Star Child Hands-On Preview – A Charming Platformer

One of the most charming things I encountered during my time at the PlayStation VR Showcase had to be Star Child with its extremely short, but equally wonderful, demo.

Unless you were prone to milking the absolute most out of the surroundings and exploring to the nth degree, the small slice of Star Child clocked in at probably five minutes. The brief serving introduces us to Spectra whose assignment on an alien world takes a wild turn as she meets a towering sentinel that saves her from a dreadful fate. It all happens so quickly but its brief safeguarding of Spectra gave me The Last Guardian or The Iron Giant vibes, so needless to say I’m attached and God damn these developers if they kill off my brand new friend at the end of this game. Seriously, don’t do it.Star Child capitalises on two things. To use their words, they’ve opted for the elegant simplicity of traditional platforming. Given Playful’s deftness at executing clean platforming, as evidenced by Super Lucky’s Tale, it’s a no-brainer they’d rest on their laurels somewhat.

My short time had me doing exactly three things. Running left, running right and taking control of a spherical entity to complete simple connect the dots tasks that kept me, as Spectra, pushing onward. It’s after the second of these puzzles that we’re introduced to our giant saviour, who uses its thumping arm to wall us off from the nightmare fuel robot scorpion, uh, thing that pursues us. Like most in the genre, it’s very intuitive and requires little to no prompting which allowed Playful keep the screen clear of any heads-up interface and focus on their other strength.

This other strength of Star Child’s is its stunning visuals. Star Child is the first game on PlayStation VR I’ve personally played that has taken me out of that first-person perspective and installed me as a voyeur to the proceedings at large. I know Moss sort of did this to stunning effect, but Star Child’s soft, charming aesthetic made my demo — all five minutes of it — particularly disarming and memorable.

Given the tiny portion of the game on-show, I did have questions as to how far along development was but unfortunately, the Playful team weren’t present. I sincerely hope that Star Child manages to make a 2018 window because it’s a beautiful looking game that could not only bolster the PlayStation VR roster but shoulder a lot of the load.

BRODIE FLEW TO LONDON AS A GUEST OF PLAYSTATION FOR THE PLAYSTATION VR SHOWCASE. STAR CHILD IS DUE FOR RELEASE ON PLAYSTATION VR.
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