PC Games Reviews

Sea of Stars Game Review: A Nostalgic Retro RPG Experience

Sea of Stars is a charming retro-inspired role-playing game developed by the indie studio Sabotage Studio. Released on August 29, 2023 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows, this pixel art RPG evokes the nostalgic feeling of classic ’90s era role-playing games.

Nostalgic retro RPGEvokes feelings of classic 16-bit RPGs with pixel art and music
Positive reviewsCritics praise its ability to capture the spirit of old RPGs
Turn-based battlesCombat requires analyzing enemy weaknesses
Platforming elementsExploration incorporates jumping, climbing, swimming
Homage to classicsPays tribute to games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI
Unique lock mechanicsReacting to enemy attack patterns is a key strategy
Accessible gameplayQuality-of-life improvements make it welcoming to modern gamers
Engaging storyFeatures endearing characters and surprising plot twists
Free on Xbox Game PassProvides easy access to experience the retro journey

Gameplay and Visuals

The gameplay of Sea of Stars centers around turn-based battles and exploration, with some platforming elements thrown in. The combat requires tactical decisions, as you analyze enemy weaknesses and time your attacks and blocks for extra damage and mitigation.

Visually, the game features gorgeous pixel art with fluid character animations and evocative environments. The art style captures the essence of retro RPGs, while adding modern touches and quality.

The soundtrack also contributes to the nostalgic atmosphere, with compositions by famed Yasunori Mitsuda and Rainbowdragoneyes. Their music transports players back to the golden age of 16-bit RPGs.

Reviews and Ratings

Sea of Stars has received generally positive reviews praising its ability to capture the spirit of classic RPGs.

Prominent gaming site IGN gave the game an 8/10 rating. They lauded it as an “excellent tribute RPG” that “channels the best parts of its ’90s-era forebears.”

Meanwhile, PC Gamer provided a 79% rating. They acknowledged some classic RPG problems in the story and gameplay, but ultimately called the game “a breezy adventure in a pleasant land.”

Additionally, Game Rant published a glowing review. They emphasized the “enjoyable RPG experience” and highlighted the skillful implementation across areas like combat, gameplay, graphics, and music.

Player Feedback and Audience Reviews

Glancing at audience reviews reveals enthusiasm for Sea of Stars’ ability to capture the essence of the genre. Many express fond memories of RPGs in the 16-bit era and satisfaction from the game’s quality.

One player even stated that Sea of Stars is “quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite RPGs.” This sentiment is echoed by others who found the experience incredibly fun and engaging.

The fact that Sea of Stars is available for free on Xbox Game Pass has also earned praise. This provides easy access for many players to experience the charming retro journey.

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Video Reviews and Impressions

In addition to written reviews, there are video reviews and impressions available from enthusiasts on YouTube and other platforms. These often highlight strengths like the fluid pixel art, stellar music, and engaging turn-based battles.

Popular YouTube reviewer Cije called the art style “stunning” and emphasized the nostalgic feel from the very first moment. They also discussed small quality-of-life enhancements that improve accessibility for modern audiences.

Overall, most video reviews echo the sentimental retro feeling that Sea of Stars so effectively channels for lovers of classic RPG storytelling and gameplay.

Sea of Stars Plot and Story

Sea of Stars centers around two Children of the Solstice, Zale and Valere, who are gifted powers from the sun and moon. They set out on an adventure to defeat the evil Fleshmancer who threatens their world.

The story features several twists and turns that elevate it beyond standard RPG tropes. And the writing develops an endearing cast of characters that bring humor and surprise to the journey.

Sea of Stars Image

Comparison to Classic RPGs

In many ways, Sea of Stars stands as a love letter to seminal RPGs of the past. The seamless turn-based battles and pixelated graphics pay homage to classics like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI.

Yet the game also avoids feeling like a copy, thanks to unique mechanics like the lock system that requires analyzing and reacting to enemy attack patterns. This blends the comforting familiarity that retro fans desire with enough fresh ideas to make the experience Sea of Stars’ own.

Ultimately, the game excels at kindling that nostalgic fire, bringing modern polish to the 16-bit RPG formula. The whole journey feels both sentimental and new.

Metacritic and User Reception

On the review aggregate site Metacritic, Sea of Stars holds a 78 average rating based on 46 critic reviews. This indicates generally positive reception.

User scores are similarly enthusiastic. Currently the game has a user score of 8.3, with many praising its charm and abilities as a “love letter to RPG classics.”

Overall, both professional critics and gamers themselves have embraced Sea of Stars as a quality retro RPG homage. For players craving the style of Squaresoft’s glory days, it provides a sweet dose of nostalgia.


With its fluid pixel art visuals, stellar soundtrack, and engaging gameplay, Sea of Stars succeeds at recapturing the magic of classic 16-bit RPGs. Both critics and audiences praise its ability to deliver an authentic retro experience while telling its own unique story. Despite some minor flaws, the game stands as a quality tribute that brings together the best qualities of the past and present. For RPG fans pining for the Super Nintendo era, Sea of Stars is an excellent choice that manages to feel both comfortably familiar and refreshingly original at once.

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