‘Starlink’ blends gaming and toys in a genuinely intriguing way
Following the likes of Amiibo, Skylanders and the rest, Ubisoft’s latest take on the physical toy/videogame hybrid, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, already feels like an exciting proposition — even if we didn’t quite get to play the title itself. We saw a hands-off presentation of the spaceship-based gameplay (customizable load-outs, pilot-based superpowers and weird alien threats), as well as how easily the add-on guns and mods appear in-game. We then also got to handle the physical toys themselves. All told, it’s clear Ubisoft has done a good job.
To do this, the company apparently poached toy makers and designers from across the industry — Hasbro, to name just one example — and it’s resulted in toys that feel solid, fun and, well, nice. They feel like proper playthings that won’t suddenly break and crack. I also liked how the company has created different controller mounts across the PS4, Xbox One and Switch to ensure weight is distributed evenly when you’re playing with your ship attached to the game. (Naturally, you can still fly the spaceship around in your hand while making swooshing noises.)
Starlink remains over a year away, which means we’re likely to see it at next year’s E3, too, before it finally launches. For now, however, we know that Ubisoft is going in the right direction with the toys. Now it has to ensure that the game itself does them justice.
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