by Nathaniel Liles
[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ow, it’s entirely possible that you guys read my original article about Starwhal: Just the Tip, and you may have even been around when they added an ice cream outfit, but today, I’m here to talk about something a little more special. Starwhal: Just the Tip saw its full release recently, rocketing it out of the creamy, gooey, completely unpleasant Bog of Eternal Stench that is Early Access into the equally creamy and gooey (but extremely pleasurable) Bog of Eternal Dream Backflips that is full, completed game-hood.
For those unwilling to sort through that mess of an introduction paragraph, Starwhal: Just the Tip is a phenomenal local multiplayer experience that changed my entire perception of PC gaming back when it originally released (and I was relatively new to PC gaming). It opened the floodgates, showing me a world of fantastic local multiplayer experiences on a system that I though was devoid of them. Luckily for everyone (and I do mean everyone), local multiplayer is alive and well, and if you’re looking for a basic review of Starwhal, you can click these words or just read on to the cliffnotes of the core experience riiiiiight…
Here. Okay, so, the bread and butter of Starwhal is hectic 1-4 player physics-based combat with equal parts uncontrollable mayhem and hard-earned skill. The skill component is enough to make you kinda feel like you have an edge when you go up against your less experienced friends, but the ridiculous chaos of it all means that it’s entirely possible for them to luck into a victory against you. It remarkably balanced, and despite my hours spent playing by myself, I don’t seem to do terribly well when I play with friends. It’s crazy balanced due to a weird turn of events that basically turns everyone into a fun, floppy mess. Simple, hard-to-screw-up visuals mixed with a ton of pop culture references and bold design elements make this title a joy to look at, and the music gets me pumped to play every time.
This article, however, is about the full, actual, final release of the game, and while we’ll certainly see updates in the future, apparently the magical barrier between Early Access and full release has been crossed, so I can criticize without a care in the world. What do I have to say about the title now that it’s complete? Well, many of the same things. Despite the Gladiator game mode, hinted in Early Access, but oddly absent from the full release, everything’s intact, and I’m happy to see a healthy number of single-player challenges thrown into the mix to help me hone that nigh unobtainable “skill” I mentioned earlier. It has even more references than ever in the costume department (although you still can’t play dressup with the CPU players), and the number and variety of maps was really stepped up a notch for the full release.
If you’re really big into local multiplayer, put this on your wishlist and give it a look. It’s really really fun to play with friends, but it’s best in small doses, and if you’re looking for a fun local multiplayer experience, I’d have a hard time recommending this above all else, but that’s not because this is a sub-par game. It’s hecka awesome and amazing, but so are a few other local multiplayer titles on Steam. Depending on your tastes, this may be the best option, and it’s certainly one of the top 5 must-have games for a party or game night, but at $15, I’d give this one my official non-numeric rating of “Put it on your wishlist, wait for a sale or a rainy day, but definitely don’t let this go unnoticed.”
Starwhal: Just the Tip is a one-of-a-kind hectic multiplayer experience, oozing with personality, replayability, variety, and fun, but its $15 price tag may be a dealbreaker for some, but luckily, this title is very much “what you see is what you get”. If you check it out and love what you see, pick it up, because there’s way too much coolness to fit in a trailer, but if it doesn’t grab you, the extra content may not be worth the exploratory investment. It’s available on Steam and Humble right now.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nathaniel.jpg” ] Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free on his BandCamp page. You can watch him play games on his Twitch channel. You can also follow him on twitter at @NathanielLiles.[/author]