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Jahanzeb Khan
04 Jan, 2010

The Legendary Starfy Review

DS Review | If you wish upon a star....
Starfy is a series of platform games for Nintendo handhelds that has previously been exclusive to Japan. The Legendary Starfy marks the worldwide debut of this series and is technically the fifth Starfy game. The debut of Starfy is indeed most welcome but you are probably wondering if The Legendary Starfy brings anything new to the table when it comes to platformers.

First off, let’s get the premise and story out of the way. The Legendary Starfy is about the brave and adventurous prince of the Pufftop Kingdom named Starfy. He is legendary in his world because of his previous four grand adventures (which we all missed out on). The story revolves around Starfy’s chance encounter with a space rabbit named ‘Bunston’, who suffers from amnesia and is being chased by mysterious villains. Starfy, and his sidekick Moe, embark on an adventure to help Bunston recover his memories and defeat the bad guys who pursue him. The story is pretty simple and is filled with humour as well as uplifting themes and charm. The story plays out like a children’s cartoon show with the main theme being ‘The Power of Friendship!’ The plot is nothing praiseworthy but it’s still nicely done for this type of colourful platformer.

When it comes to gameplay, The Legendary Stafy is surprisingly different from other Nintendo platformers. The initial impression that anyone would get is that Starfy is a bad Kirby clone, especially when you consider that he can transform and glide around. Thankfully though, The Legendary Starfy plays much differently from Kirby and other Nintendo platformers, even if it does borrow ideas and conventions from them.

  
Starfy is here!

Starfy is here!
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The main gimmick of The Legendary Starfy is swimming, which makes sense since Starfy is a starfish who lives in the clouds and… you know what we mean, right? The underwater levels of any platformer have always been the most agonising sections, however in The Legendary Starfy they are the game’s most enjoyable moments as Starfy can swim through water effortlessly using turbo swim. That said, there isn’t anything to get really excited about but it’s still a nice gimmick that gives the game a unique personality.

Thankfully, Starfy is also pretty talented on land. He can run fast like Sonic the hedgehog, glide through the air, jump really high, slide and of course perform his main spin attack (which can also be done underwater). As you progress through the game, Starfy will learn new abilities such as a stronger spin attack and a useful double jump. The land segments in The Legendary Starfy are pretty much standard platformer fare.

Starfy has the ability to transform much like Kirby but the variety of transformations isn’t nearly as diverse. He can transform into one of four creatures, with each granting him abilities and powers. These transformations are only available for certain sections of the game and cannot be done whenever you please. Even though there is a lack of freedom when it comes to transformation moments, it still adds variety to the game.

  
Plenty of fun platforming action.

Plenty of fun platforming action.
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The structure of The Legendary Starfy is a throwback to the platformers that dominated the SNES era. The game features eight main stages/worlds that are further sub divided into levels. Each level features a series of areas that you need to progress through and feature a mix of action, classic platforming, lots of swimming and some very light puzzles. Each world has its own unique theme and gimmick, even including platform game conventions such as a snow/ice world. At the end of each world/stage is a boss fight, which is often fun and clever. You can also unlock secret stages by completing side missions and even unlock new mini games. The game takes around 8-10 hours to complete and even after the credits roll you unlock additional stages and content, this even includes an alternate quest starring Starfy’s sister ‘Starly’ as the main character and she comes with some new abilities.

Apart from the main game, the The Legendary Starfy has other modes and extras. There is a collection of mini games (what DS game doesn’t have mini games?) that can be played in multiplayer. There is also option to play certain stages of the main game in co op mode. The game also has these unnecessary but quirky extras such as character interview segments, a mode that lets you dress up Starfy using clothing items you purchase and collect (why would anyone want to do that?) and after completing the game you also unlock a boss rush mode. Overall, The Legendary Starfy offers plenty of extras even if most of these are not very exciting.

  
Ice level. check. Creepy clam eyes.check.

Ice level. check. Creepy clam eyes.check.
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The only problem with The Legendary Starfy is that it’s a game made for really young gamers. The game is criminally easy as it literally holds your hand from start to finish and never gives you a challenge. While we enjoyed the variety, the level design is just too straight forward, obvious and plain simple. The enemies barely put up a fight and the boss battles, while fun, are just too easy. Also the game doesn’t make intuitive use of the DS touch screen, as it is simply used to display stats, hints and Moe’s eyes that detect secrets for you. It’s not fair to slam the game for being too easy and simple since it is meant for children but serious platform buffs looking for the same level of challenge found in other DS platformers will be disappointed.

Graphically the game is really pleasant and it features some really lovely, vibrant and colourful 2D graphics. The animations and character sprites look nice and the 3D backdrops look decent enough for this game. The artwork and character designs are nothing very creative but still very imaginative and cute. The music is really uplifting and cheerful, with some catchy and memorable tunes that capture the feel of classic platformers.

At the end of the day, The Legendary Starfy is hardly one of the best platformers you will play but it is a fun and accessible game that aims to make gamers happy by letting them win all the way. The challenge is lacking and level designs are a tad too simple but the gameplay variety, solid length of the main adventure (8-10 hours), secrets and quirky extras makes The Legendary Starfy a entertaining package. Just don’t expect the same level of challenge and quality level design as New Super Mario Bros or the same variety in abilities as Kirby.
The Score
The Legendary Starfy sorely lacks in challenge but it does offer a solid platforming adventure that has plenty of fun moments.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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1 Comment
Pretty much spot on. Very easy game, but like Super Princess Peach it has that Nintendo platforming charm I can't resist. I played a few levels just before going to bed until I finished it and it was a great way to unwind.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  10/10/2009 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $50 AU
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Genre:
  Platform
Year Made:
  2008
Players:
  1

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