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DS

North America

The Legendary Starfy

by Francesca DiMola - July 14, 2009, 8:13 pm PDT
Total comments: 8

8

On land or under the sea, this game has platforming, exploration, and plenty of extras to keep everyone happy.

The Starfy series began way back in 2002 on the Game Boy Advance with the Japan-only title, Densetsu no Starfy. Over the next several years, four sequels, which were also Japan exclusives, were released. This year, the series is finally available to the western world with the fifth entry in the series, The Legendary Starfy. This title features staples of many popular Nintendo franchises including Super Mario, Kirby and even Zelda. They are all combined into a bright and colorful adventure that is well worth the wait.

The Legendary Starfy is a 2-D platformer that follows the tale of Prince Starfy, who is on a quest to help a mysterious rabbit named Bunston avoid capture by an evil group known as the Dire Pirate Squad. Starfy, with the aid of Bunston and a slew of other characters, must seek out the broken crystal shards in order for Bunston to return home and save his people.

The game is split into eight different areas. Much like a Super Mario title, players must navigate several sublevels before fighting an end boss in return for a crystal shard, thus moving on to the next area. The Starfy universe takes place above land and below water. Starfy has many different abilities for use on each of these terrains, such as the basic star spin which is useful for killing enemies on land and in water. Learning to utilize all of Starfy’s moves in conjunction with one another is a large staple of the game, not only because of its platforming nature, but because The Legendary Starfy is very heavily based on exploration . Bunston also comes to Starfy’s aid with his transformation ability, which allows Starfy to become one of four unique creatures (seal, dragon, chicken and ghost), each with their own special abilities.

While reaching the end of a level allows players to move onward in the main story line, each level offers several hidden treasure chests containing miscellaneous items, doors which open secret levels after completing a challenge, upgrades to one of Bunston’s four transformation forms and large pockets of pearls which can be spent on clothing in the submenu. Some items that players may seek within chests include journal pages from Moe’s diary, clothing items which cannot be bought and extra heart gems that give Starfy an extra life unit when three are found. Finding some of these hidden chests require abilities that Starfy has yet to learn or Bunston upgrades, so players may have to backtrack often in order to complete the game one hundred percent. In certain levels players will even need to enlist the help of a friend via local single card wireless. They will control Starfy’s little sister Starly who has her own unique set of moves which include the ability to crawl through tight spaces and jump much higher than Starfy can on land.

Replaying levels to find hidden chests, secret areas and transformation upgrades isn't the only thing that will keep players coming back for more. There are several alternative modes, including the dress up Starfy mode where players can combine items of clothing they have either purchased or found, in hopes of creating a “Special”, which is an entertaining little scene based around Starfy’s particular costume. There are also mini-games, which become unlocked as players progress through the main storyline. My personal favorite is the cooking mini-game where players must try to make as many Takoyaki balls as possible within a time limit. The mini-game is simple, fun, and controls very well. Lastly, when players complete the main storyline they unlock three new features, including a randomized toy dispenser which, for a small fee of five coins, nets players an in-game toy similar to the trophy lottery system in Super Smash Bros Melee. Trying to collect them all will undoubtedly keep interested players occupied.

The only real disappointment with this title comes from the utter lack of challenge throughout . Although thorough exploration of each level requires some time and effort, surviving through each one is by no means a difficult task. Without any real challenge, The Legendary Starfy lacks a satisfying sense of accomplishment for players.

Western gamers have waited quite a while to see Starfy on our home front, and The Legendary Starfy is a bright and charming introduction to this series with a great play experience that has much to offer long after the main campaign has ended. Fans of 2D Nintendo platformers such as Kirby and Super Mario will surely be entertained by this enjoyable title. While the challenge level leaves something to be desired, the good aspects certainly outweigh the bad, and we can only hope that the Western gaming world will continue to see more of Starfy and his outrageous companions in the future.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 7 9 8 8 8
Graphics
8

Starfy’s universe both above and below the sea are colorful and vibrant. The subtle animation effects and three-dimensional backgrounds help give the game a unique feel and a bit of extra personality.

