Toys to Life Roars Back with Starlink

Three years ago you couldn’t enter a toy store without being bombarded by advertisements for tremendously expensive video games with toy-based gimmicks.

The oldest and most popular of these series is the well-known Skylanders series, owned by Activision. Today however, the toys to life genre is largely dormant. Starlink wants to change that.


Starlink is a Welcome Surprise

When Starlink: Battle for Atlas was announced, people noted two things right away. The first was that the Switch version of the game was shipping with Fox McCloud as a playable character. Most Nintendo fans were already hooked, but there was more than that. The other notable aspect of the game is the toys-to-life gimmick. Except this time around it doesn’t feel like as much of a gimmick.

In Starlink, you have two ways to play. You can choose to play with physical, plastic toy spaceships that hook onto a unique controller. The ship you build from various toys (that you buy separately) then appears on-screen. Weapons and ships all behave differently. It’s really quite fun, whether you’re a kid or an adult. However, the ships and guns can be a bit expensive to collect all of.

Meanwhile, for those who don’t want a ton of small plastic toys cluttering their living room, you can opt for digital versions of the ships and weapons. $80 gets you a digital version of the game with all of the ships, pilots and weapons already unlocked.

The Gameplay

All of this fiddling with plastic ships and building wouldn’t amount to much if the game stunk. Thankfully for fans of space exploration, it doesn’t stink at all. In fact, it’s uniquely exhilarating. Taking the best parts of Ubisoft’s open-world game design, Starlink is full of wonder and joy. With seven planets to explore through a massive star system, you’re sure to have plenty to do.

Exploring the planets is a blast, as is discovering the fauna that lives on them. Helping locals yields resources that help you upgrade your ship and fight the bad guys. It’s a really satisfying loop of exploration, combat and upgrades that makes this game surprisingly deep.

If you’re looking for a pleasant surprise, something you can play with your kids or just an excuse to get lost in space, Starlink is for you. Never have I felt more excited to play with silly plastic ships than when I see them come to life and blast alien robots!

If you own a Switch, you’re in for a treat, as the Switch version of the game allows you to play with the Star Fox crew. They’re an awesome little addition to an already great game!