Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Game Poster Image
Epic space voyage with a potentially large price tag.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game features strong themes of friendship, teamwork, and overcoming adversity. There’s also a lot of focus on exploration and helping others. Players are encouraged to fully explore their environments for knowledge and resources, while assisting others to build camaraderie with each planet’s community.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The members of the Starlink Initiative are a diverse group of characters, from a heavy metal mechanic to an Old West style gunslinger to the lone member of a mysterious alien race. They have their own distinct personalities, but they also interact together like family. They have close ties to each other and they all believe in their mission, while never hesitating to lend a hand to others when needed.

Ease of Play

At first blush, Starlink: Battle for Atlas might seem like a basic space shooter, but there’s a whole lot more to it. On the surface of planets, players explore, collect resources, scan wildlife, and gather intelligence, all while completing other missions. Smoothly transitioning between surface and space battles is almost flawless. But swapping out equipment, ships, and pilots on the fly, creates a near limitless variety of options to tweak and change as needed.

Violence

There’s no shortage of action, from blasting robotic enemies on a planet’s surface to dogfighting in deep space. The weapon swapping also means there’s all kinds of ways to defeat enemies, whether it’s roasting them with a flamethrower, freezing them solid with an ice beam, or blowing them away with lasers. Despite all the action, though, it’s all about flashy fireworks and big explosions. There’s no blood or gore at all.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Starlink: Battle for Atlas has a heavy focus on purchasing extras for the game. The physical starter alone is pricey, but add the cost of extra ships, weapon packs, pilots, etc., and the cost starts to soar. Unlike most games in the genre, though, players can buy digital versions of the toys, including a digital deluxe package that includes digital versions of all the individual components, priced just five dollars more than the physical starter.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a sci-fi action/adventure game for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. The game's part of the “toys-to-life” genre, meaning players can buy physical toys that interact with the gaming experience. Players can swap out pilots, ships, and weapons on the physical toys on the fly to change in the game as well. There's also an option to purchase the additional content digitally without requiring the use of the toys. Controls are relatively easy to pick up and play, though there's a lot of interaction with in-game menus when trading out pilots and equipment. Although there's a lot of combat in the game, the violence isn't graphic. Instead, robotic enemies and ships are defeated in flashy explosions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17 and 18+ year old Written bynuenjins November 9, 2018

Overall good game bogged down by some tedium and "toy" integration.

First, to be clear, you can buy 'digital' download editions of the game from your perspective consoles online store without paying for the physical co... Continue reading

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What's it about?

STARLINK: BATTLE FOR ATLAS takes place in a future where humanity has set a course to explore the stars, courtesy of the Starlink Initiative and the crew of the starship Equinox. Led by astrophysicist Victor St. Grand, the Initiative is made up of an odd group of elite pilots and specialists. The purpose of the Starlink Initiative isn't only to map the uncharted regions of space, but also investigate an ancient alien race that vanished mysteriously, leaving behind relics that contain powerful technological advances. During one research mission, the Equinox is attacked by a group of alien fanatics known as the Forgotten Legion, with St. Grand taken prisoner. Stranded in the Atlas star system, it’s up to the rest of the Equinox crew to gather resources, build alliances, and investigate their surroundings, as they try to find the Forgotten Legion and stop its dark plans for good. It’s a daunting task, but with the unique Starlink technology at their disposal giving them the ability to instantly swap between pilots, weapons, and even ships, the Equinox crew might just find a way to rescue their leader and save the universe while they’re at it.

Is it any good?

The epic space journey that you experience is incredible, but it comes with a large price tag attached to all of the toys and additional ships for the game. Make no mistake, Starlink: Battle for Atlas isn’t just some way to sell a few cool toys. It’s a full featured sci-fi adventure that’s an absolute blast to play. Over the course of the game, players travel between the seven different worlds of the Atlas system and the vastness of space between them. Each planet feels alive, with lots to explore and discover. And the seamless transition from a planet’s surface to space and back again helps to make the whole thing feel truly epic in scale. The story's entertaining with a diverse group of misfits and the nostalgic feel of an ‘80s cartoon series. It’s just plain fun from start to finish and well worth the price of admission.

Which brings us to the plastic, modular elephant in the room: the toys. By attaching a pilot, ship, and weapons to a special controller mount, players bring the Starlink toys to life in the game. Pieces can be switched out on the fly in any number of configurations to suit the challenges of the game. Of course, there’s a lot of Starlink toys out there to buy, and it’s easy to imagine the overall cost skyrocketing (which it absolutely can). But Ubisoft seems to have learned from the mistakes of other toys-to-life games. For starters, the entire experience can be played with just a starter pack. There are no stages locked behind having to own a specific toy. The other pieces simply add different abilities to the player’s arsenal. Plus, there are options to purchase digital versions of the accessories. In fact, the Digital Deluxe Edition of the game only costs a few dollars more than the physical starter, and includes all of the pilots, ships, and weapons currently available (excluding a couple of retail exclusive repaints). Regardless of how you decide to play, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is still an imaginative trip through a sci-fi playground, and hopefully just the start for this fun and engaging franchise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about marketing products to kids. How do things like interactive toys, downloadable content, and microtransactions add to the overall cost of a game? What are some ways to plan for these additional costs?

  • How do customization options in games make for a more personal connection to the game? How can games stoke the imagination and bring out more creativity in kids?

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