Since it’s initial announcement Starlink has been a game that both baffled and kind of excited me. It’s a toy to life game in a world where toy to life games are no longer. A toy to life game where you don’t even need to toys to play. A toy to life game with a Nintendo tie in that basically sells the game for those with a Switch. Starlink Battle for Atlas is an ship based adventure game in the spirit of Starfox game, which subsequently is playable only on the Nintendo version of the game. But does the inclusion of Fox McCloud over shadow or help the overall experience?
The short answer is both. Starlink is easily the best Starfox game to come out in a long time. Even those not blessed to be playing on the Nintendo platform are treated to a capable ship combat game. It is a fine game but not something that ever truly rises over its influences. Throughout the campaign you will venture back and forth between planet side combat and space combat. If anything the transitions between the two are some of highlights of the game and really show off how fun the flying and maneuvering can be. Players are encouraged to swap out weapon load outs on the fly to deal with the current task at hand. It plays well into the fundamental design of the game. Enemy “A” is weak against weapon “B” and Enemy “C” is strong against weapon “A” type of deal. The majority of my time in Starlink was played digitally where swapping weapons was simple. I did get a hands on with the actual toys at E3 and found them to be clunky not to mention the added weight of the setup on your controller. Digital is the way to go with this game as its overall easier, cheaper and less frustrating unless you really need to have that Fox figure as a collectible. The worlds of Starlink are varied and each seems to have it’s own personality but I found them to feel empty and I wish the amount of things to do in the game varied like the planets designs as it does get repetitive.
Each pilot is unique with their personality and skills. The ship designs are fun and change based on what you have equipped. And I will admit the addition of Starfox and crew was initially jarring when placed into the wonderfully rendered cutscenes given the games main protagonists are human it was something I quickly dropped as space is vast and you’re meeting creatures from different planets all while fighting a galactic menace hell bent on controlling the galaxy.
Starlink Battle for Atlas is a commendable and often fun experience and foray into the genre and you’ll appreciate the retail portion of the game being highly optional. The best experience will be on the Switch with the added characters while performance may be marginally better on the other two systems.
Disclaimer. We received a review code from Ubisoft for this game but this does not influence our final thoughts. We strive for honest thoughts and reactions and stand behind our reviews. This review is based on final versions on the Switch and initial reactions based on hands on events.