Inside a Star-filled Sky Review

Inside a Star-Filled Sky Header

Inside a Star-filled Sky

*Sources of screenshots are listed in their respective file-names.

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Inside a Star-filled Sky is a 2D, randomly generated tactical shooter with a playable world larger than the known universe (you’ll hit this point around level 14).

ISFS Screenshot 2 from Steam Store Page

How is this immense size achieved by a small indie game?
An innovative mechanic allows you to enter an enemy, a power-up or your character at any time by holding the [Shift] key. Each object you enter is a unique playable level and can be modified to suit your purposes. For this reason, the universe of Inside a Star-filled Sky can be considered infinite (the official level limit is 2,147,483,648–you would only reach this point after playing 2043 years non-stop).

ISFS Screenshot 1 from Steam Store Page

You can hold up to three power-ups at a time to battle the increasingly dangerous hordes of cute, bullet-spewing enemies. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you can always enter enemies, power-ups or your character to modify their traits to your advantage.

ISFS Screenshot 3 from Steam Store Page

Power-ups can be combined in various ways to create unique effects. Combining a “mine” power-up with a “burst” power-up will produce a number of bullet-launching mines, etc. Part of the depth of Inside a Star-filled Sky is finding which combinations work best for your play style.

ISFS Screenshot 4 from Steam Store Page

This combination of homing bullets and bullet number/range upgrades produces a curving hail of munitions.

Although the player character is randomly-generated in each level, you are still allowed a measure of personal expression through the games’ “flag” system.

ISFS Screenshot 5 from Steam Store Page

After creating your flag, you will come across “anchors” in the world where you can place your mark. Other players will find your mark and either admire it (if set in a “permanent” anchor) or replace it (if set in a “temporary” anchor).

ISFS Screenshot (1)

I find another players’ temporary mark…

ISFS Screenshot (2)

…and quickly replace it with my own.

This game constantly surprises with the tightness of its design. The experience is focused on giving you a taste of infinity. It creates a framework for players to express themselves through gameplay instead of character creation. Every element of the game seems specifically made purely to enhance that vision.

ISFS Screenshot 6 from Steam Store Page

Conclusion:

Inside a Star-filled Sky fuses a deep 2D tactical shooting system with bright, “bullet-hell” genre standards. The endless playspace gives a large amount of value for your purchase. However, the lack of an explicit end goal or “win” condition may not fit achievement-oriented gamers.

Potential Concerns:

None to my knowledge.

Buy Now! (Steam)

Buy Now! (Direct Download)

*This title was received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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About Nelson

Writer, amateur #gamedev, and Founder o' Video Games and the Bible. My interviews bring the boys to the yard. Featured from Kotaku to Rock Paper Shotgun. Dropsy.
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