Star Shaman is an indie VR first person shooter roguelike from Ikimasho that offers its players a lot of unique style and energy. In the trailer the developer released at launch, we see a woman dancing some crazy moves as she plays through a level in ways that really inspire me – Will I have as good a time as her? Probably not, but I’m going to damn well try!
At its core, Star Shaman plays fairly similar to something like Space Pirate Trainer. For the uninitiated, this means you stand in one spot and are dodging incoming fireballs and missiles and using an arsenal of weapons to shoot down a variety of enemies that come in waves.
There are some pretty big differences here though. In Star Shaman, you’re actually moving between levels – though all start out looking the same at the beginning of the game for reasons that suit the story. The most major mechanical difference in the actual fights is that we have to summon our weapons to use them against enemies while dodging their attacks. This actually added a lot to the gameplay, as the motion of summoning my gun became part of my groove with dodging. I really felt in tune with the music in a way most typical rhythm games don’t give me.
There are more weapons and upgrades that are unlocked by continuing to play the game. You see, Star Shaman is roguelike in the style of FTL where players progress through tiers of battles at set difficulties with some story mixed in, until the next tier unlocks. The game advises us to be careful about going too far, but I’m still a little confused about how the progression works. There are multiple weapons to unlock, but they require us to grind huge amounts of attempts through the game.
It is implied with the fact you are drastically changing the worlds you’ve beat, by growing flowers and rebirthing life, that there will be a wide variety of enemies later down the road in gameplay than I personally reached. At least, I can’t imagine the developer would add all these beautiful effects, levels and creature designs and then not use them for a good fight?
I really do feel enamored with Star Shaman. I feel selfish about this, but I love the mystery of it – it’s not often I find a truly great game that none of my friends are talking about, and it’s up to me(!) to find the answers to the riddles. I should also mention somewhere here that the soundtrack is very much my jam, and I love it.