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A Hidden Gem That's Worth Finding - Prey the Stars Review
Prey the Stars was released for the Nintendo DS in 2008. Despite being a solid action game with addictive gameplay, it didn’t receive much attention from either critics or gamers and has thus become somewhat of a hidden gem. Though hard to find, some local used game retailers still carry the game, and those who look past this DS title’s cutesy exterior will find a worthwhile and time-consuming gaming experience.
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The story element in Prey the Stars is practically nonexistent, and although there are cut-scenes and a good amount of text after each stage, these serve merely as a means to add some semblance of a narrative to a game that otherwise doesn’t need it. Your dog-like character will meet various spirits that will talk about food, love, and creation among other things. Again, any quirky story elements found in Prey the Stars are really just there and neither detract nor add to the game’s overall appeal.
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Where Prey the Stars really gets going is in its gameplay. You will guide one of four characters across 11 stages where the goal is to eat everything in sight. Although simplistic in theory, there are a number of wrinkles to this gameplay setup. For example, there are items on each stage that are far larger than others. In order to eat these items and accumulate larger point values, you’ll have to eat enough of the smaller items so that your character can grow in size.
Different items fall under different elemental categories. Eating three of the same element type will reward your character with bonus points and a special power-up. Power-ups range from bombs to tidal waves that will knock opponents off the stage. In certain instances, your character can transform into a large elemental behemoth capable of eating anything on the screen and taking out your opponents. Everything you do will help you accrue points, but be wary of your opponents. Taking damage and getting knocked off the stage will result in your point total taking a noticeable hit.
While some may find flaws in the game’s simple design, it is this non-complex gameplay that really makes Prey the Stars an easy game to spend countless hours on. It is easy to get into, and the gradually rising difficulty makes it an accessible game worth coming back to numerous times.
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Graphics and Sound
Prey the Stars features a colorful look and drips with charm. All the characters in the game have an undeniably cutesy appearance, and the expressions and emotions they convey throughout the cut-scenes only help magnify them. Locales feature numerous landmarks, and everything has a clean, highly colorful look to it. The majority of what you see onscreen does look polygonal, and perhaps some refinements to the graphics would have helped, but overall, this simple look works well with the game, and it would be hard to expect much else given the rest of the package.
Some people will love the sound in Prey the Stars and some will hate it. Aside from the strange sound effects that tend to repeat a bit too often, the game features a soundtrack full of unique music that isn’t all that complex in its design but fits the bill perfectly. To put it simply, the music in Prey the Stars goes hand in hand with the graphics and gameplay.
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Prey the Stars isn’t a very long-lasting game. With only 11 stages, most gamers will get through this package rather quickly. There are reasons to go back and continue playing, however. There are bonus objectives in each stage that you can attempt. These objectives range from transforming into an elemental creature a certain number of times to eating a specific number of objects of one kind.
Additionally, the game features competitive local cart multiplayer for up to four players, where only one game card is needed. There is also online multiplayer, but it would be hard to find many people playing Prey the Stars online considering the fact that the game was never really popular to begin with.
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Prey the Stars Review - Overall Score
Many gamers will undoubtedly get a kick out of Prey the Stars. The game is addictive, easy to get into, and, most importantly, fun. It won’t keep you busy for months or possibly even weeks, but Prey the Stars features hours upon hours of engaging gameplay, and even the most jaded gamer will find something enjoyable in this well-rounded package.