Star Story: The Horizon Escape is one of the most unique and enjoyable games I’ve played in recent months. I was absolutely astonished by the degree or workmanship and level of talent displayed by small indie developer Evil Corporation Games. I had the great honor of hosting a live stream event for the developer, and during this fun event I learned a lot about the journey of this hidden gem.
Ultimately, a game can only go as far as its development team is willing to go, and this team really goes above and beyond. EvilCoGames spent 3 full hours with #GamersRule on stream, shared dozens of keys with viewers, answered questions, and even shared future development plans with us. That’s really something special.
Star Story: The Horizon Escape is a vibrant side-scrolling adventure RPG with turn-based and text elements. It takes place in a beautifully drawn and unique environment with nods to sci-fi, steampunk, and the Wild West.
I hesitate to compare the game to text-based questing games, because it’s so much more, and while I don’t generally enjoy the old text-based questing games on PC, I thoroughly enjoyed Star Story: The Horizon Escape. Therefore, I will instead describe it as an immersive, “Choose Your Own Adventure” brought to your PC EvilCoGames-style.
This small Russian development team has a wonderful sense of humor and creativity, and these were evident to me both during the live stream event and also during gameplay.
Star Story: The Horizon Escapes begins as the player crashlands onto an unknown planet. From there, our journey continues with exploration thereby allowing us to gather resources, identify new substances, unlock new weapons, and make use of the crafting mechanic in home base.
Battle instances are turn-based but really felt about as close to real-time combat as a turn-based combat mechanic can be. With the addition of extra weapons, shields, and secondary weapons like grenades, it was much more enjoyable to me than I ever expected for what are technically turn-based battle instances. I spent just as much time exploring, collecting resources, and crafting as I did in combat, and for this type of game, that was a very nicely achieved balance.
In regard to time commitment, my first playthrough was right at 3 hours. However, it was also during the live stream event, so most gamers can probably complete it even faster. Even though there are 24 endings, they need not all be completed at once. This is definitely a game where short increments of playtime would be just fine. The game saves your progress, and even if your character dies, it simply respawns back at home base, so no raging necessary. It’s a casual game and certainly family-friendly for those looking to enjoy a game with children.
Graphically, Star Story: The Horizon Escape is gorgeous, with vibrant colors and striking artwork. Upon launching the game, my eyes were immediately drawn to the crystal clear, almost sharp, images with beautiful shadowing and color combinations. The creative and artistic team really went above and beyond. Players will find a variety of resolutions as well as fullscreen options in the settings menu to ensure the best personalized graphics experience.
The soundtrack lends another layer to the immersive experience. It’s truly enjoyable, a combination of ambient sounds, combat sound effects and musical soundtrack. During the live stream event, viewers took note of the soundtrack and commented that they also enjoyed it. Everything about Star Story: The Horizon Escape was charming and engaging, including the soundtrack.
Developmentally, this is a very solid game. While a recent patch was issued to fix an issue with Steam achievements, I can not say that I encountered any issues during gameplay. In fact, quite the opposite. I felt that the game was intuitive and included really solid construction. With a foundation like that, the only place that EvilCoGames can go from here is up.
Content is certainy not in short supply, and if I was surprised by anything, it was the naturally smooth game progression. Star Story is played with a mouse and keyboard; there is no controller support at this time, nor am I aware of plans for future implementation. However, being a gamer than prefers a controller, I honestly didn’t miss it here. For those who require or prefer a controller, I would recommend a Steam controller. There are already profiles available for games with a similar control scheme, so that should be possible when necessary.
At this time, Star Story includes support for both English and Russian languages with more to come in the future. In fact, that was one of many questions asked by viewers and answered by special guest EvilCoGames.
Another developmental question that was answered was in regard to availability on mobile and other digital platforms. At this time, Star Story: The Horizon Escape is available on Steam and Itch.io, but there are plans for a future release on mobile platforms.
This is a game where choices and outcomes are abundant, and what the player chooses to do really does change the outcome of the game. In fact, there are 24 different endings and a multitide of methods for getting there. After the first complete playthrough, I can’t imagine ever playing it twice in exactly the same manner. This game has replayability in spades.
Ultimately, I absolutely recommend Star Story: The Horizon Escape. The unique blend of atmosphere, graphics, sound, and text-based elements with surprisingly enjoyable turn-based combat, that feels anything but, compels me to recommend the game. This is certainly a hidden gem, family-friendly, with a massive amount of replayability and 24 different endings. Star Story will appeal to gamers looking for a casual game and those seeking a new and unique RPG or adventure game.