It’s late to the party, but Starlink: The Battle For Atlas is out now on PC, Ubisoft’s open-world space shooter. Originally part of a Skylanders-style collectable-toys-as-games push by the studio, the little modular spaceships failed to fly off the shelves. Fortunately, Ubisoft have pivoted and relaunched the game today. Console folks get a big free expansion, and we get the shiniest, smoothest version of the game. Today’s PC release includes digital versions of most of the original set of toys baked in. Below, a launch trailer and some thoughts from (blasphemously) playing the Switch version.
Starlink is absolutely, unmistakably a Ubigame. If you’ve played any recent Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed game, its structure is similar. Big open-world maps, outposts full of bad guys, loot, levels, stats and sidequests all over. Unlike those bloodier adventures, this one’s aimed at kids, and consists of about 80% planetary hovertank-style combat against alien robots, and 20% free-flying space dogfights. It’s not bad, but this is more saturday morning cartoon than Battlestar Galactica, and perhaps a bit lightweight (but still tough on higher difficulties) for the Freespace crowd.
The titular Starlink system was the heart of the toy-bound version of the game. You mounted your controller in a special dock, above which sits your chosen spaceship, with a pilot miniature in the cockpit, and your choice of wings and guns attached. You could switch out toy parts mid-fight to match enemy elemental weaknesses or play around with loadouts, and it was pretty fun. The digital version lets you do all that, just not physically, with gear picked from your equipment menu. The basic PC edition comes with four ships, six pilots, and twelve weapons. Basic console versions started you with one pilot, one ship and two guns.
Starlink: Battle For Atlas is out now on Steam and the Ubisoft Store for £34/€40/$60 for the regular edition (containing digital versions of the initial set of toys), or £50/€60/$80 for the Deluxe edition with everything up to the Crimson Moon update, but not the second set of DLC. Perhaps one for the sales, then. Curiously, the PC version is compatible with the toys too, and you can get PS4 and Xbox One controller mounts on the Ubisoft store. The PC version sadly doesn’t get the Star Fox crossover expansion from the Switch version, but everything else is in.