REVIEW | Starward Rogue

REVIEW | Starward Rogue

“Blast your way through the Megalith, a labyrinth lodged in the side of a star.”

Having been released on Steam several years ago to great acclaim after a porting agreement was agreed Starward Rogue has now been released on consoles. I am a huge fan of bullet hell twin-stick shooters so I was really looking forward to playing and reviewing this one.

Starward Rogue is a Single-player game where you play as a disembodied head in a mech and your mission is to save this character named Rodney who is being held 5 floors down in a place called the Megalith. The idea of the game is to clear each room that you enter of enemies and collect items such as credits to spend at the shop, XP to level up your mech and key cards to open locked doors.

ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!

DeveloperArcen Games

Things I liked!

  • Gameplay | Starward Rogue features a great short tutorial to get you going and explains the basics of the controls, main weapon, missiles and energy weapon all which can be upgraded on each run that you do. You have 9 starting mechs to choose from each with their own unique abilities ranging from time control, shot magnetism, perk randomization and much more. There are 5 difficulties ranging from very easy to misery, I would recommend starting on medium so you can familiarise yourself with the controls and how the game works. Each run consists of completing 5-7 floors depending on mech and difficulty that you choose. There is also the option to play with everything unlocked, but warning if you choose this mode you won’t gain any achievements.
  • Level Design | The game has procedurally generated levels so every room that you encounter on each run will be different, this definitely makes each new run way more interesting and adds to the games replayability. There are over 500 rooms to explore, all filled with power-ups credits and enemies trying to destroy you. You have over 350 items, including active weapons, passive upgrades and one time use consumables. Some of the items that you can equip may add double damage at the cost of enemies moving much faster! I found this fun to experiment with. There are also over 150 different enemies including bosses and epic bosses some are easier to kill than others. I really liked that you can save your game at any point and carry on later, this made runs a little easier. 
  • Content | Great value with so much content included to keep you busy gaming away for ages. If you want to get all the 1000 achievements then I think you are looking at over 30 hours as most of them are really tough needing to complete a run or defeat a boss only using certain weapons. There is a DLC add-on for this game also available called Starward Rogue: Augmented which adds even more mechs, items and enemies.

Neither good nor bad

  • Sound | The sound effects are what you would expect from a typical twin stick shooter. Lots of explosions and pew pew pew as you fire your weapons from your mech. There are some nice touches here and there like when you defeat a boss you get a really big explosion which is always very gratifying. Some of the background music does start to grate on you a little at times and other times it feels perfect for the battle you are in with some rip roaring bass as you clear the hordes of enemies on screen.  
  • Graphics | The graphics are ok but nothing spectacular, the game makes good use of colours and I did like the transparent floors when at times you could see space battles happening outside or just the vastness of space. I never encountered any slow down on screen during my time playing and at times there are hundreds of enemy ships and fire all whizzing around the screen. I really liked the graphical effect that you get just before you fight a boss. The name of the boss and its ship would get bigger and bigger on your screen, this reminded me of the old mode 7 effect used on the super Nintendo back in the day.

Things I disliked!

  • Difficulty | You only have one life so lose that and it’s game over and the end of your current run, there has been several occasions when I’ve had 75% health and one random enemy missile has killed me there on the spot and this is very frustrating especially if you have completed a few floors and have to start again. I have come across a rare upgrade which grants you a second wind when you die, so I would recommend taking that if you come across this.
  • Story | Apart from during the tutorial where you are introduced to a character called Rodney who appears to be some humanoid who has been captured and being held by the warden you never hear from Rodney again really, only in the mech selection screen you see some dialogue between you and Rodney, this is also really easy to miss. I would have liked to have seen more of the story during each run. 

How long did I play the review before publishing? 10 hours
How long to beat the story? 1-2 Hours per run
How many Achievements did I earn before publishing? 105/1000 Gamerscore
How long to achieve 1000G | 30 Hours +
You’ll love this game if you like these | The Binding of Isaac and Doomed To Hell


75/100 ⭐ Starward Rogue is a fun challenging game with plenty of variety each time you play that continues to mix it up and always leaves you wanting to have another go. With 9 mech’s available from the start it’s great to experiment and find the one that best suits your playstyle. I really enjoyed playing Starward Rogue and if you are a fan of twin-stick shooters and like a challenge then I would say to give it a go.