Starseed Pilgrim

Starseed Pilgrim

horsemedic Dec 24, 2013 @ 4:15pm
Why the pointless secrecy about this game's awesomeness?
Like most people who played Starseed Pilgrim, I almost gave up on it due to my initial frustration and confusion over unexplained rules. Then, once I figured out the rules, I almost gave up on it out of boredom because I didn't realize the real goal in each level.

It was only after I figured out the mechanics and goal that I came to love the game —for ~50 hours so far. And my enjoyment has nothing to do with figuring things out myself.

I have no idea why the game's designer decided not to explain its mechanics, or why so many reviewers insist you have to play it blind to get the most out of it. Like chess, it's a game of mastery, not discovery.

My advice if you're not feeling the hype is to go find all the spoilers you can. These do a pretty good job:

Starseed Pilgrim is not an exploration game. It's not a metaphysical experience. It's not an ambient gardening simulator or whatever nonsense they say on RPS. It's an ultra intense roguelike where you build burning bridges out of random junk between flaming stars for miles and miles until you kill yourself at exactly the right moment, then do something even more insane.

It's awesome. It's crazy hard. It deserves better than cryptic articles from reviewers promising you'll love it but refusing to tell you why.
Last edited by horsemedic; Dec 24, 2013 @ 4:45pm
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offalynne Dec 24, 2013 @ 10:08pm 
Hey horsemedic, I agree with you. I think a lot of people have spun a ~little~ bit of mystery about the game into a much bigger deal than it is. A lot of people early on romanticized the lack of signposting, and were impressed with the 'iceberg' nature of the game, and focused their praise on this (including Jon Blow, Chris Bell, etc). That approach has dominated a lot of the dialogue around the game, and it's a bit unforunate.

Droqen: "It's been said, and echoed, that it's a game you have to experience for yourself.
I guess I believe that. :)"

Not quite the same as "insisting you have to play it blind". I agree with you that "like chess, it's a game of mastery, not discovery". Succinctly put! If you poke through the community discussion here on Steam I think you'll find some of the dialogue you're looking for, and here's a post by another designer on the topic:

"my enjoyment has nothing to do with figuring things out myself"

It's interesting that you make this point before mentioning that the game is similar to a roguelike. Roguelikes were the earliest videogames where 'spoilers' were something people talked about; since learning from your own mistakes and building up an understanding of a game's parts and pieces and how they work are an important part of playing many roguelikes (through trial and occasional error), spoilers were considered cheating by some. It's the equivelant of playing games with a walkthrough guide or whatever today.

Just because the game itself isn't full of exposition doesn't mean people shouldn't talk about it, or it's secrets shouldn't be shared. Hopefully those who are frustrated with a lack of direction are able to get the help they need from other players in the community.
horsemedic Dec 25, 2013 @ 1:22am 
Thanks for that link. I wish I'd read that before I started the game, and that more people considering the game could find it.

My disappointment is that one of the best designed games I've ever played missed its potential to become an indie hit due to to misperceptions reinforced by the reviewing community, which ironically was trying to praise it.
Last edited by horsemedic; Dec 25, 2013 @ 1:24am
Hekatonkheires Dec 28, 2013 @ 3:03pm 
I don't understand the mystique behind this game. It is nowhere near as enthralling or unique as many of the reviews I read before buying the game indicated. I understand the goal, but I have no desire to complete the game. I feel it is not a worthwhile use of my time when there are so many other more rewarding games. Grinding seeds to finish each level and read more doggerel poetry is a pretty underwhelming result, given the expectations that were built up about this.
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