Asterigos: Curse of the Stars
Souls clones are growing like mushrooms and now Elden Ring has even achieved mainstream success, we will only encounter more Soulslikes in the coming years. Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is the debut game from developer Acme Gamestudio and they too are trying to ride on this hype. Although this Soulslike is fairly forgiving, at least more than what you might normally expect from this genre.
In Asterigos we are introduced to Hilda. This young woman is searching for her father, who disappeared without a trace in the cursed city of Aphes. Soon she finds herself in a dirty war between various inhabitants of this once flourishing city. During the adventure you will travel through the various districts of Aphes and will learn more and more about the curse and the influence it has had on the inhabitants. Unfortunately, the story feels a bit detached, which is mainly because the camera often zooms out when Hilda is having important conversations with characters. With its combination of Greek and Roman mythology and graphic style, the game is somewhat reminiscent of Immortals: Fenyx Rising, Already the world looks Asterigos a lot flimsier.
Obviously, you will have to do a lot of fighting and Hilda has at her disposal no less than six weapons: a sword and shield, a spear, daggers, a hammer, magic bracelets and a magic staff. You are completely free to choose two of these six weapons and can even switch during battles. Each weapon has a standard attack and a unique attack. With the sword and shield and spear you can block or parry attacks, with the daggers you have the ability to make a small jump to increase or decrease the distance between you and your enemy, while with the magic bracelets you can lay a mine on the ground. This makes the battles quite fluid and the ability to switch weapons gives you a lot of freedom to discover your own attack style.
As befits a Soulslike, even the simplest of enemies can kill you, so it always remains vigilant. What Asterigos What makes the game unique in this genre is that you have the choice of three different levels of difficulty. Should things get a little too hot for you, you’re free to switch to an easier mode. Enemies do a lot less damage and you no longer use up stamina while attacking, only when dodging. The boss fights in particular are a lot less frustrating and you won’t have to replay the fight countless times before you finally emerge victorious. At the same time, because of this, you could argue that this game detracts from the genre. We would Asterigos: Curse of the Stars therefore, characterize it more as an action-RPG with a lot of Soulslike elements, rather than a pure Souls clone.
Leveling up Hilda earns Attribute Points and Talent Points. With the former, you raise Hilda’s stats, such as her attack power or her overall health. Through the Talent Points you can unlock various augmentations and perks. For example, ducking can cost less stamina and the downed mine via the magic bracelets can cause your enemy to have lower magic resistance. Later, even the attack combinations can be changed. The Perks generally have a so-called ’trade-off’. That is, something is improved or increased, but again at the expense of something else. Take, for example, the Perk ‘Blood for Blood’. The charged attacks of the hammer will do more damage, but you yourself will also take more damage if you perform this unique attack of the hammer. The various skilltrees for the weapons are viewable in their entirety, so you can plan ahead which augmentations and perks you want to have.
All in all Asterigos: Curse of the Stars turned out to be a reasonable debut game. Unfortunately, the storyline is somewhat detached and therefore not very interesting, and the world looks a bit bland. But the freedom in selecting your weapons, and thus your own attack style, makes up for a lot. Because of the choice to apply various difficulty levels, this may not be Soulslike, but it is a game that also gives non-Soulsadepts a chance to get through the game for once without too much frustration.
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars was played for this review on the Xbox Series. The game is additionally available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.