StarCrawlers Trailer Has Turn-Based Spaceship Crawling

StarCrawlers is Legend of Grimrock in a spaceship: a first-person, grid-based, procedurally generated party-RPG with turn-based combat against robotic enemies onboard derelict spaceships, interspersed with choose-your-own-adventure plot progression and environment puzzles. *gaaaaasp* Sorry, that was a lot of adjectives.

When I last wrote about it, it was halfway towards a Kickstarter goal it would eventually almost double. Now there’s a new trailer below, released ahead of the game’s showing at PAX, and it beats through all the adjectives I just listed above only with pictures. Moving pictures.

I’ve realised recently how much I like the rhythm of turn-based tactics games – XCOM, et al. – and how much of the appeal for me is the chance to spend time with a cast of characters who seem like friends, hang out together, and change over the course of the game. The trailer above gives me warm-feelings in my stomach, and flavour-text like “Their master defeated, the DogBots are enraged!” is only helping.

StarCrawlers is aiming to enter Early Access in November, and there’s more detail waiting for your eyes at the game’s site.

30 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Dungeon Master-esque movement and combat plus CYOA-esque sections?

    All they need is an overworld map and they can follow in the glorious legacy of the Realms of Arkania series…

    • Taidan says:

      It looks almost exactly like a sci-fi take on the classic Nintendo DS “Etrian Odyssey” series.

      If you have the means but haven’t tried them yet, I’d highly recommend them.

      • frightlever says:

        I have an old DS XL with which I have been playing through Pokemon Pearl at a rate of about half an hours play per six months or so. I went to Amazon to see if they had an EO cartridge. So apparently there’s no budget label for old Nintendo DS stuff. Yikes.

        • Janichsan says:

          There is, but the Etrian Odyssey titles only got a relatively limited release in the west. The few copies are hard to come by and expensive.

          • RedViv says:

            It’s always so odd to me, realising that games which are essentially a re-export of very Western RPGs, plain old Wizardry-style, are never actually getting a big enough audience outside to warrant continuous support with new translated titles.
            Several dozen Wizardry-likes released in Japan since VIII came out, yet only very few ever saw any sort of release abroad, and they never were very successful.

            I shouldn’t really utter this word any more. Lest we actually summon Wizardry. Oh no.

        • Moraven says:

          EO 1 has been re-released and updated to 3DS as Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl
          link to en.wikipedia.org

          They added a story mode with a set party and named characters, but it can be ignored and you can play create a party with all the new features from EO4. (I own all EO games, only beaten original 1 so far).

          Atlus has been putting their digital versions on sale every 2-3 months. I know right now on the NA eShop Untold is $15 on sale.

          Then there is Persona Q out soon this fall. Persona 3 & 4 crossover in the EO style of game.

          • Moraven says:

            EO 2 is also getting an Untold remake to the EO4 features and engine.

        • Chuckaluphagus says:

          Try and track down a used copy for cheap – Etrian Odyssey really is a fantastic homage to the grid-based dungeon crawlers we all played 25 years ago. The developers know their target market and did not compromise a whit.

          Also, beware the Ragelope.

  2. tacobellkiller says:

    Just want to point out that Legend of Grimrock is not turn based, its real time, kinda means this game’s basic combat system is nothing like Grimrock’s fairly lame grid dancing style, I wasn’t a fan. This looks more like a Sci-fi Might and Magic, much more interesting to me anyway.

    • Moraven says:

      While more similar to might and magic, the battles are random encounters typical of JPGs with turn based combat. (not as familiar with the older M&M). M&M always had the creatures on the world and at least with X, you had limited movement if nothing was in melee.

      I guess once you were in melee, it was basically the same turn based combat.

      • tacobellkiller says:

        I didn’t even notice that, lol. I guess that makes it more like Wizardry than Might and Magic, except with individual party member initiative. Not that that is a problem for me, I love both titles and the whole first person, party and turn based rpg genre.

