Sea of Stars, the pixel RPG inspired by classics of the genre, has launched to rave reviews across the board, with many calling it a worthy successor to titles like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. The game, developed by Sabotage Studio, first caught attention for its intricate art style, which combines retro pixels with flashy modern animation and style, to bring eye-catching landscapes to life.
It’s a gorgeous-looking game – and it appears that beauty goes well beneath the surface. In reviews, the game has been called a ‘love letter’ to RPGs, brimming with fresh ideas and a strong sense of identity. While there are plenty of games that pay homage the past, it appears Sea of Stars has made a strong impression, backing its aspirations with a compelling narrative, rich characters, and intricate worlds.
Here’s the review roundup for Sea of Stars.
IGN – 8/10
Writing for IGN, critic Gabriel Moss wrote of the surprise playing Sea of Stars. While initially, Moss took the game for a generic homage, he believed it did well to turn the tide, quickly establishing itself as a strong and intriguing game with plenty of narrative hooks and unexpected turns.
“Sea of Stars is an excellent tribute RPG that channels the best parts of its ‘90s-era forebears like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, and even Star Ocean: The Second Story,” Moss said. “Because of that, it’s fair to say that its world, graphical style, and mechanics aren’t wholly original, but there are enough interesting twists in its 30-hour story to make for a rich and enjoyable experience of its own merit.”
Press Start – 9/10
Harry Kalogirou of Press Start shared a similar enthusiasm for Sea of Stars, calling it a ‘resonant love letter’ to the seminal RPGs of the 1990s and 2000s. While he acknowledged the game wasn’t perfect, he found the sharp quality of the writing and satisfying story arcs blew any issues out of the water.
“Sea of Stars is simultaneously a love letter and modernisation of the legendary turn-based RPGs of old,” Kalogirou said. “It retains everything that made them such a core part of the industry so many years ago, while poking fun at tropes and conventions in an entertainingly self-aware manner. Much like The Messenger, Sea of Stars is another smash hit from Sabotage Studio, and is undoubtedly one of the best games of this year.”
Eurogamer – 4/5
Over on Eurogamer, writer Kaan Serin also praised Sea of Stars‘ dual devotion to the RPGs of the past, and its insistence on carving out it owns identity. Particular praise was heaped on its dense plotting, which takes the game between “pirate ship comedy, spooky haunted house, epic family-friendly fantasy and, err, space-time-bending cosmic weirdness.”
“The thing that sets this love letter apart, for me, is just how well-read (well-played?) it is,” Serin said. “Sea of Stars rips inspiration from all directions – not just from the obvious Chrono Trigger – tosses those inspirations into a blender, and the resulting cocktail is smart, charming, and constantly surprising. More importantly, the game also never feels derivative, balancing old and new on a knife’s edge.”
GamesRadar – 9/10
Jon Bailes of GamesRadar noted the game’s immense artistic detail in his review, praising its artwork, soundtrack, and location design. While he noted a lack of depth in the game’s turn-based battles and puzzles, these were not enough to dampen the adventure.
“The lack of depth across the mechanical parts of Sea of Stars … eventually come to feel less relevant as another kind of depth emerges,” Bailes said. “This is the depth to which Sabotage has soaked itself in its genre of choice, and the depth of its commitment to the marvellously unexpected that spellbinds not only on the merits of past games but also on the merits of its own art and fiction.”
PC Gamer – 79/100
PC Gamer critic Kerry Brunskill shared overall similar feelings about the game’s lukewarm puzzles and combat, but believed Sea of Stars managed to elevate gameplay on the sheer strength of its world and characters, as well as its sense of pure sincerity.
“Sea of Stars is ‘just’ a breezy adventure in a pleasant land beset with classic RPG problems, knowing better than to stay in one place too long,” Brunskill said. “It never lets its minor irritations grow into something more serious. The game may not reach the highest heights of the ones it draws inspiration from, but by daring to be different from not only the past but a good chunk of the present too, it comes a lot closer than most.”
Sea of Stars launches for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and