A commercial Steam game made in just one week, Narayana Walters’ StarPrey has players blasting and bouncing their way to victory through dozens of levels. Does its physics engine play nice with its speedy gameplay, or should this title have spent more time in the oven?
Presented from a new perspective, players will take control of a rogue starfighter that is on the hunt for its prey. Presented through a handful of text-based screens, it lies squarely in the background to let the gameplay take center focus – a wise choice.
Much like Atari’s classic arcade hit Asteroids, players will be shooting down threats in a 360 degree perspective with the use of the mouse. It doesn’t matter if it’s an enemy cruiser, turret, homing device, or homing devices with a dastardly red tail – if it’s on the screen, it needs to go.
In order to do this, players have a blaster (mapped to the left mouse button) that can dispose of these threats fairly quickly. However, one needs to be careful – your ship can go down in two hits, and death is imminent at all times. To combat this, players can shoot their thrusters out and bounce against the walls to strafe and dodge bullets. When the going gets tough, a fast and speedy approach is the answer. The environment can often prove to be a problem though; running into an asteroid or wall can be just as deadly as an enemy fighter.
This might seem bog standard, but putting it into practice is what makes StarPrey really shine. Everything moves at a fast clip, with a number of levels running at less than 15 seconds. Though players will likely have to restart multiple times before they get things down, everything has a structure to it that makes it almost feel like a puzzle game. Make no mistake – this game has a learning curve that requires players to bite it until they’ve got it. No need to fear though; players will feel like The Last Starfighter before too long.
The game does do its part to keep things fresh. Each level has a different gimmick, from boxing the player in to dealing with a rotating circle of asteroids. A dogfighting miniboss and mothership final boss also make an appearance, though the latter proves to be quite the challenge. Thankfully, players can just as easily get back into the action upon a most likely inevitable defeat.
The entirety of the title can be finished in a little more than an hour, depending on one’s dexterity and experience with the genre. Though there are no achievements in this particular title, players can record their best times for each level and can jump to any level from the get-go. For the masochistic among us, players can also try their luck with a hard mode.
Though it has a bit of a learning curve, StarPrey proves to be a solid arcade-like title that successfully combines speed with physics to create something grand.
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