Sabotage Studios’ debut title, The Messenger, released in 2018 to widespread critical acclaim. It was a linear action-platformer that transforms into a more expansive Metroidvania around the halfway point with the core gameplay mechanics taking after Tecmo’s early Ninja Gaiden games. I even wrote my in-depth review of the game when it launched on Switch, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the “linear” half of the game, I felt the second half felt shoehorned in due to the massive popularity of the Metroidvania genre at that time. Having taken on one popular genre, the team is now taking a crack at turn-based RPGs with Sea of Stars.
Interestingly enough, this game is connected to The Messenger in that it will be serving as a sort of prequel. According to the game’s official Kickstarter page, it “…tells the story of two Children of the Solstice who will combine the powers of the sun and moon to perform Eclipse Magic, the only force capable of fending off the monstrous creations of the evil alchemist known as The Fleshmancer.” On the surface, Sea of Stars appears to be your traditional 16-bit inspired RPG with admittedly gorgeous sprite art. However, it seems like Sabotage is taking strides to rope in those who ordinarily don’t play RPGs, such as yours truly.
First, Sea of Stars will not have random encounters or an emphasis on grinding. Battles will be initiated by making contact with an enemy, much like Gargoyle’s Quest 2 and the beloved Paper Mario series. Sabotage also says that character progression “…flows naturally along with the story”, eliminating the need to farm for experience points.
Perhaps the most interesting wrinkles are the inclusion of non-tile based movement and…platforming? The Kickstarter page claims that you’ll be able to “Climb, jump, run, swim, vault and dive as you progress”, and that caught my eye as a genre fanatic.
Sea of Stars has far surpassed its goal of $93, 423 and has now managed to gain $243,207 in funding thanks to 7,743 backers on Kickstarter. Sabotage hopes to have the game out for consoles and PC in Q1 2022. In the meantime, you can follow its development here and even pledge money at different tiers for various rewards.