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Pictures are screenshots from demo

The Sea of Stars demo is out on the eShop, so I decided to give it a try. I love the pixel art, and I am always in the market for a new RPG. The demo is only available on the Nintendo Switch, but the game will also release on Steam and PlayStation on August 29, 2023. If you are interested in the game and have a Switch, I recommend downloading the demo.

The demo does a fantastic job of giving players a sense of the combat mechanics and dungeons featured in Sea of Stars. The demo lets you control the three featured characters as you make your way through an abandoned wizard’s tower. It was such a beautiful setting, and I am curious to see what they do with the rest of the world.

One thing to note right off the bat, this game does not waste time on a tutorial level. You will be thrown into the story and left to figure things out. I highly recommend you read the help guide included in the main menu because there are mechanics introduced in this game that aren’t intuitive. I hate having to sit through tutorials, and I am happy with this choice. The guide is pretty comprehensive and easy to follow. 

The puzzles in the demo were very manageable. I found the experience quite relaxing. The game might be more difficult at release, but I will be here for it either way. Combat is where this game truly shines. I have never played an RPG where the combat was this engaging. Instead of waiting for your turn, you can press buttons to either buff your attacks or defense. If you get the timing right, the small boost you get from this mechanic makes a nice difference. You can play this game like every other RPG, but I recommend you do the extra work to keep things interesting.

My favorite part of Sea of Stars is the way in which they handle magic. Each spell has an extra step that determines how much damage you do. For example, there is a spell where you cast a boomerang that you can keep bouncing between enemies by pressing the A button. Timing is crucial for this spell. Missing the timing on the return means the boomerang doesn’t bounce, and you do less damage. Any mana you expend casting spells you can earn back performing basic attacks. I loved that I didn’t have to horde potions in spells for the end of the dungeon. 

The demo ends with a fun boss battle. It didn’t feel like the usual slog against a damage sponge because I was so focused on the buff/debuff mechanics. The fight was difficult enough to keep me engaged without feeling like a slog fest. Please make sure you save at the save points! When you die, you restart at your last save. I lost a lot of progress.

I’ll reserve my judgment for the story because there wasn’t much of it in the demo. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style, but it is too early to know for sure. There is also no voice acting, and I didn’t really care for the music. That said, I am looking forward to this game’s release! Make sure you mark your calendars for August! In the meantime, go check out the demo.

Image By Sabotage – Giant Bomb, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72375507