Tabletop RPGs remain an incredible and unique experience, even in a highly digital age. Sitting around a table with friends, making creative choices and facing enemies together is near-incomparable. However, Stellar Hunter from LTGames comes pretty darn close. Despite being a fairly solo venture, this RPG seeks to replicate that classic dinner table feel while on the go.
Countdown to Launch
Stellar Hunter places you in the role of a recently marooned space explorer. After resuscitation, you join a team of mercenaries known as “Rangers.” They task you with missions for coin and power, leveling up your character and their team in the process. These missions range from taking out a comically misunderstood alien gang leader to clearing out a station’s pirate presence. A Hitchhiker’s Guide-esque humor pervades the dialogue and scenario descriptions, making each interaction hilarious.
Moving On Up
Stages typically play out in similar configurations. First, you receive a mission with a certain money/loot value associated, all connected to one planet on the main hub. Secondly, you land on the planet using earned ship fuel and are made aware of any modifiers that change the way you explore. Thirdly, you navigate through the terrain, fighting enemies and selectively helping NPC’s to reach your final objective.
While exploring, you choose which encounters to engage with by using action points (AP). Each of these encounters is programmed with roguelike spawning, where you never know how navigation will play out upon returning to a planet for future missions. For example, on one run you may have to fight enemies at a juncture, while another may have you retrieving an item for a needy NPC. This keeps things fresh and entertaining through every successive exploration.
From Table to Screen
Traditional RPG fans will instantly recognize the game’s grid system and check system for interaction success. Visible dice rolls (prescribed according to character stats in your party) determine the results of most non-combat encounters. Each time you come upon one of these randomly generated events, you must pay using your total AP. Occasionally, movement from one tile to another will cost AP, integrating story context with the system.
Paired with a detailed, yet intuitive UI, these RPG elements feel accessible to new players while retaining quality for genre veterans. I never felt as though the game was trying to dumb down any of the details regarding stat-integration in play. Often, the title takes the time with detailed tutorials to explain how and why each system works for Type A’s like me. Even if you don’t fully understand RNGs, you’ll have an okay time navigating through Stellar Hunter’s planetary landscapes.
Give it Some Space
Overall, I only have a small list of criticisms for Stellar Hunter. While the random generation of in-game events keeps things mostly fresh, there are some moments where types of interactions get repetitive within themselves. Occasionally, the game will generate the same encounter several times within a single location. This mitigates the amount of variety by cutting up the game’s overall flow.
My other main criticism lies mainly in the gear system for your party. While some characters and items come in the form of a gacha system typical of mobile titles, a good amount of decent loot can be earned through just playing the game. However, you are often given large numbers of similarly ranked loot on runs. This clutters up your inventory and creates more work than what is helpful when having to break it down for upgrade resources. And, on a totally superficial level, the well-designed loot doesn’t affect your character’s appearance in-game.
Stellar Hunters is an accessible and deep RPG that emulates the best of the genre it’s based on. There’s a wide variety of characters with which you interact in a considerably large playing field. The writing is tight and you get to think strategically to overcome obstacles or blast your way through. What else could a spacefarer want? Despite a few flaws, this title stands as a solid excursion for anyone yearning for thoughtful and zany adventures in the great beyond
Is It Hardcore?
Stellar Hunter is accessible and deep, welcoming players young and old alike. While there are a few things holding it back, there is still plenty of really great content here that mostly makes up for it. Its characters, locales and events immerse the player in an endearing science-fiction experience.