Our First Look at StarLicker: The Most Addictive 2-player Arcade Shoot ’em Up for the iOS

StarLicker

Heartonomy is an NYC based indie game company founded by Hayden Cacace and Rudd Zwolinski. I had the splendid chance to play their new game StarLicker, a two-player strategy game that combines arcade style shoot ’em up play with turn based real-time strategy altering defensive and offensive play methodology.

In the game you play as Lenny, a cute bunny that rides a ship defending your base by collecting energy bullets from enemy cannons. The premise of the game is simple, use defensive and offensive tactics to destroy your enemies’ bases! Buying new cannons and placing special enhancing units can double the energy bullets damage, spread them to hit more obstacles, or focus them for a devastating attack.

Upon starting a game, you have to create a profile where later, when the game launches, will place you in a rank among other players. The profile is designed to count your victories and loses.

Gameplay

The dynamics of StarLicker are intricate as you play more than one side of the game. From the moment you begin the game, you must tactically spend your energy to buy the right units. Lenny collects a certain amount of energy bullets before his ship overheats and has to return to his base to deposit the energy. The energy collected is used to buy new units, upgrades, or special abilities for Lenny to either collect more energy bullets more efficiently with magnets, blast enemy cannons with a blue blaze, or hold more energy bullets before overheating. Taking alternate points of attack (defensive/offensive) is intense as tactics that can be profitable on offensive are threatening in defense. It is without a doubt that a concrete strategy is a must to defeat your enemy.

Salvaging unwanted units are always a good idea when the unit isn’t necessary anymore. On occasions, the enemy might get too offensive, in which case Lenny has a blue blaze that can be used to attack enemy cannons but only near home base. An upgrade can be bought to use this ability outside the base area. Most times you won’t know what certain units will do and placing them on the map will cost you. Taking the time to read up on each unit and its special ability is highly recommended.

Controls

Playing on an iOS, you must use you finger to navigate Lenny over the map and collect energy bullets. Double tapping Lenny near his base will execute a blue blaze attack that can damage any enemy cannons too close to your base. Understanding every unit, special ability, and upgrade will help in the long run to defeating your enemy. Balancing defensive and offensive skill is the best tactic you can execute!

Graphics

For the type of game StarLicker is, I believe the graphics are surprisingly great. They articulate exactly what needs to be seen without going over the top.  StarLicker focus on the game-play mechanisms pays off as the game concepts has ingenuity, creativity, and immerse co-op play.

Technicalities

The game revolves on a 2-players concept. The hindrance here is if your playing online, you have to wait for someone to play their turn before moving on. The game can get slow in this manner which ruins the flow of immersion in the game. There is another option to play 2-player pass and play, where two people next to each other can play by simply passing the mobile device. I appreciated this concept a lot more since there aren’t many iOS games that support the old ‘couch co-op’ concept of games. I can see StarLicker being used to settle disputes, bringing families together, and used as a drinking game.  I would, however, like to see a Player Vs. AI aspect of the game just to be able to get pretty competitively good at it. (Playing against myself or people who don’t know the game doesn’t help make me better.)

Overall (4/5)

StarLicker is super imaginative in taking two concepts of games and twisting it to make a superbly well-done iOS game that creates it’s own niche. The game dynamics are perfect for any mobile device. With the addition of a player Vs AI match, the game could be brilliant. Still, it’s pretty freaking awesome. StarLicker will be released sometime this year.

For more information on Heartonomy or to contact them, check out their website, Twitter, and Facebook below.

Narz is CEO/ Founder at Girl Gamer Vogue and Video Game Columnist at KnickerBocker Ledger.

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Narz

Narz

Founder, Staff Writer
Narz is a journalist whom writes about League of Legends, video game psychology, gaming events in NYC, and loves being a otaku. Currently studying CBT/positive psychology in independent research to one day become a Player behavior Specialist for eSports. She also loves curry and wine. (/◕ヮ◕)/