Blast Off With Starr Mazer DSP’s Retro-Flavored Trailer

What’s better than a point-and-click adventure game with retro-inspired pixel art, a hero named Brick M. Stonewood, and the quote “truth spilled out at 60 km/s from the barrel of a gun?” Not a lot, if I’m being honest.

There is one thing, though: A roguelike shmup called Starr Mazer: DSP [official site]. Fast, furious and chock-full of ultra-sexy retro graphics, it’s one heaping helping of throwback goodness. It also happens to be a prequel to Starr Mazer, the hybrid adventure game and shmup referenced above. Yeah, those things exist.

Starr Mazer: DSP is a little different, though. Each time you load up for a new runthrough, you’ll hire a handful of pilots for a unique squadron of ships. Use up all of your “lives,” so to speak, and then hire a whole new one! Budget well by reaping the benefits each time your squadron bites the dust and eventually you’ll have a set of powerful heroes by the end. Their lives are expendable. You having a good time isn’t. That should be the tagline for a movie if it isn’t already.

The Early Access version includes three complete levels, two work-in-progress levels, and will eventually span three story acts. It looks worth jumping into right now though, if only to see if you dig the sense of progression it seems to be offering. Also, it just has a cool name: Starr Mazer. Sounds like it should be part of the Terran Trade Authority book series, right?

Starr Mazer: DSP is out on Windows, Mac, and Linux through Steam Early Access for £6.99/9,99€/$9.99. Here’s the launch trailer:


  1. michael.neirinckx says:

    I haven’t tried this or Star Mazer. I enjoy shmups and roguelikes both. I’m not sure what the roguelike formula could bring to shmups? The gameplay loop in shmups in general comes from repeated plays, further memorization, further tuning of skills similar to a roguelike. Starting off ‘weak’ and getting more powers through repeated plays only renders the standard in shmups of starting a level weak and getting mid-level power ups useless. Even worse it ends up being that would once take some skill in playing through the level and getting stronger will now have to wait till multiple playthroughs?

    I guess the only thing it could bring is randomization elements, such as random levels, random power ups, and random ships to control. Which I guess could be cool. Like The Binding of Isaac meets a shmup.

    • clippa says:

      You can discount the whole procedural generation thing, for the moment, it’s the same every time you play, the changes are only visual and slight.
      Slight changes in enemy formations and you start with a different ship each time with different weapons, but that’s about it. The levels are the same every time.

      However, one of the devs said recently:
      “with each major update we will adding more variation to each level, enemy formations, player ships, and everything else!”

      You’re right about the whole “getting more powerful pilots/ships” for your next playthrough being a bit useless. Playing a shmup, the whole idea is to 1cc the game and beat your highscore.
      Giving yourself an unfair advantage isn’t what you want to be doing but I’m guessing that it’s there to ease people in gently and maybe there’ll be achievements for completing the game with the bog standard ships in order to give players the idea that that’s what they should be aiming for.

      It’s still very much a work in progress but what I’ve played so far has been really good fun.
      Act 1 is done and is good. Act 2 is pony, you spend a lot of time dodging unchinable enemies which is just no fun, everything seems like a placeholder and half finished. With a bit of luck, they’ll scrap a lot of that.

  2. thelastpointer says:

    I’m very excited for Starr Mazer, but I still haven’t finished Hydorah so I think I’ll skip this one.