With a bit more polish, Asterigos: Curse of the Stars could have been a bit of a gem.
When Hilda’s father left with a squad of Northwind Legion soldiers to investigate the city of Aphes, she never would have thought that he wouldn’t return. But enough time has passed that she’s become worried, and being a skilled warrior herself, her mind is made up: she’s going to go look for him. Arriving at Aphes, however, she soon becomes embroiled in events that are much more grave.
An action RPG at its core, the world of Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is very much inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. And so whether you’re exploring its ornate temples or dark and dingy sewers, you’ll encounter enemies such as minotaurs and harpies, as well as others more unique to this fantasy world. And your adversaries should be feared, especially when encountered in numbers: Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is open about its Soulslike influences, after all.
Many of the typical Soulslikes elements are here. Die, for example, and you’ll be taken back to your last resting point, which, coincidentally, respawn the enemies in the area when used. Some of your hard earned currency may be forfeit, too. Thankfully though, Asterigos: Curse of the Stars gives you the choice of multiple difficulty levels when you start. And you’re welcome to change it whenever you want. While it’s never an absolute cakewalk, then, it can be dramatically easier than most Soulslikes out there.
The most welcome gameplay element that Asterigos: Curse of the Stars has pilfered from the Soulslike genre is that of creating new shortcuts as you play, making exploring Aphes much more manageable. Without a map, however, you might still have trouble at times. Accepting a quest from the shelter which acts as a hub, you’ll possibly be given a destination but might have no idea how to get there. Cue frustration as you wander though areas you’ve already travelled, searching for a new path that may lead to where you need to go.
It’s hard to work out whether Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is intentionally vague at times, or if it’s just a part of its general rough-around-the-edges nature. As you play, chances are you’ll be struck by numerous quirks that demonstrate this isn’t a high budget affair. Some things like poor translation might just irk you, but others, like enemies animating at a reduced rate until you get relatively close, will just make you believe that the game is a tad unfinished.
Related: Games Like Dark Souls on PS4
Playing on PS5, what’s perhaps troubled us the most is the game’s audio balancing, which is atrocious. Initially we could hardly hear the voice acting over the music, and even after tweaking the in-game sliders it’s hard to find a balance that’s truly pleasing. Although you’re not really missing much: the voice acting is ho-hum, and much of the dialogue isn’t voiced anyway.
Get stuck into Asterigos: Curse of the Stars, and you can have a fairly good time when you’re not getting lost. You’re given a range of weapons from the outset, and you’re free to equip any two of them that you like. It leads to combat that’s fun, fast and frenetic, though perhaps repetitive at times. As you level up, you’ll acquire attribute and talent points to allocate too. Before you know it, Hilda is stronger, sturdier, and has a range of skills at her disposal. There’s an interesting perk system, too, with each bonus also having a drawback to be considered.
If you’re in the mood to get stuck into a meaty action RPG and don’t mind the lack of polish, Asterigos: Curse of the Stars might be worth checking out. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but it’s entertaining enough for the most part.
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC