PC Games

Published on May 11th, 2024 | by Marc Rigg

Sea of Stars Review @SabotageQc

Sea of Stars Review @SabotageQc Marc Rigg

Summary: A beautiful take on the old school, turn based RPG with bundles of charm that does enough new things to set itself apart from its influences.


Pixel perfect!

The classic turn-based RPG in the vein of classic Square-Enix (formerly Squaresoft) titles aren’t as common these days as perhaps I would like.

Being raised on the likes of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, Ys, and Phantasy Star, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the genre. So, for something like Sea of Stars to come out and be a love letter to all of those, it deserved a look.


Following the protagonists Valere and Zale, two Children of the Solstice that are blessed with the ability to use magic by harnessing the power of the sun and moon. Along with a small cast of party members, they journey throughout the land to seek out and destroy the Dwellers and the evil Fleshmancer who created them. It’s an interesting story, though it does rely occasionally on tropes and cliché that surround the genre. Despite that, all the characters are charming, and have unique personalities. Garl, an early addition to the party is especially pleasant to interact with and adds a unique brand of optimism and levity to any situation he’s a part of.

Sabotage Studios has done a wonderful job in imitating the visual style of the games of the nineties and early noughties that inspired it while making it look and feel modern at the same time. Its beautifully animated pixel art is reminiscent of Chrono Trigger, the environments all feel alive thanks to the subtle movement of plants and cloth dancing in the wind. Water shimmers and reflects its surroundings, and enemies’ stride across the landscape.

This final point is where it differs from many of its contemporaries. There are no random battles. All enemies are fully visible throughout the world, and many can even be avoided entirely if the player wishes to do so. Once in one of Sea of Stars’ many encounters, however, things are decidedly more traditional. Combat is turn-based, with your party of adventurers taking turns with the enemy to land attacks, perform magic and other special moves, and attempt to defeat their adversaries.

It’s a system made more interesting with a few key mechanics. Attack and defence can be augmented on the fly by hitting a button as a party member is about to land or take damage from an attack. Successfully timing this button press increases the damage an enemy takes or reduces what the player receives. This should sound familiar to anyone who’s played the Mario RPG games because it’s essentially the same system.

Combat is further expanded by the lock system. When enemies use their special abilities or cast spells, several icons appear above with symbols relating to the game’s various damage types. Doing damage that matches with each lock reduces the damage output for that ability. If all locks can be broken before the turn counter is up, then the move is cancelled altogether, leaving the enemy stunned and vulnerable for a short time.

This along with the combo moves that can be performed once a meter has been filled with regular attacks, all add up to a combat system that is nicely varied and opens up options for battles with a surprising amount of strategic depth. Fights rarely devolve into just mashing the attack command and occasionally healing.

When not engaged with the enemy, Zale, Valere, and co traverse the beautiful landscapes, often making use of their mastery over the sun and moon to solve puzzles that involve changing the time of day to complete. These are mostly very simple but add some welcome variety to getting around making it slightly more interesting when getting from A to B. When taking a break from the main quest there’s the now standard fishing minigame, crafting, and a surprisingly robust tabletop game called Wheels that can be found in the numerous towns scattered across the world.

Final Thoughts?

Sea of Stars is wonderfully evocative of the RPGs of yesteryear, recalling strong memories of Chrono Trigger and the like. Gorgeous pixel art is backed up with a soundtrack that for the most part is very pleasant to listen to, even if some of the loops do tend to repeat themselves a little too quickly. It seldom distracts, and almost always adds to the scene.

With a story that, while not breaking any new ground, is engaging from start to finish and does just enough with its combat mechanics to feel fresh and unique. If you’re a fan of any of the game series mentioned in the opening paragraph, Sea of Stars might be just right for you.

Sea of Stars is available on all current and last gen platforms as well as PC.

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