Game Review: Inside a Star-filled Sky

Is this new Indie game fun or monotonous?

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Inside a Star-Filled Sky, developed entirely by Jason Rohrer, is a new, indie tactical shooter and dungeon crawler. Currently available for download on Rohrer’s site ( as well as on Steam, the game utilizes the concept of infinity to create a complex and addicting score system. The gameplay is unique, where the player must collect power-ups not for himself on this level but for whatever he is inside – most of the time himself. The player gains points by going further and further “outside”, into larger and larger forms of himself. He can also go inside himself, enemies, and power-ups to alter their abilities, too, at the expence of his score.

As the player goes more and more out, the difficulty and complexity increase. Enemies get more bullet combos and default power-ups and power-ups start at a higher level. The default health goes from two extra hits to three. And as if collecting power-ups wasn’t complex enough, one old power-up goes down in level for every layer the player goes out with it.

In spite of this unique gameplay, much of the game is repetitive. The levels are randomly-generated, but even then there are only 4 frameworks the engine chooses from when designing the levels, albeit a large amount of color schemes. There is no plot to the game, and by extension there are no dungeons or quests. Finally, the player’s sprites repeat themselves often, as the engine only has about 6 sprites to choose from, and the power-up types are very limited.

Nevertheless, the repetition is balanced out in the end. The game also includes a flag system, where it connects to a network and inserts “flag spaces” into levels, which the player can put his flag into for others to see – or replace. This creates a nice sense of competition and exploration in the game which would otherwise be absent. Finally, while the types of power-ups is limited, their rank, and combinations, are not. The sense of achievement when working a power-up to a high rank is grandiose and makes the frustrating enemies and monotonous levels worth it. While the enemies are somewhat receptive, they also get access to a plethora of combinations as well as special motion power-ups which the player cannot normally obtain, making many enemies fun and challenging while looking the same as simpler ones. All in all, while some levels are repitive, Inside a Star-Filled Sky is a fun and addicting shooter, and a great way to kill time.

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