Starwhal to me is a bit like the game Minecraft. I mean that to say that I have no idea why it’s so good, but I incapable of putting it down once I start playing.

Starwhal is a game recently released for the Xbox One (already available for Steam, Wii U, and PlayStation 4) made by the company Breakfall who is responsible for a small handful of other indie titles you’ve most likely never heard of.

The game itself is heavily focused on local multi-player. There is a single-player challenge mode, but the difficulty curve for it is ridiculously high and it consists of time trial runs through obstacle-filled courses that just aren’t as fun as the game itself so that’s best just avoided.

When you get some friends together and get into the game, then the real fun begins. First, you get to customize your narwhal. There are a myriad of ridiculous options for accessories to make your narwhal unique. There’s everything from human riders on your back, afros, wings, beards, cupcakes, tutus, and even light-sabers for horns if you feel like being a Jedi sea creature.

Lava is bad for your health, but good for adding more chaos to the game.

Lava is bad for your health, but good for adding more chaos to the game.

After creating your personalized little oceanic battler, you then choose a stage. There are a variety of themed worlds (all of which have gorgeous backgrounds) and each world has multiple stages, each offering a different experience. Some have obstacles like wind or bounce pads that will make navigation hard, some have lava that can hinder your progress, some have moving or shifting walls, and all of them are unique and interesting.

And speaking of navigation, the most notable point in this game is how incredibly difficult it is to navigate your narwhal in any coherent matter. Your overall goal is usually to try and pierce the heart of the other players with the tip of your narwhal’s horn. But because the controls are so purposefully insane you and your friends will spend a good portion of each match randomly spinning in circles or flopping against the walls like a fish in an aquarium full of vodka. While this may sound infuriating, it actually makes the game more fun that most and watching your friends struggle as much as you will make you laugh harder than you ever thought you could.

While I said you are mostly just attacking the hearts of your opponents, there are other game modes where you compete in a King of the Hill scenario to hold onto point generating areas and get a higher score than your opponents, and a capture the flag scenario where only one narwhal has a heart and has to keep away from the other narwhals who will steal it if they manage to pierce it. So this bit of variety helps keep the game as fresh as it is fun. Personally, I recommend the capture the flag mode as it tends to be the most fast-paced and hectic of the four.

If you don’t have three friends, you don’t have to worry because you can sub in computer players for any real life players that you are missing. Just be warned that the AI is not always the best. If a player is against the wall, the AI will sometimes spear them and pin them to the wall, making it impossible for any other human player to attack their heart. On lava levels, the AI doesn’t seem to understand that lava is bad so expect them to diminish their own scores as they constantly dive into the pit of flaming magma.

Look at that beautiful Spacetopus!

Look at that beautiful Spacetopus!

The game is simple, as are most party games, and I can only say so much to convince you of the merits of the game itself. If you have any interest in fun at all, and at least one real life friend, then I highly recommend this game.

 

Starwhal Review
Starwhal is a game of multiplayer madness.
The Good
  • Character Customization
  • Addictive Gameplay
  • Varied Levels
The Bad
  • Difficult Single-player
  • Bad AI
  • Not as fun without friends
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

Dean M
YouTube Content Creator

Saying I have an obsession for video games is a bit of an understatement. Like Ash Ketchum my goal is to collect them all! I currently have over 1,600 games spanning more than 40 consoles and almost as many years and I have played all but a very small handful of them (I can't bring myself to open the older sealed games - even if it is the only copy I have of the game.) I like all genres and platforms but RPGs are my favorite and nothing beats the SNES if you want to have a good time while gaming. In my time away from gaming I'm a big fan of the outdoors (a bit of a 180, eh?) and a huge fan of animals. I have a dog, two snakes, and a dove and I love to spend time checking out zoos or volunteering at animal shelters.