Stargazer presents us with the life changing story of Aura, a girl from the stars. Zach a local dreamer, take her in and protect her from the mean curiosity surrounding the event. But Aura is strong and smart enough to start a journey to save the world while finding the truth about herself. To help in this quest we meet new and interesting characters. Aura brings back the magic to a world who lost its sparkle of fantasy, and while she doesn't remember where she came from, friendship will make her feel right at home!
If there is something that I appreciate in an RPG Maker game is the storytelling, and I'm not disappointed. Of course the game takes influences from other works, but it still provides to deliver new things and fresh dialogues. It's far from dull and boring, all our friends have a very distinct personality that shines in charismatic situations, with plenty of humor.
John Wizard, the developer, did a fantastic job creating a game with the ability to keep one playing just for the storyline. But that's not the only reason why you should play Stargazer! When using this game engine, design is extremely important, and in this case, it's spot-on.
Characters are exclusive designs, not the free art assets that are available from RPG Maker, giving a whole new spirit to the works. The same goes with pretty much everything else.
I felt some areas were just too big and wide. Any player will easily feel lost without a map. Frequently I was just wishing just for that, a map to make things easier. Although once you go through every and each area, everything becomes easier, like everything in life. Nonetheless, large and small areas are detailed alike, never giving a feeling of emptiness or wasted space. Overall the design is very well organized, with a great choice of colours to go with.
Each place is strictly distinct, from very bright cities to gloomy woods, the game gives the right moods thanks to the amazing atmosphere portrayed by the level construction and object placement. Feels completed, but not overwhelmed. Some major details were given to the scenarios, with all sorts of materials, and I really appreciate it. It's a major asset to anyone using RPG Maker! To focus on such a thing, shows a tremendous passion for the creative team.
Creativity comes in many forms, and one of them is the ability to make interesting quests, that are both amusing, unexpected, and not repetitive. I won't dare to go into any sort of detail to avoid spoilers, but rare are the games who create quests as fun as Stargazer.
Stargazer uses classic battle systems with EXP points to be earned and skills to unlock. As part of the plot, Aura discovers several meteors scattered around the world, which she can use to unlock new abilities, or improve ones previously unlocked. These are her main magic abilities, and defines the path to take, not story-wise, but how powerful Aura can become! As for every other character, they can use standard weapons and improve their base abilities, and in some special cases, gadgets can be used to further make encounters much more random.
Stargazer doesn't push the farming too hard, and most of the times I was fighting for gold and not EXP. The game gives the players the choice from Easy - Normal and Hard. Nothing much changes if you have gold enough to upgrade armour and weapons, but it's still challenging if you're in the mood for it.
Fighting monsters and beasts are not the only way to progress though, as puzzles are also available, and some are actually quite difficult and well designed. Moving rocks, jumping on mushrooms, it's all there waiting for your skills.
Stargazer is a very friendly RPG filled with humour and great emotions to explore with a pleasant soundtrack to go with. Each scene is appropriately accompanied with your typical RPG wave of classic, thrilled and sometimes even emotional tracks.
Not a game to take extremely seriously, although there are still important issues at hand, such love and friendship. Not every RPG can make you feel involved as a part of the gang, and I'm glad had the chance to discover this small, but amazing world.