Battle for Atlas
StarFox Starlink Battle for Atlas is quite possibly the best 3rd party StarFox game ever created. To sum the game up simply, it’s go anywhere, do anything, total freedom.
Which version to buy?
Before we continue with the superlatives about this wonderful adventure game we need to address the confusion surrounding the different versions available. Firstly there is the standard physical version, which comes with 1 ship 1 pilot (2 on Switch with the addition of StarFox) and two or three weapons.
Next is the standard digital version. This is the same as the physical starter pack, but just takes digital form.
The final version of the game is the deluxe edition. This is also digital but you get all of the ships, weapons and pilots available already loaded into the game.
When the game first launched the digital deluxe version was probably the best value for money. Now that the prices of all of the physical stuff has dropped significantly, we would now recommend buying it physically. Who doesn’t want to play with the toys?!
Atlas – The Final Frontier
The game takes place in the region of space known as Atlas. In Atlas there are 7 planets to explore and recapture. When you start the game on each planet you will come across the Legion. These are the main enemies in game.
The basic enemy structure is as follows: Dreadnoughts place Primes on the planets, Primes create Extractors. Whilst Imp Hives are well, Imp Hives. The way this works is that if you destroy all the Extractors, the Prime on that planet weakens. Defeat all the Primes in a sector and that sector’s Dreadnought weakens.
All the fighting you do is done with your ship, (there is never an opportunity to leave the ship) which on Nintendo Switch is the Arwing! You can have a maximum of two different weapons attached to your ship at once. The types of weapons come in four different flavours. Fire, Ice, Gravity & Kinetic.
Good variety of enemies
As you can imagine when fighting, Fire weapons are effective against Ice enemies and Ice effective against Fire. Kinetic and Gravity weapons also have a similar relationship. There are a variety of types of enemy in the game, from little Imps, to far more demanding Giants as well as the unique bosses, such as Primes and Dreadnoughts.
When first land on a planet it will be completely controlled by the Legion. You job is to take back control. You do this by destroying all of the Imp Hives, Extractors and the Prime. When you destroy the Imp Hives, you can then place a building in it place.
Reconquer those planets!
There are 4 different buildings to chose from; Observatory, Workshop, Refinery, & Armory. The Observatory reveals a section of the planets surface. The Workshop produces ship and weapon mods, these enhance your fighting power. Electrum (the main currency) is produced at the Refinery, whilst the Armory produces little fighter ships which help you defend the planet.
To build all of these structures will require some Electrum and possibly a few Nova. Nova is obtained by taking down Extractors and Prime and plucking their cores from them. Each structure that you create will increase the Alliance percentage on the planet. Once the percentage reaches 100, you will gain a special bonus which will apply throughout the entire system.
Take a break from the fighting
There are plenty of other things you can do on the planet if you fancy a break from the fighting. You can gather all of the local flora and record the details in the ‘Collection’. There are also lots of fauna you can scan and learn more about. You can also upgrade your structures by completing mini-quests.
You will never be short of things to do whilst exploring Atlas.
Visually the game is gorgeous. Whilst it may not look quite as good as it will do on other platforms, on Switch it’s beautiful, the graphics really do pull you into this stellar adventure.
In addition to it looking great, the game also runs as smooth as butter. Not once during our play through did we experience and frame rate hiccups or stumbles of any sort.
Excellent graphical and game-play performance
Whilst playing the game and travelling between the planets or on the planets themselves there are no loading screens at all. Unless you opt to fast travel, you can seamlessly move from one area to the next as and when you please. This in our opinion makes the game such a fun adventure, there are no reins holding you back.
Should you wish to stop exploring a planet and travel into space, you simply point your ship to the sky and fly. It’s as simple as that.
One of the other joys of the physical version, despite having the cool toys to play with, is the games versatility surrounding them, The connectors for the wings and the weapons are exactly the same. This means that should you want to fly around without any wings and have the weapons attached directly to the side of the ship, you’re free to do so.
You can also be as crazy as putting both wings on one side and the game will accept this, albeit with some lopsidedness.
In addition to the main game there is a side quest regarding the recovery of lost data. There are also a few StarFox related missions which are exclusive to the Switch. These are quite fun and include a few different puzzle elements than the main game.
In the recent Nintendo Direct it was announced that more of these exclusive missions are coming soon. These are presumably a reward for how well the game sold on Switch compared to other platforms.
In conclusion Starlink is an excellent free roaming space exploration game. There are so many hours of fun to be had doing nothing but taking in all of the breathtaking environments. That’s despite the very enjoyable combat, including some excellent spacial dog fights. Whilst we were a little disappointed with the final boss (we felt it should have incorporated more of the puzzle elements of the other mini bosses, instead of just shoot and dodge until the end) it doesn’t take away from what is a brilliant adventure.
If you’re yet to pick this one up, we recommend getting the physical starter pack, now it has dropped to such a low price.