Sound
7

Although the music is bouncy and bright, it doesn't leave a lasting impression like other Nintendo titles tend to.

Control
9

When it comes to control schemes, Nintendo kept it simple using a traditional control scheme combining the D-pad with button pressing. No matter which environment Starfy is in, his movements always feel smooth and responsive. Only in certain Bunston transformation forms can the controls become a bit sloppy, creating a moment of annoyance for players.

Gameplay
8

The combination of platforming underwater and on land is incredibly fun and allows players to combine multiple moves, not only to traverse the level but also to seek out hidden objects or areas. Not to mention, the bonus content can keep players entertained for hours alone. The only downside is that the game is simply too easy.

Lastability
8

The main campaign itself will keep players going for at least eight hours without returning to each level to seek hidden treasures and power upgrades. If backtracking isn’t appealing, then one of the included mini-games or other applications contain a good amount of entertainment value for extended play.

Final
8

The Legendary Starfy has all the right elements needed to compete for a top spot among other Nintendo IPs. The platforming is great, the exploration is a top-notch, and the extras are entertaining; however, anyone interested in a challenge will be sorely disappointed.

Summary

Pros
  • Exploring is incredibly fun
  • Great additional content
Cons
  • Too Easy
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

Caffeinated CheeseJuly 14, 2009

I'm sorry, but I honestly disagree with a lot of this review. Before I go on, I should say that I've only made it to the third world, but I'd say I've played about 20 of the games stages, from memory, which all have multiple areas, and several are very long.

The game is simply a children's game, or a beginner's platformer, at the very best.

The stages, so far, have been incredibly simple.  Essentially, each area has a few branching paths, and in the end, they all lead to a door, and you progress to the next area.  Exploration is literally directing Starfy over to the end of a path, picking up the couple of star gems, items that refill your health and can be spent to buy things, and then heading back and going the other way.  Three times in a world (Worlds, I believe, have 6 stages and 3 bonus stages, as well as a boss fight at the end), you'll find an extra doorway that you can go and play one of a few mini-games in, including a brief race, or a "find the item," type of challenge.  When you win, you unlock the bonus stages.  Each bonus stage, IIRC, contains an extra piece of a costume Chessa describes above, for dressing Starfy and Starly.

What's unfortunate is that, aside from it's cutesy atmosphere, and doll-like character designs, which all look great, the rest of the game falls flat.  When I first learned Starfy could wear costumes and accessories, I thought you could "dress" him, and then the sprite on-screen would resemble the changes.  Unfortunately, that's not true, and all those bonus stage costumes, as well as the ones you buy with star gems, are purely for show on the pause menu.  Aside from picking out the way your CG Starfy is dressed, you can unlock brief scenes related to the themes, but it's purely a distraction from gameplay, and likely wouldn't amuse the platforming enthusiast one bit.  Don't expect anything on the level of a Zelda game from the exploration, as this game's exploration is more akin to a Genesis Sonic game:  There's multiple paths in each stage, and a few gems on these paths, but ultimately, you're going to the same place.

The platforming and combat, essentially the action of the game, well, is very weak.  Most combat involves spinning Starfy into enemies, and, if done in quick enough succession, earns bonus star gems.  It's very basic, and very easy.  Starfy's only weakpoint in a spin-attack is that if done too rapidly, he becomes dizzy and needs to recover for a few seconds.  Enemies only pose danger when they enter the screen without enough time to react because you're trying to swim through the stage quickly.

The game also takes Starfy's abilities and gives them out bit-by-bit.  Unfortunately, this means the abilities are completely locked until you reach a stage where the abilities are necessary.  At this point, you're shown a quick "How-to" cutscene, and suddenly Starfy can utilize the move.  An example is the ability to run on land:  Hold down the spin-attack button, and Starfy will zoom across the ground.  The moves are very simple, and really, the game is simple enough that every ability could be open to the player at the beginning, but for some reason, non-story-related reason, they're locked.

