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Preview: Sea of Stars Demo [Nintendo Switch]

The Sea of Stars demo already has us hooked with its fun and robust combat, incredible aesthetics, and charming characters.

I’ve been incredibly excited to dive into Sea of Stars, the retro RPG from Sabotage Studio, and thanks to a Nintendo Switch demo, I (and you, as well!) get to have a taste. With an August 29 release date announced at the latest Nintendo Direct, we’ve only got a few of months to go until this brand-new old-school title comes ashore.

Sabotage Studio revealed the free Sea of Stars demo for Nintendo Switch users during the Direct as well. It lasts about an hour and gives you a taste of the world exploration, traversal, and combat systems.

I was pumped beyond belief to finally give Sea of Stars a shot. Now that I’ve completed the demo, I can say that I’m even more hyped for this game than ever. With a few minor bits of fine-tuning, this could be a legendary RPG all on its own.

In a world of stars, you shine the brightest

Pirates
In an adventure with pirates!

Sea of Stars takes place inside the same universe as Sabotage’s previous game, The Messenger. Don’t worry: you don’t need to have played that game to understand this one.

The demo gives you a solid taste of the tone of the story without giving much away. You’ve only got one town, one dungeon, and one little side area to visit; the rest is blocked off by tantalizing “sorry, not in the demo!” barriers that made me extremely curious to revisit them in the full game.

What I can say from the demo is that the world of Sea of Stars already has me hooked. Everything from the characters to the environments to the battle animations are rendered in stunning pixel art, resembling RPGs of old while keeping everything looking modern enough.

The characters I’ve met so far have all been charming and fun to talk to. I wanted more by the end of it all, and it’s clear that the designers had a blast drawing and writing these people. Exploring the world feels like it’s gonna be an incredible time.

Take your turn, choose your attack

Sea of Stars Combat
Old-fashioned turn-based RPG action!

In terms of the combat, the Sea of Stars demo is simple to understand, but complex in its construction. You’ve got standard attacks and skills, but also combo moves, blocking, enemy weaknesses and resistances, and boosted attacks to deal with as well. Aside from maybe a tiny bit of tightening up in the blocking and timed hits, it’s a remarkably robust combat system.

The battles reminded me most of Chrono Trigger and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The former is evident in the use of positions on the battle arena and attack radius as a key consideration, the latter, in the timed hits and Action Commands on specific moves. But Sea of Stars’ combat is unique enough to stand out amongst the crowd.

The enemy locks are the most intriguing aspect, and also the toughest to strategize around. Enemies will sometimes gain locks that correspond to different elements as they charge a powerful attack. Breaking some locks weakens the attack, while breaking them all prevents it from happening entirely. It’s challenging to plan your attacks around these locks, but well worth the effort if you can.

Across the hour of gameplay, you’ll also get to see the game’s traversal system in effect. Your party can leap across gaps, climb up walls, and interact with the environment to solve puzzles or find hidden secrets. It’s all good fun, even if the shadows and dark lighting can sometimes obscure things a bit too much.

Where can I play the Sea of Stars demo?

RPG Exploration
Explore the world of Sea of Stars on Nintendo Switch via the demo right now!

The Sea of Stars demo is available free to all Nintendo Switch owners and can be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop. It doesn’t look like the demo is coming to other platforms right now, although this could change within the next few months.

I highly recommend you give the demo a try. If you can’t, however, Sea of Stars will launch in full on August 29 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, and PC via¬†Steam.

What are your thoughts on the Sea of Stars demo? Let us know!

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
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