Grab a Friend: Starwhal
Do you ever wish you had more games to play with your friends when they come over? Well look no further! Grab a friend, grab a PS4, Xbox One, WiiU, or PC, and get ready to play Starwhal!
Starwhal is a 4-player 2D arena game made by Breakfall. It costs $12 across all four platforms. The game is focused around narwhals, a silly sea creature. The point of the game is to flop around each arena to complete the objective.
Single player in this game is almost non-existent. You can play without friends, but you will be doing the same thing, but just facing bots. The point of the game is gather your pals for some innocent, ruthless fun. The goal of the game changes from match type to match type, but there is always one constant: you are trying to stab someone in their heart. Literally. To do this, both knowing how to move around and knowing the maps is key. To move, you simply press any of the ‘go’ buttons (there are multiple, and they vary between console choice) to move your starwhal forward. From there, you can move your little guy up and down, as well as taunt. And that’s pretty much it. The controls are extremely simple to get the hang of, so this is a game that you can easily introduce to any friends who don’t play too many video games. Although this game is very easy to get the hang of, mastering it, as always, takes some practice. You can spin in a circle to get away, or you can charge at your foe in the hopes that your nose will go under theirs. Moving around this game is the most important thing to master right away; thankfully, this is not a hard task.
Getting used to the game types and maps might not be as easy as getting to know the movement. As for the game types, there are four: Classic, Score Attack, Zones, and Heart Throb. Classic is Starwhal’s iteration of last man standing. Each player gets a certain amount of hearts, and you have to try to deplete the other player’s while saving your own. The Score Attack game type is similar to a deathmatch. Whoever can reach the highest score will win. Zones is just like king of the hill, but to take the hill, you have to poke the inner part of the zone to take control of it. In Heart Throb, you have to get the big heart and hold onto it the longest. All of these gametypes are fun, and make you play a little differently each time, causing a somewhat new experience every time. As for replayability, I would recommend only playing this game for about an hour or so. That way you won't tire yourself out from the same four game types.
To keep things interesting and fun, the game offers a lot of different options for customization and map types. As for customization, there are literally thousands of combinations to choose from. One round, you might be a lightsaber-wielding taco out to take the hearts of your friends, and the next you may be a fancy gentleman taking a stroll in more than 25 arenas. There are different worlds, and each world holds 5 to 6 arenas. These arenas each have their own unique element. For example, there is an arena that is just a circle. That is it. Another map may be one that is much larger, but has moving or destructible objects scattered throughout. Some of the most challenging maps by far have to be the lava maps. Each time you hit lava, there is a penalty, depending on the game type. For example, in classic mode, you lose a heart for every time you hit the lava. The rest of the maps aren’t all brutal, but are equally as fun.
If you start to get bored, don’t worry, you have options. You can always switch to team versions of each game type, or you can tweak each game type a bit by increasing or decreasing values. If your friends leave and you cannot get enough, I highly recommend practicing your skill with the bots. The bots do not have sliders to adjust their level, but that is because they are plenty good without a slider. Getting better against the bots helps even more against your friends because the level of the bots is most likely higher than whatever skill your friends can bring to the table.
All in all, Starwhal has, and continues to bring me and my friends hours of joy, and I hope that Starwhal can do so for you too!