Monday, October 15, 2018

"Starlink: Battle for Atlas" Review

It turns out there's still plenty of life in the ailing toys to life genre.

Years after the likes of "Skylanders," "Disney Infinity" and "Lego Dimensions" have swirled down the proverbial gaming fad drain. Ubisoft draws upon its deep Nintendo heritage to conjure a Switch exclusive that brings back the concept with a vengeance.

Bolstered by a wallet-terrifying fleet of physical ships, weapons and plilots you can buy and use in the game, "Battle for Atlas" feels like the confident, cunning launch of a new platform. The cherry add-on is the "StarFox" Fox McCloud & Arwing pack, which lets players act out their interstellar shootout fantasies they have been harboring since the Nintendo 64 days.

Other ships available as physical toys include the hawkishly angular Nadir and the sleek. lithe Neptune. With the intricately articulated ships doubling as eye-popping desk or bookshelf decorations -- not to mention imagination-sparking battle props for youngsters -- the pull of buying a package or two to enhance your gameplay is a simple choice.

Set in the Atlas star system, which acts as a treasure trove for alien technology begging to be reverse-engineered, the story pits you against the nefarious Grax, who vies to use the weaponry to enslave and exploit the denizens of the system.

You guide a loose-knit, Rebel Alliance-style network of squadmates take to the skies to engage the enemy and push through high-risk missions. You can speed through the cosmos, skim planet surfaces and execute skilled maneuvers to avoid enemy fire and return devastating shots of your own. The worlds-colliding  range of characters and weaponry toes the line between fan service and forward-thinking engineering.

"Starlink: Battle for Atlas" feels less like a one-shot and more of a wholesale rediscovery of a lost genre, which is built to sink roots and expand on the galaxy's hottest-selling system. Like its heroes, it soars, shoots from the hip and looks slick while doing it.
Publisher provided review code.

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