When reading about the transformations, I always see praise, and I'll agree, just being in the Dragon transformation is better than Starfy's standard gameplay.  There's typically more enemies on screen, you don't get dizzy from attacking, and rather than swim, the sections are all on land, so the game has less of an artificial feeling of exploration and more of a feeling of a platformer.  This is definitely good news, and where the game would be most associated with most Kirby games.

All-in-all, I could not give this game a score.  It wouldn't be fair to it.  The game isn't for me.  It's not likely for platformer enthusiasts.  Go play some more Mario, Sonic, Kirby, or Donkey Kong Country, or any other platformer.  This game is too easy and too simple for you.

Who is it for?  It's for your son or daughter, who's never played a platformer before.  It's for your mother, or grandmother, who doesn't know how to play a video game, or has only seen Tetris.  For this type of crowd, the game might be just perfect, and couldn't be any better.  For the rest?  Don't waste your time, you'll be disappointed.

You just described a majority of platformers. This is just an easy one of them.

ChessaFrancesca DiMola, Staff AlumnusJuly 15, 2009

While you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, and I appreciate your feedback, I would like to address a few points from your argument.

First, you stated that you are only on the third level and thus basing all of your assumptions for the rest of this title on the fact that you haven’t even played halfway through this game. I will admit, up until the third area the exploration is a bit weak, however after the fourth, and especially later areas, it does at least become a bit more time consuming in order to find everything. Also, just because the exploration isn’t challenging doesn’t mean that it can’t be interesting and rewarding. As a matter of fact, the third area contains levels where yet to be learned Starfy abilities, Starly, and upgraded Bunston abilities will bar a player from finding all the chests, so it’s nearly impossible to be one hundred percent successful at the point you are in the game.

Also to clear up a point that may have been confusing in my review, I was at no point ever comparing the exploration element in The Legendary Starfy to that of Zelda. My Zelda comparison was aimed at the similarities between collection the crystal shard pieces and that of putting the triforce back together.

However I do agree with you on some points. I too was disappointed that the costumes couldn’t be fashioned on Starfy for in-game play. In fact I thought it was almost a tease or a cop out on Nintendo’s part, but I was smitten enough to see Starfy dressed as a Reindeer so I thought I’d let it slide. The level of ease at which the game can be tackled was also my biggest frustration throughout, and while it left me wanting more at times, it didn’t destroy the overall experience of the game for me. As I stated clearly in my review, if you are a gamer who requires a challenge, this title is certainly not for you.

Caffeinated CheeseJuly 15, 2009

I didn't know that things picked up much more nearer the end of the third level/world.  I honestly couldn't tolerate the game in anything but short bursts.  I'll try some more eventually, but I reserve that you shouldn't have to get halfway through a game for it to become a rewarding experience.

I'm aware your Zelda comparison wasn't for exploration, I'm simply using Zelda as a reference point, where, in games like LttP, exploration is a key part of the title, there's new enemies and items to be found everywhere, and lots of different puzzles to solve at almost any given time, whereas with Starfy, at least to the point I was at, it was simply taking every route possible.

vuduJuly 15, 2009

Does the main campaign really last 8 hours?  I can blow through Kirby games really fast, so that was one of the reasons I was planning to skip this game.  But if it will last 8 hours it might be worth it for me to pick it up for $20 down the line.

Caffeinated CheeseJuly 15, 2009

It lasts a long time, I've spent a few hours with it to get where I'm at, but it's been dull, honest.  It doesn't feel like a Kirby game, despite its charm.

How does this one compare to the previous games?  Because the previous games weren't that great... too easy = zzz.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJuly 15, 2009

It's about on par with the games before it, but leagues better than 4. If you were bored by the challenge level in the others, you won't be in for much different here.

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The Legendary Starfy Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Tose
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: The Legendary Starfy
Release Jun 08, 2009
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Densetsu no Stafy Taiketsu! Daiiru Kaizoku Dan
Release Jul 10, 2008
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
aus: The Legendary Starfy
Release Oct 08, 2009
PublisherNintendo
RatingGeneral

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