Starr Mazer: DSP Preview – From Nihilism to Determination


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Have you ever wanted to save the world? It’s a dream millions have had throughout time and space. To leave a lasting mark on society is central to human culture. For the game Starr Mazer: DSP this concept runs deep. Just like in real life, however, don’t expect to actually achieve that dream.

In the game you’ll take tons of soldiers that have a wide range of abilities into combat, against a terrifying horde of space aliens. If you’re anything like me, you’ll die multiple times. This game actually has these units die if you’re hit even once. You’ll never get a chance to use their unique set of skills and stats again.

As soon as your platoon of soldiers finally kicks the bucket that’s it, game over as you’re forced to restart the entire game. Your soldiers are dead and the only thing they’ve left you is their overall score against this alien horde.

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These soldiers died an almost futile death, leaving behind only their glory and a chance to buy new soldiers with their score.

These could be many more soldiers or even better soldiers than you previously had. The harder you fight the higher your score, the more units you can take into combat with you the next round.

As soon as you restart and get your combined score you’re brought into a screen with three different packs of cards to choose from. Each pack has a certain price to open and as soon as you do your locked out of the other packs.

Inside your chosen pack you’ll find small dossier of soldiers, describing the abilities and statistics of each character. On each sheet you’ll find their movement speed, rate of attack, and a stat called survivability.

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In combat, if you get hit even once you’ll more than likely die. This death is stymied by a small bar on the top left corner of the screen. On this bar there are small sections where you can get hit and not immediately die. For more expensive soldiers this section is far larger than for cheaper soldiers.

That’s not to say these sections will last after being hit, because each time you are hit this section shrinks to the point where any hit could kill your soldier. This is the survivability stat, and any unit worth their salt has a good rank in it.

One of the best factors this game has to offer is the fact that this game is procedurally generated. While many areas have a similar layout and many events happen in a similar way-the enemies flight plan, coordination, and numbers are all procedurally generated.

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This keeps the game from getting stale after hundreds of retries.

Where it really kicks into high gear though is that the soldiers you buy are all procedurally generated as well. Their stats, ships, abilities, voices, and character pictures are all procedurally generated, and I loved every second of it.

I can’t say how many times I tried to get past the first stage. I barely lasted 3 minutes each time I played, but each time I got better. Each time I made it just a little bit further than my last time. I kept wanting to go back over and see if I could get just a bit farther than the last time I tried it.

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While I can’t say for certain that this game would have any real replayability, I can say that if you are willing to give this game a chance you’ll be itching for just one more round.

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Cody Gulley

About

I am a research student with a history in psychology. I am a fan of tactical rpgs and I love to travel. I hope to one day be a clinical psychologist.