JustTheTip EP.1 ~ Sword of the Stars: The Pit

Today was the first day of my JTT project. It went better than expected! I had five people visit which was a surprise and two of them were very chatty. I suppose what I’ll do now is talk a bit about the game. Then, at the bottom of this post, you can find an embed of the video of me playing it. The rules for JTT are simple as mentioned before. I play for an hour while trying to commentate and then I upload the video.

I don’t examine the game beforehand. If I’ve played it that’s a lovely perk but otherwise I know nothing. I walked into Sword of the Stars (gonna start calling it Swords) completely blind. I had no idea what the game looked like, how it played, what it was, nothing. Which makes for an interesting experience when the game tells you nothing. I started off with Swords not even knowing what buttons did what. This made for an amusing experience where I tried to divine how to pick up some gosh darn meat.

The aesthetics of the game immediately piqued my interest. I’m a big fan of the pixel art style in the game. It hits all the right notes and feels genuinely fresh. From the get go I felt like this game was a passion project. The variety of characters was numerous. My first time playing through I picked a female lizard ranger, the second time through a human male engineer. In both cases I had access to the dozen or two skills, four stats, and what appeared to be innumerable items. The game tasks you with surviving down a series of increasingly more dangerous rooms. This appealed to me because it very closely matches a story I wrote last year called “Five Stages”. Maybe that inspiration will get me to edit and release the darn thing finally.

But I digress, the first floors start off being very simple and unassuming but before you know it robot death machines are spawning out of fabricators and absolutely destroying you. At one point I was blinded by a trap and then robbed senseless by a trio of asshole green robots.

Stop robbing me you assholes!

Stop robbing me you assholes!

This moment should have been soul crushing, like when one of those bastards stole my one and only crowbar. But it ended up being funny. The game punishes you and it seems like death is an inevitable part of the experience. But there is progress too. Each item you find, each enemy you see, each item you craft, and quite a few other features are shared between characters. Each play should, in theory, make you better than before. So there isn’t really any losing in this game. Just winning a little bit at a time. I’m told that 2.2% of all players have beaten this game on easy.

This intrigues me. The game in general intrigues me. I can’t decide now if the game is too vague or perfectly informative. Does it do what it wants to do and is that acceptable? As a first run I’m not sure. But I had genuine fun. I don’t remember when I bought it or why but this was definitely something I don’t regret playing. Perhaps it’ll win out this week to be my Saturday splurge game!

Only time will tell.

Final Thoughts

It's initial impressions are positive. After an hour (or two) of this game I'm up for another four or five. It presents you with an interesting puzzle and challenges you to solve it. If you are up for a difficult game that provides (seemingly) a lot of replayability, go for it. Plus my initial interactions with members of the community are very very positive.

Overall Score 3.5