Overall - 60%
An Oath to the Stars is a decent enough shmup that doesn't really stand out. Those with itchy trigger fingers will appreciate its score-based style, but its short length and standard gameplay don't make a lasting impact like the genre greats.
Himeki Games pays tribute to the shoot-em-up genre with their brand new title An Oath to the Stars. Packing a revenge plot, waves of bullets, and freakin’ laser beams, should you set out to one credit clear this game?
An Oath to the Stars Review
An Oath to the Stars pulls no punches, and is a better game because of it. There are no life bars here – one hit and you’re dead. Die enough times, and you’ll have to use a continue. Though unlimited continues are an option, the fact that this game bases itself on the coin munchers of old harkens back to classic shmups like Raiden and Ikaruga.
The gameplay itself is par for the course as far as the genre is concerned. Players can either fire an indefinite amount of bullets, or fire a laser beam for a set period of time. This can be recharged by collecting yellow triangles from fallen enemies, and the fact that some enemies are damage sponges means that players will lean heavily on this feature. Getting closer to the enemies increases the damage output of your laser, which is a nice touch. There is a combo multiplier for those that attack a series of enemies, but most players will know the standards at play here. It’s not terrible, but it’s not revolutionary either.
This difficulty also extends to its bullet pattern. Enemy bullets don’t always follow a straight trajectory, and with waves of blue and pink bullets, the screen can be filled with an unusual pattern quite quickly. It’s not unfair, per se, but it’s not exactly orthodox either. Whether this is a problem depends on the player and their expectations for these types of games.
The world of An Oath to the Stars is made up of bright polygonal shapes. It gives the game a warm, softer look, which is a double edged sword. While it gives off a vibe that is different from the norm, none of the stages really stand out. The same goes for the enemy types; most fodder (and even bosses) follows the same design, making things feel similar after a while. Despite only having five levels that take around an hour to complete, expect to see the same general style of enemies throughout your playthrough.
There is also a light story to the game, told through stylized still images. After being betrayed by fellow pilot Chiyoko, Hoshiko sets out in the H01 to find out the truth. It’s a simple tale, and it takes a backseat to the gameplay, but it is still welcome nonetheless.
Those looking to master the game will be pleased to know that there is a ranking system for each level. Players can choose each of the five levels from a menu, and there are difficulty bonuses as well. Just don’t expect a bevvy of options here.
An Oath to the Stars is a decent enough shmup that doesn’t really stand out. Those with itchy trigger fingers will appreciate its score-based style, but its short length and standard gameplay don’t make a lasting impact like the genre greats.