After more than five years in development, Spacetime Studios has finally released Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles, a massively multiplayer online science fiction game for the Android platform. Wait, there was no Android platform five years ago!
That's right, Spacetime Studios first signed on with MMO publisher NCsoft to create The Blackstar Chronicles as a PC game back in 2006. It was a very ambitious game, filled with action, adventure, space combat, all wrapped up in an incredibly distinctive art style that captured the hearts of many a massively multiplayer fan, myself included.
But things fell apart in 2008, NCsoft cancelled the project, and Spacetime bought back the intellectual property. Without the backing of a major publisher, Spacetime decided to go it alone. In February of 2011 following the success of their first mobile MMO, the fantasy-themed Pocket Legends, Spacetime announced that Blackstar would be a mobile MMO as well.
And here we are.
Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles is a free-to-play MMO that's recently made its debut on the Android platform (an iOS version is in the works).
The gameplay is relatively simple and formulaic. Players choose from three character classes -- the tankish Commando, damage-dealing Operative, or healing and buffing Engineer -- group up with other players, and wander through various futuristic environments, defeating enemies and completing quests for experience points. As their characters level up they are able to use more armour, unlock more powerful skills, and look more like the early Blackstar concept art than the jump-suited newbies wandering about.
Much like Sega's Phantasy Star Online series, players hang out in a central hub in-between missions, buying and trading items, crafting new equipment, forming guilds, or simply searching for their next adventuring fix. They banter back and forth, every once in a while taking a moment to send me a private message telling me my armour looks stupid; it's a free-to-play game, and you get what you pay for.
In fact, in Star Legends you really get what you pay for. Everything from performance enhancing stimulants to powerful new armours and weapons are available to those willing to trade-in real money for the fake stuff. It's definitely a pay-to-win scenario, but if you manage to get one of these paid-out characters in your group you'll really appreciate having the extra muscle around. It's like they paid just to keep you alive! How sweet.
While it doesn't come close to the promise of the PC game that teased me back in 2006, Star Legends isn't a bad little mobile MMO. The action is quick, the mechanics easy to master, and it's currently an Android exclusive, giving fans of the 'Droid just a little more fuel for the gloating.
Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles [Android Market]