The text below was published on the Brazilian PlayStation.Blog.
Studio Sabotage was founded with a very clear goal in mind: to bring you our very own “definitive editions” of the game genres we grew up on. By combining retro aesthetics with modern design, we aim to deliver an experience that captures what we love about the old games, while leaving behind the elements that can detract from them today.
For our own turn-based RPG, we started with some simple guidelines: seamless transitions from navigation to combat, no random encounters, and no repetitive tasks. Combat is obviously an important element, so let’s look at a few more details.
Really in a shift
Combat in Sea of Stars is completely turn-based with no time bars, removing the pressure and allowing the player to make decisions at their own pace. Each of the six playable characters has a small set of four spells/abilities with different damage and patterns that can be combined with other characters’ actions.
MP has a very low threshold but is restored using normal attacks, creating a flow where magic is expected to be used in normal combat, and heavier attack spells should be combined with normal attacks in boss fights.
The fact that there are no random encounters means that each battle is handcrafted, offering a unique pattern of enemies that can be analyzed and optimized by the astute Solstice Warrior, while other combat features combine in a dance of utility and damage.
Enemies that cast special spells or abilities show a bar with padlocks, each with a certain type of damage icon. Breaking the locks will weaken the next move and breaking them will cancel the move altogether.
Each of the six playable characters can effectively deal one or two types of damage, boosted by spell/skill sets that offer different patterns (such as area abilities or multiple attacks).
To make turn-based combat more interesting, pressing the action button increases damage taken and decreases damage taken in sync with the animations.
The outcome of virtually every combat action can be affected by pressing a button at the right moment, whether it’s bouncing a moon projectile back and forth, blocking enemy attacks, or grabbing food from a backpack.
combination of movements
Every combat action accumulates energy, which is converted into combo points that can be spent to perform double attacks by combining the two characters’ standard and damage types.
You only spend combo points (not MP) to do this, which disappear at the end of the battle, so using them only brings benefits!
Normal attacks generate “living mana” that can be absorbed by any playable character when they need an extra boost. Enhancements can be stacked up to three times, each time increasing a character’s magic attack portion on their next action. This is also useful when a character needs a unique magic damage type but is without MP.
Since a battle team can only have three characters on screen, you’ll be able to switch to any waiting character without spending anything, not even a turn!
What else is new in Sea of Stars?
We’re out of time, but I’d like to leave a quick list of other important elements and considerations regarding the purpose of the game:
- Free crossings: Swim, climb, jump, slide down or climb rocks on a smooth journey around the world with a platform-aware navigation system that doesn’t rely on classic grid-tied block movement.
- Full dynamic lighting: Our custom render stream lets you create stunning worlds that come to life, pushing the limits of 2D pixel games.
- An adventure with a story that makes sense: Dozens of original characters and arcs will take you on an engaging journey. At times epic, at times absurd and at times thrilling, Sea of Stars fulfills its role as an RPG exploring the classic themes of adventure and friendship, and is still full of the twists and turns we’re used to in Sabotage plays.
- Almost real world: There are plenty of ways to play Sea of Stars if you need a change in your adventure. Sailing, cooking, fishing, visiting a tavern to listen to music or the famous board game known as “Wheels”…
Sea of Stars will be available on PS4 and PS5 next year. Follow up!