REVIEW – FromSoftware has had a significant impact on the gaming industry: the highly challenging games launched with the Souls-series are not easy, but most of the time they are fair. An indie studio, Acme Gamestudio, also tried this and mostly succeeded in standing out from the crowd of Souls clones (of which Thymesia is perhaps the most recent) with Asterigos: Curse of the Stars.
Embark on a perilous journey in this action RPG inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. Explore the breathtaking city of Aphes and forge your way through legions of unique enemies and mythical bosses to uncover the truth behind the city’s curse.
Our main character sets off after his father and his squad have both disappeared, and upon entering the city, he himself discovers the curse that has plagued it for 1000 years. The townspeople live under martial law, the situation is hopeless, and Hilda makes an agreement with the Adherents: if she helps save the town, they will help her find her father. It is superficial, but it also outlines that the next approx. What are we going to do in 25 hours (maybe more), but there are good topics. The caste system, for example, which can still be felt in India, the balance between family and duty, the guilt of the survivors, political and religious conflicts, but also the hatred of people. The story is strong and the characters are fleshed out with their unique goals and side quests. The background story of the city can also be described as thoroughly elaborated with its abundant documentation. The overall effect is positive in appearance, and the cuts between locations can even be trickier compared to FromSoftware’s solutions. Shelter corresponds to the hub. In the shelter, we can upgrade our equipment, get the main quests here, talk to the Kindred, and shop here; correct as a central location, musically it is detto.
There are several difficulty levels: Challenge provides the greatest challenge, Adventure is the base, and everyone can play through Story. It’s easier than other games in the genre, but it gets difficult later on, so it’s really punishing at the Challenge level. There is also a new game+, which takes our level and most of our equipment, but raises the difficulty level. And if we die, we only get a 10% drop, not our entire Stardust stock. And if we fight well, we get stronger by collecting XP, and we can spend the money on crafting or tuning equipment, or buying items, and we can get one or two attribute points per level, which can be used to improve our precision (Precision = more damage), our organization (Constitution = more HP) and our mysticism (Arcane = skill damage, AP-strip speed) can be developed, and with the talent point you can buy skills/perks for the six weapons from the skill tree. You can level up at any time from the menu, or head to the conduit (the equivalent of the campfire in Souls), or perhaps a certain NPC.
It’s a pleasure to see that the battles in the gameplay do not lag behind the other elements. All six weapon types become available in a very short time, and each has a basic three/four attack combo and a unique technique. For example, those who want to build a strong defense should try the sword+shield combo, those interested in great mobility should try the daggers, with the hammer we can hit several opponents around us (strongly), with the spear we can attack from a little further away and get a more active defense (parry), the crutches are good for medium range with magic and you can lay mines, and the magic wand is good for longer distances. Over time, we can raise them to +10 with craft materials at the shelter’s blacksmith (so they do more damage). And most of them are fun to use. You can hold two at a time and switch between them anytime.
We can also switch between them, so there are also special attacks. There is also stamina (SP, does not decrease with basic attacks) and AP strip, the latter can be used for skill tree abilities. Weapons have four skills, and another four can be applied in general. We can deploy four simultaneously for different points, and there will be something that partially modifies the weapon’s operation. And on top of that, there are different types of damage. It’s all really fun. Our appearance only changes with our costume, and our trinkets (trinkets, max. four can be used) can modify the resistance to certain damage, give extra effects (e.g. we heal when damaged, more XP), among them some can make the game even more difficult.
Not a curse
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars gets an eight because the experience is not tiring. It’s true that the camera made the fights a bit annoying in the smaller places, and you can get stuck in the terrain in some places, but the biggest problem in the smaller platforming parts was that you can’t control Hilda in the air, and on PlayStation 5 you can’t redefine the button assignment. and the sound design is a bit crappy (the volume is not balanced) and maybe the items can’t be used as quickly as it should be. But these are minor mistakes, without them it would easily deserve an eight and a half.
+ Very nice combat system
+ The game world has been skillfully developed
+ It doesn’t get boring
– The basic story is a bit silly
– Minor deficiencies
– The camera in smaller locations and platformer segments
Publisher: Acme Gamestudio
Release: 2022. October 11