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The Starship Damrey Reviewed by Tom Lenting on . The Starship Damrey is a good example of what not to do when making an interactive novel. The interesting story is marred by simplistic puzzles and a painfully short run time. This is not one of Level 5's best. Rating: 30%
The Starship Damrey
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  • Review Score:

  • D+
What Is It? In the trailer for The Starship Damrey, the Japanese developers tell us that they wanted to "create an adventure game that evoked nostalgia and felt a bit retro, but is brand new at the same time." So what we got is an adventure game that has the graphics of a CD-ROM game from the 1990s (just without the badly integrated QuickTime animations) and a storyline that has the same premise as most adventure games of the 2000s: you awake with amnesia, find out what happened! This time you awake in a spaceship and control a slow-moving robot (in first person view) to check the place out. This Starship Damrey turns out to be a very badly lighted, dark place -- in which something mysterious has happened.

The Starship Damrey (Nintendo 3DS)

Is It Fun? The Starship Damrey manages to create a mysterious, spooky and intriguing atmosphere. That's quite an achievement, since there isn't much going on. The graphics are average at best and the audio is reduced to a bare minimum. However, the game has two real problems. First of all, it's way too short. Once you figured out what actually has been going on, you get a nice final twist in the storyline and it's over -- in a very short playtime. Second, the puzzles aren't very good. Often, once you stumble upon them, you'll find out you need an object to solve it. An object you saw at the other end of the starship. So, you can backtrack, fetch the object, go back to the puzzle and it's solved. Worse, you can only carry one object at the time.

In one puzzle you have to fetch three objects out of the same room -- there's no other way of doing this than walking all the way down and back through the spaceship three times. That's what I call bad game design. However, it's possible to get stuck. Not because the puzzles are too hard, but because you missed a corner with a crucial item or element in the dark environments, what's much more frustrating than a hard puzzle. Nonetheless, the game is intriguing enough to play all the way through, but the feeling remains that with a bit more effort the game could have been so much better.

The Starship Damrey (Nintendo 3DS)

Is It Worth the Money? Many Nintendo 3DS owners are craving a good, old-fashioned adventure games on their beloved handheld. In fact, they are so longing for them, they will swallow almost anything. Even massive amounts of redundant text (as in Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward) or childish characters (as in Professor Layton & the Miracle Mask) are taken for granted, as long as the game has some good puzzles. The Starship Damrey lacks massive amounts of dialogue and hasn't a childish storyline -- which is good. However, it also lacks the ingenious puzzles of Zero Escape and Professor Layton and offers a lot less content. The puzzles are easy and a bit boring and the game can be finished within two hours and it's not likely you will play it again. That's very limited content for a price of $8.99 (800 points). Overall, it's a very average adventure game that's overpriced and that makes it hard to recommend, even if you've starving for a new adventure on your 3DS.
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