StarCrawlers is a space-punk dungeon crawler that offers a great atmosphere, a splendid combat system, an engaging set-up and a rather interesting story. Besides several minor flaws, the major fun killer is an unfortunate focus on the procedurally generated content that can‘t compete with manually created work yet.
After a dozen hours, it’s all just variants of the same dungeons over and over again. By the time I grew a bit bored of the dungeons, however, I was already invested. So that I didn’t need to keep checking the corp information menu, I even scribbled down my grudges or the names of groups I needed to butter up in my Little Book of Debts. Even more than Syndicate or Shadowrun Returns, StarCrawlers manages to capture the essence of cyberpunk and turn it into compelling systems. Despite the concessions made in the name of ambition, it’s an impressive dungeon romp.
Starcrawlers is solid grid-based dungeon crawler with mostly procedurally generated levels and items and surprisingly good story.
Second half of the game gets a bit too grindy and grinding with turn-based combat is really boring. I would always prefer smaller maps designed by person over poorly generated repetitive giant ones.
Overall Starcrawlers is worth playing especially if you like dungeon crawling and/or cyberpunk.
I started off liking Starcrawlers a lot more than I expected to. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it is basically a turn based Legend of Grimrock in space and that is an awesome combo. I could also describe Starcrawlers as a first person version of Shadowrunners that is scifi as opposed to cyberpunk based but it isn’t as accurate as Starcrawlers has much less dialogue choices than the Shadowrunner games. Starcrawlers has many good qualities and few downsides although the downsides are pretty annoying and ended up ruining my enjoyment.
You start off by picking a class and assigning your points to different attributes and special attacks you can upgrade. You can really tailor your character to different playstyles and I felt like I could play how I wanted without having to compromise much. You can also hire additional crawlers, something you pretty much have to do as doing many missions solo is suicide. You can pick which ones to go on mission with based on which ones suit your needs and play styles. Having the engineer or hacker on your team gives you additonal options in terms of how to deal with locked doors and having additional dialogue options with enemies. This is true of many of the different classes which is great. You can distribute loot to your crew to get them better armor or weapons. You can sell some loot on the black market at auctions and most other loot at the local shop. You can either increase or decrease your standing with various factions based on the missions you accept and the loot you steal. Obviously selling company secrets won’t earn you any praise from that company when they find out. Accepting a mission to raid an office will earn you praise from the faction that employs you but earn you the wrath of whose office is being raided. This is an awesome concept but at the end of the day I found it all had little impact on the story or gameplay. Factions I had great standing with offered me nothing except a few extra credits and the odd deal on a weapon while having a faction hate me never impacted me in a negative way. They never sent people after me or anything else. Some downsides to the game was the procedural generation of the maps. It would have been painfully clear to me if I hadn’t already known as most maps are very similar and only have about three or four variations that the majority of maps are made from. There is an overarching story and story missions to progress with but there are a lot of optional side missions you can choose to do. Also there is one mission, where you have to trap an enemy called a “Gorzilla” that made me quit the game I hated it so much. The game is a first person dungeon crawler up until you have to get into a stupid puzzle trying to trap this thing. If I wanted a puzzle game I would have went to play one but this felt out of place and unneeded. It is a story mission and can’t be completed without this puzzle. Up until this misison I was enjoying it. The turn based combat was great, felt like a space based JRPG.
I played Starcrawlers on Linux. It never crashed once on me. It has options for Vsync, AA, AF, an FOV slider that goes up to 100, three other graphics options, it has manual saving outside of combat, and runs great. It used no more than 11% of my CPU and my system usage for RAM was no more than 4GB while playing. ALT-Tab didn’t work. I used version 1_1_3_3_27395 from GOG. The install size was only 2.1GB.
Overall I wanted to like Starcrawlers. It has many good qualities to it but be warned about the odd stupid mission such as the Gorzilla mission and it’s puzzles. If you don’t mind puzzles and enjoy games such as Legend of Grimrock or Shadowrunner than you will probably have a good time with Starcawlers. I received Starcrawlers for free from GOG but would say it is worth $25 if it didn’t have that puzzle mission but only $10 with it.
My Score: 6.5/10
My system Used:
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X | 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15 | MSI RX 580 8GB Gaming X | Mesa 19.0.2 | Samsung 850 Evo 250GB | Manjaro 18.0.4 | Mate | Kernel 5.0.7-1-MANJARO
It's better than many, but still falls short due to missed opportunities. If it were slightly more original with better music and less fluff, it could easily be a 9.
- Class system
- Combat. I actually wish there was more combat and less exploration/hacking
- Music/sound. This one is a huge. It doesn't sound good and the "music" is terrible.
- Inventory management is a nightmare. You can't sort and everything looks similar.
- Many levels have too much dead space
- Hacking gets really repetitive
- The whole game feels like it plagiarized Shadowrun
There are some very good moments about Starcrawlers - and some bad ones.... .
I like the art style of the hub and the character design. I like how you can pick and choose both genders (just a basic interest of mine - even if it makes absolutely no difference in this game)
I like the faction system and the multiple decisions and paths to take during missions .. to balance payouts, faction hits and loot.
I like the action points/time based combat mechanics that are both easy to learn and tactical enough to matter (in theory at least).
i do NOT like the visual design of the environment - considering this is a tile based 3d crawler - i find the boring and repetitive design, low detail and kind of bad texture work fairly disappointing. Model quality, art design, colours and general architecture is ... well, there is no other word i can think of.... : poor.
Also the world design simply cannot compete with "real" hand drawn and hand crafted dungeons. Personally - i always like a mixture the best ... randomly generated side dungeons and grind-dungeons - and hand crafted story dungeons - or dungeons made of more complex tiles.
I also do NOT like the audio in that game. By that - i mean the ambient sound and FX ... not the music - as i tend to play my games without music. Ambient sound and FX however is bare bones up to non existent.
I would have expected the sound to have a special interest for a game that is based on mostly interior tiles to "simulate" space ships/husks. At almost no time - i felt like walking through a spaceship at all... . It could as well have been a ground base, a generic dungeon or anything.
Also - none of the dialogue is voice acted (although its mostly nicely enough written)
The game is worth the price - and well worth some hours of fun indeed! But it is not perfect by a long shot. It becomes repetitive and the excitement curve flattens out quickly. Sooo - it is quite average... recommended only for those that played games like legend of Grimrock and want more tile based crawlers that are not 20 years old.
SummaryStarCrawlers is a new take on a classic cRPG dungeon crawler set in a spacepunk universe. Assemble a crew of renegade adventurers on the fringes of space, taking jobs from megacorps to hunt bounties, sabotage rivals and conduct corporate espionage.