We blast off and go hands-on with Starlink: Battle for Atlas

The news that Star Fox will be a playable character in the Nintendo Switch version of Starlink: Battle for Atlas was one of the early surprises of E3 2018. We couldn’t wait to hop into the pilot’s seat and take Fox for a spin, but it turned out that our preview would be with the Xbox One version of the game, so Star Fox was nowhere to be found. It’s ok, I did a barrel roll or five anyway.

You begin your game by selecting your ship, pilot, and wing-mounted weapons. While your selections appear in real time on the screen, these selections are made by adding or removing parts of colorful, miniature toys, which are mounted on top of your controller. A starter set comes with the game itself, and you can buy additional packs which come with different ships, pilots, and a whole array of different weaponry, ranging from flamethrowers, to ice cannons, to black hole generators.

The controls are easy enough to pick up, and my first mission involved locating and destroying an enemy extractor set up on a nearby planet. I had no problem transitioning from cruising through outer space, to entering atmosphere at speed, to skimming the planet’s surface. Enemies come in relentless waves as you chip away at their defenses, and you can modify your craft, changing tactics by swapping out weapons, in the middle of combat.

One of my favorite features about Starlink is the fact that some of your weapons can actually synergism, combining their effects, making way for more strategic play. Once powered up, I could fire my black hole generator, which would pull enemies towards it, and then light up the black hole itself with my flamethrower, creating a fire vortex. This vortex would hold anyone near in place while blasting with fire damage, but you’d better have an exit plan! The fire vortex sucks in anyone near by, including your own craft, as I figured out pretty quickly.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas will be coming to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on October 16th, 2018.

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