Sea Of Stars Reviews Call It An Unmissable Retro RPG

Sea Of Stars Reviews Call It An Unmissable Retro RPG

If the reviews are anything to go by, Sea of Stars is one of the year’s must-play RPGs.

Sea of Stars is the sleeper RPG launching in between a pair of genre titans. It’s a throwback to the SNES era of Squaresoft RPGs, like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana, and conducts itself on a similar scale. Its graphics are beautiful SNES-styled sprites that evoke an era-appropriate vibe, and its gameplay adds small touches of modernity that make it feel less rough-hewn in 2023 than some of the games that inspired it.

Across each platform on Metacritic, critic reviews have overwhelmingly placed the game in the positive category, with aggregate scores ranging from 89 to 91 across PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC platforms.

As we do in each of our review roundups, let’s start by checking in with what the Aussie critics thought.

The Aussies

Player 2 gave it an A, calling it “(a) game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve but then still has something unique to say with a flavour all of its own. Sea Of Stars is a truly unique, and brilliant title that must be experienced.”

Well Played gave it a 9.5, saying, “Sea of Stars is a breathtaking ride through familiarity and originality, engaging in its mechanics and colourful in its story, culminating in some of the best twists and turns of any RPG I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.”

Press Start gave Sea of Stars a 9 out of 10, saying, “Sea of Stars is simultaneously a love letter and modernisation of the legendary turn-based RPGs of old. It retains everything that made them such a core part of the industry so many years ago, while poking fun at tropes and conventions in an entertainingly self-aware manner. Much like The Messenger, Sea of Stars is another smash hit from Sabotage Studio, and is undoubtedly one of the best games of this year.”

Checkpoint Gaming gave it an 8.5, calling it “(a) polished, cleverly designed, and utterly joyful experience, Sea of Stars takes the best parts of classic RPGs and distils their essence into something at once comfortingly nostalgic and refreshingly modern. Its combat system twists traditional turn-based combat into a satisfyingly tactile blend of strategy and execution, making exploring every inch of its gorgeous world an absolute pleasure. Despite some odd pacing in the final act and the occasional cringey joke, Sea of Stars holds up as a fantastic modern RPG and a must-play for fans of the genre.”

So, yeah, everyone seems to have liked it a lot.

How about the rest of the world?

The rest of the world

Dexerto gave it a 10/10, saying, “Sabotage Studio has accomplished its grand vision. With a mission statement of “creating definitive editions of the game genres we enjoyed as kids,” not only have they tactfully paid homage to their inspirations, but through a number of dazzling new ideas, they’ve now left an indelible mark on the JRPG genre. Sea of Stars is a modern classic.”

Game Rant gave it a 9, saying, “Sabotage’s retro-inspired RPG is a strong offering that is doubly impressive considering it’s only the second project from this budding indie studio. There are too many points to expound upon — be it the soundtrack, story, combat, gameplay, or graphics — but they are all skillfully implemented. Even on the technical side, there are no complaints. Sea of Stars is simply a really fun, well-rounded game that any fan of RPGs will surely enjoy.”

GamesRadar also gave it a 9, saying, “It’s a joy and a relief to realise that Sabotage hasn’t merely mimicked classic ’90s JRPG, but committed to understanding what makes them tick. Its nostalgia is neither gratuitous nor cynical, instead working disparate references together with original ideas into a coherent whole. While it’s a little disappointing to discover that there’s isn’t great depth to the turn-based battles and other systems, the immense quality and detail in the pixel art, soundtrack, location design, characters and plot ensure that Sea of Stars remains a stunning achievement to the end.”

Game Informer also gave it a 9, saying, “Sea of Stars is a stellar throwback that appeals to fans like me who love 16-bit RPGs, but it also functions as an excellent entry point. Annoyances that hindered early games that inspired Sea of Stars are nowhere to be seen. Simple actions like moving around the world feel great, the story picks up quickly, and farming experience is effectively unnecessary. It all leads to a smooth, consistently thrilling adventure with fun combat, all in a gorgeous and inviting world.”

IGN awarded it an 8, saying, “Sea of Stars is an excellent tribute RPG that channels the best parts of its ‘90s-era forebears like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, and even Star Ocean: The Second Story. Because of that, it’s fair to say that its world, graphical style, and mechanics aren’t wholly original, but there are enough interesting twists in its 30-hour story to make for a rich and enjoyable experience of its own merit. This isn’t just nostalgia fodder. That said, its twitchy combat can be difficult to get a handle on, and once you do, it only stays interesting for so long before its limited customization options make it start to feel just a little repetitive. That’s made up for by a strong soundtrack, an approachable and endearing story, and a wide number of fun zones and boss fights that make this a trip worth taking.”

TheGamer also gave it an 8, saying, “What I find most remarkable about Sea of Stars is that, despite not caring all that much about its characters, the gameplay was good enough that I was invested throughout. Managing the meters of each battle, and exploring the colorful landscapes and dungeons that connect them, is so entertaining that my quibbles about other aspects couldn’t bring the experience down. The story isn’t especially compelling, but it perfectly serves the purpose it needs to: getting you from the fun of A to the fun of B without any real hiccups in between. Howard Hawks once said that a movie needs “three good scenes and no bad ones” to be great. That’s what Sea of Stars has going for it. Nothing that’ll bother you too much, and plenty of good.”

Eurogamer, another 8, says “Sea of Stars‘ well-considered inspirations are shot through with smart, modern sensibilities, creating a more-than-welcome addition to the contemporary throwback RPG club.”

PC Gamer was less impressed, giving it a 79 and saying, “Sea of Stars may not truly recapture the magic of ’90s RPGs, but it’s still a polished, enjoyable blend of old and new.”

The Cheapest NBN 1000 Plans

Looking to bump up your internet connection and save a few bucks? Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


One response to “Sea Of Stars Reviews Call It An Unmissable Retro RPG”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *