Crowdfunding Chronicles: Rose of Starcross

Lisa Frank would be proud.

02.28.20 - 6:45 PM

Casting spells on a purple island, in the middle of a purple lake.

Battle scene against three floating skulls and a skeleton.

Campaign Ends: March 6
Platform: Windows and Switch. Stretch goals add PS4.

If the grey February weather has you feeling grumpy, Rose of Starcross is sure to elicit at least one modest smile. Following the adventures of young witch Viscera and her best friend Annie, the game is an adorable open-world RPG set against a stylish pixel graphic backdrop full of neon-pink clouds, sparkling cityscapes, and mischievous, pumpkin-faced demons.

Three centuries ago in the modern fantasy world of Starcross, the villainous Beast set about to destroy human civilization. He was eventually defeated by the Heavenly Queen, though small traces of his magic were left behind. Meanwhile, suffering from her battle wounds, the Queen retreated behind a door safeguarded by a magical sword. Fast-forward to the current day: humans, demons, and beings known as Anims now live together in peace. The Heavenly Queen's sanctuary has become a tourist attraction, and naughty kids occasionally set their sights on trying to remove the protective sword... particularly our heroine.

Expect a journey filled with quirky characters and plenty of secrets, as well as gameplay and visual elements inspired by Earthbound, Zelda, and even Super Mario Bros. You need to make use of both your magical abilities and platforming skills in order to progress through the game's environmental puzzles, though worry not: for those of you as terrible as I am with platforming, the game will feature settings to make exploration friendlier. Throughout your quest you also want to keep your eyes out for "Baby Dungeons"; small areas with unique visuals, mechanics, and rewards, inspired by the many hidden caves and temples found in Zelda games. Meanwhile, the game's deep battle system will involve playing a variety of minigames, paying attention to enemy emotions, and taking care to defend yourself, with rewards based on your overall performance. However, don't expect to level up by grinding; instead you need to collect stat-increasing items throughout the world, in another nod to the Zelda series.

Finally, we can't leave here today without mentioning the game's music. Rose of Starcross began solely as a musical project, and players will be able to enjoy (and maybe even dance to) an extensive soundtrack in the final game. Most of the tunes are a nod to the NES and SNES area, including a healthy amount of catchy electronic sounds, prog, and even some nods to Queen.

All in all, Rose of Starcross really caught my eye with its glittering, neon pink and purple-hued world and charming cast of cute witches, demons, and grinning pumpkin spirits. It reminds me of a 1980s-style vaporwave YouTube video mixed with Persona and Sailor Moon. If none of that happens to appeal to you, then in the immortal words of Earthbound's Porky, "I apologize profusely."

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