Game Reviews

Starborn Anarkist

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Starborn Anarkist

Here are five facts about anarchism:

1. It's a social theory asserting that true freedom for humanity does not exist in a society with an enforced hierarchy. 2. There are many forms of anarchist theory - liberal, fascist, capitalistic, and Marxist - but most are from the core principals of anarchism developed in the 19th Century. 3. Contrary to popular belief, anarchism is largely a non-violent movement. 4. The word "anarchist" is not spelt with a "K". 5. There's only a slight streak of anarchism in Starborn Anarkist, but that's okay because it's still a quite good dual-stick space blast-'em-up. Violent revolution

The story of Starborn Anarkist is anarchic enough, I suppose, which is to say that it's multiple choice and chaotic.

Before you launch your spaceship you get to see a loading screen describing the origins of your character. The story changes each time, but most of them concern a grievance of yours that's fairly trivial in comparison with the destruction you're about to cause in retribution.

Origins include the local law enforcement painting their ships a colour you dislike, and a mosquito keeping you up all night.

Plot isn't central to Starborn Anarkist. The game is much more concerned with shooting things until they are no longer recognisable as the things they once were.

You start with a very small spacecraft, and subsequently unlock new ship design blueprints to stamp your own identiy on. We're not talking minor cosmetic changes, either - you can tweak features like their weapon load-outs and defensive capabilities.

Lasers, machine guns, rockets, spikes, and more are on-hand to fight the "conformist scum" that attempt to stop your rampage, additional engines can be fitted to provide better manoeuvrability, and shields can be improved to withstand the assaults of laser fire that come from boss fights.

You'll need to unlock all of these improvements, of course, and you can only do that by completing the myriad in-game objectives.

Doesn't stick out

The gameplay itself doesn't stray far from the standard dual-stick shooter template. You fly about with the left virtual stick, and shoot in whatever direction you push the right virtual stick. Some weapons will only fire in the direction you've fixed them in the ship configuration screen, and this does add some tactical depth, but otherwise you'll already know exactly what you're in for.

Considering there's so much destruction, and ships are often gigantic, the explosions and gunfire effects aren't impressive in the slightest. Your weapons tend to feel underpowered, and at the beginning of the game it seems as though you can't make any headway. If you persist, though, the unlocks eventually provide plenty of firepower.

It's unfortunate that there's just the one control option, as the floating sticks never feel responsive enough and lead to undeserved deaths. You can overcome this issue, but physical controller, tilt, or fixed sticks options would have done wonders.

This problem is made worse by a camera that never zooms out as far as you'd like, obscuring the position of enemy ships and incoming gunfire.

Starborn Anarkist is a bit flawed, then, but the construction element and compulsive objectives go a long way to resolving its problems. If you can fight against the controls, and you're not too fussed about the so-so visuals, it's worth a look.

Starborn Anarkist

Despite its name, Starborn Anarkist isn't all that different from other dual-stick shooters. It isn't very shocking in any regard, and it won't change anything about any topic it touches. But it's an enjoyable enough shooter
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.