      • Premium User Badge

        Waltorious says:

        Might and Magic did not always have monsters on the map. The first two games had a separate, text-based combat screen, with encounters occurring randomly in many cases, although certain spaces on the maps had guaranteed encounters. But even for the guaranteed encounters you couldn’t see the enemies beforehand, so the encounters were often surprises.

        From Might and Magic 3 onward, enemies were visible from the main map screen and the party battled them right on the map without a separate combat screen.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, Grimrock’s real-time combat was faithful to the Dungeon Master legacy it was invoking but fatal to any real interest I had in it. Real-time combat is tolerable with a single personal avatar character, or with a group if and only if it’s extensively pausable. And even then, it’s not ideal.

  3. Casimir's Blake says:

    While it’s certainly pleasing to see another “dungeon crawler” – the genre is unfairly mostly forgotten – I despair at their choice to stick with grid-based movement AND turn-based combat.

    Two words: Ultima Underworld. Why is it so difficult to make a game like this? Thank goodness Neurath is making a new one…

    • Lex says:

      But UU ist a whole different type of game as it’s not party based and turn based … only the grid based movement could be changed so it would kind of work like Wizardry 8 where the movement was free but the combat still party and turn based.

      • suibhne says:

        Wizardry 8 combat wasn’t really turn-based, either. It was phase-based. The difference is actually substantial: in phase-based, everyone moves in one action phase after orders are entered, rather than taking turns (the latter word being instrumental to “turn-based” ;) ). Phase-based is sometimes called “simultaneously-executed turn-based” and considered a subset of TB, but most purists don’t regard it as such and there are some fundamental differences worth noting.

        • Tei says:

          * starts summoning spell*
          wizardry, wizardry, wizardry, wizardry,wizardry, wizardry, wizardry, wizardry,wizardry, wizardry, wizardry, wizardry,…
          But is wizardry really a RPG?
          * weird evil dark pink glow blink from the leaks in the ground *
          * a lightning breaks the nights*

  4. Kefren says:

    The character design reminded me of Hired Guns (Amiga) – Cim and Cim-Lite etc. I still love Hired Guns, such a scary atmosphere. I’d love a remake!

    • Lex says:

      I still remember Hired Guns and one of the things I liked about it was the wide range of characters to choose from with different characteristics and abilities. I don’t think SpaceCrawlers character creation (if there is one) will be able to create a similar feel.

    • padger says:

      Zomg Hired Guns! I think there was a retro of it on RPS at some point. Fabulous marvellous thing.

      Edit: ah, just a mention in the link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • JohnH says:

      Oohh yes Hired Guns was epic. But I have to admit this made me want a remake of Captive even more!

  5. Rensje says:

    It certainly looks interesting, but what made Legend of Grimrock so compelling to me were the beautifully handcrafted dungeon floors, filled with excellent puzzles and perilous, trap-filled rooms. The trailer for StarCrawlers touts randomness as one of its biggest features, but I’m not so sure.

  6. slerbal says:

    Mmmm…. just my cup of tea. Looks delicious :)

  7. c-Row says:

    Well, that looks a bit more polished than my own Unity prototype… :-D

    • Moraven says:

      Between this and M&M X, seems Unity does these type of games well enough.

      To bad for the full mod tools in M&M X you need a paid Unity License. Tempting to get that and tweak their game to your liking and own small game or mod.

  8. Tei says:

    I am a fumbling idiot

    I was yesterday I strike out as a option to buy Lords of Xulima because looks like a old game.

    But this thing seems to be the same thing, with science fiction setting, and I am super-hyped by the video. LOVE it.

    Please, send HELP!

  9. suibhne says:

    As tacobellkiller above pointed out, Legend of Grimrock is definitely NOT turn-based. The old Dungeon Master-style combat was never turnbased – it’s very much real-time, but with grid-based movement and actions keyed to a slower time-scale than most real-time action games. In contrast, the KS campaign page suggests that StarCrawlers will be legitimately turn-based.

  10. Moraven says:

    Looks great. Will pick it up at release. Now to finish M&MX…