Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is an action role playing game by Acme Gamestudio and published by Tinybuild. It’s marketed as a soulslike where your choices will make a difference. The basic premise follows a young warrior named Hilda as she searches to find out the squadron her father led on an important expedition . Her quest leads to an ancient city that is plagued by a curse and several political factions. Hilda quickly learns that involving herself in these conflicts is the best way to gather information on where to find her people.
The narrative choices you make in Asterigos however are not as existent as described in the game’s marketing. This left a sour taste in my mouth, especially when Hilda gets yelled at by NPCs for non choices. While the game has two endings, the second is essentially the “perfect ending” unlocked by making a few specific dialogue choices throughout the rest of the game. I like plenty of linear games, I don’t like being lied to by the marketing.
The souls-like description of its gameplay however is well warranted; combat is focused on timing and knowing your enemies attack patterns. There is a stark contrast to the gothic foes of dark souls however, with the game being inspired by Greek and Roman myth for their designs. You’ll combat multiple foes such as little racoon monsters, bipedal wolves, Minotaurs, harpies and many more. All with their own behavior that needs to be learned.
Your options to fight these foes come in the form of six upgradable weapons. These include the Sword & Shield, Bracelets,Spear, Hammer, and Daggers. Hilda is able to equip two of these weapons at any time, and they all operate differently. I recommend experimenting with them during the tutorial level and figure out which combination you like the most. If you’re unable to make up your mind, that’s okay, as you have the ability to change up the selection from the equipment menu at any time.
As you fight and kill enemies, Hilda will gain experience points, which will eventually lead to her gaining a level. Each level gained through increasing higher experience thresholds grants Hilda stat and skill points. Stat points buying increases to your choice of three basic parameters; skill points buying your choice of stars on the skill tree. This skill tree is arranged into six branches, with each corresponding to one of the different weapons.
How you progress through this tree has a big impact on your play through. I learned this the hard way, spending all my early level points for the bonuses within the centre of the tree. The result of this was that I lacked the more powerful abilities of my chosen weapons. With each level requiring more experience, it’s better to unlock certain abilities, such as the ability to use your shield while moving or the ability to use your shield as a ranged weapon, early. I got lucky because it is possible to respecialize your selected skills. The item that does so however is only accessible a handful of times prior to the end game.
Once unlocked, the abilities of your weapons aid you greatly in combat. The combat is fun and operates as a more floaty version of Dark Souls. In addition to your weapons and the unlocked abilities, there are two types of weapons you can gain. The first are the elemental resins, which add elemental effects to your attacks that also interact with the environment; these being toggleable upgrades that you’ll find as you progress through the game. The second are consumables and throwables of various kinds; in my playthrough I found knives and bombs. My biggest complaint with the combat system is that I never found a way to assign throwables to a button. This forced me to pause the game and to navigate through the equipment menu to use them, and created additional risk due to the nature of unpausing games within a fight.
While questing through the city to find your father, you will see many different environments. Where you are supposed to go however isn’t as obvious as in the Souls games that were its inspiration. I often found myself getting lost or not knowing how to progress due to not seeing the door. It doesn’t make it impossible to play, but it does slow the game down quite a lot.
I’d describe Asterigos as a decent enough Souls-like for those players that want something new. It has charming voice actors that make Hilda feel alive and full of emotion. The downsides of this project truly being the slightly misleading marketing, floatiness of the mechanics and how easy it is to get lost.
In his late twenties, JnAkers resides within the age bracket that grew up in the era before the 00's internet explosion, lived through it's wild wild west days and is now capable of sometimes being confused by the modern time of memes.