In Starlit Adventures, however, everything is peaches, cream, and cotton candy. It’s a jolly action / puzzle game full of fun power-ups, cute enemies, and satisfying gameplay that prompts you to dig tunnels through dirt, sand, and snow. In fact, there’s just one significant problem with Starlit Adventures: The free-to-play formula really doesn’t suit its style of gameplay.
The action in Starlit Adventures takes place in levels built around digging. A monster named Nuru stole all the stars from the sky and stuffed them underground. The aforementioned Kikki and his rider, a boy named Bo, must plunge into the planet’s depths and retrieve them.
Each level is vaguely maze-like, and filled with enemies, hazards, and blocks of varying material. Some of this material is soft and delightfully dig-able, like dirt and snow. This stuff is easily bypassed by pressing against it and letting Kikki go to town with his big claws.
Other materials are harder to dig through, including ice, rocks, and metal blocks. You must find alternate ways to deal with these, which can involve pushing them around, or even letting enemies indirectly break or dispose of them.
The controls in Starlit Adventures admittedly take some getting used to. The directional arrows are at the bottom of the screen, and actions are performed by tapping any region above said directional arrows. As a result, it’s quite easy to launch an ill-timed attack when you meant to move. Make sure to pay attention to where you park your fingers.
As you slither around, you collect treasure (for points), stars (three in each level), and even packs of stickers that you can use to fill out an album for additional experience points. As everyone from the age of three through 103 knows, collecting stickers rules.
Even though Starlit Adventures gives you a lot of enemies to outgun and a lot of stuff to collect, it’s a pretty relaxing game. Each maze has multiple paths to the exit, so if you don’t feel like solving some water-based mini-puzzle that provides you with an extra star, you don’t really have to (though you do need a certain amount of stars to unlock new worlds). You can just concentrate on the sheer fun of digging and taking down foes.
Starlit Adventures feels good to play. Its combination of digging, fighting, exploring, and collecting packs a lot of action into its small levels. It’s too bad the experience gets dinged up a bit by the game’s free-to-play trappings.
Some of the panhandling is harmless enough, like a fee for non-essential suits. But there’s also a life system that depletes every time you die and retry a level. Quitting a level or restarting it eats up a life, too. Honestly, the free-to-play “life system” is an ill fit for such a cute and clever action / puzzle game.
The pitches for in-app purchases are kind of eye-rolling, too. On occasion, an icon flies across the screen, and when you tap it, you think you’ll receive a reward for being observant. You get a reward, all right: A discount on a token pack! It’s a one-time offer! Hurry, hurry!
Game: Starlit Adventures | Free | Universal app | Download