smooth-talking café owner and Swig, the booze-guzzling Pandakin from an anti-Federation planet called Bamboo (who is supposedly a better shot when he’s drunk). You’ll want to use the “Ask Johnny” feature in the café whenever possible, since he tells you important information about your stats (like where the caps are!).
The actual gameplay is a side-scrolling space shooter, much like Darius Twin, Gradius, or R-Type. The gameplay graphics are not stellar, but it’s a minor flaw. The controls are tight and there is decent variety in both normal enemies and boss fights. Eventually you’ll unlock new weapons like the spread shot, laser, and V-bomb. The stats and weapons you’ve upgraded via experience gain translate well into the gameplay and I even found all the weapons to retain their usefulness, rather than just being replaced by the next unlockable.
Snappy dialogue is interspersed between almost every instance of gameplay, and you can always visit the café to check in with your crew. Every crew member has unique character traits and back stories that develop more as the game progresses. Of course, being that this is a Flash game, all the cutscenes have a “skip” button, but if you’re using it, you’re not getting the full effect of this game.
The plethora of music in Starwish flawlessly sets various situations with appropriate emotion, while keeping the fantasy tone vibrant and engaging. It is sure to become a memorable soundtrack for fans of the game. You can check out the full Starwish game soundtrack here.
xdanond has really put a lot of work into this game, providing the programming, story-writing, and artwork. Starwish shows that there may be room on the web for more than just casual games. This is not the first story-driven game to hit the Flash market, but it does set a great example. If you like a solid RPG or a well-spun story, you’ll definitely love Starwish. If you’re a fan of a non-stop action-blitz, this game may not be for you. You’ll be missing out though. Starwish is hours of entertainment and it's available to play right here on DirtyCoffee.com!