Starr Mazer: DSP is a side-scrolling shoot’em up in the same vein as classics like Gradius and Lords of Thunder with a roguelike twist on the traditional lives/continues system. Players take control of a squadron of DSP pilots with different ships, weapon loadouts and voices. Your mission is to battle through nine frantic arcade levels, countless waves of enemies, 3 powerful bosses, and take down the G’ell Super Ship in a single run.
The citizens of Thersa-CPIX are at war and we’re not sending one hero to the fight, we’re sending EVERYONE!
- Levels - Battle through nine Levels, across three intense arcade-style bullet-filled acts! Take the fight from the surface of war torn Thersa-CPIX to the Space Gate and up to the heart of the G’ell Super Ship; the Adamastor!
- Recruit - Recruit a diverse team of humans, aliens, and a dog! Hand pick your DSP team before every mission using their weapons, stats and battle order to your advantage!
- SK:ORE - The fight never ends with SK:ORE! There are no game overs in this battle! Use your SK:ORE from fallen enemies and Carbomite pickups to purchase a new squadron of pilots!
- Unlock Pilots - Discover legendary pilots! Give your squadron an edge in battle with unique legendary pilots like Slimo, Bunny Killmaster, Don Thacker and many more!
- Power Up - Power up your weapons for maximum destruction! Collect Carbomite from fallen foes to power up your primary fire or to fuel your super weapon!
Starr Mazer: DSP was born as a passion project during the development of its bigger brother, the point-and-click SHMUP hybrid, Starr Mazer. Originally, Imagos Softworks teamed up with veteran development studio Pixeljam to craft a demo environment to test weapons, enemy attack patterns and space combat. When both teams couldn’t stop playing the single demo level they designed, they knew they were onto something very, very special.
Shortly after, Don Thacker, Alex Mauer and Miles Tilmann started working tirelessly to crack the code and turn the little demo into a unique fully featured experience. After playing Rogue Legacy, Don was inspired to craft an elegant roguelike game loop to add a refreshing update to the shooter genre. Thus the DSP MkI Corp was founded and a perilous battle that pitted thousands of pilots against the G’ell invasion was born!
A unique game mechanic alone isn’t enough to be memorable. So to bring the world to life in stunning pixel art, the team enlisted Starr Mazer art director Maximo V. Lorenzo, lead artist Kirk Barnett and background artist Christopher Pariano. Alex Mauer, composer of Starr Mazer, also joins with an intense synthwave soundtrack to round out the experience and take what was once a single demo test level into a fully realized shoot’em up experience!
Hi there! It’s Dan, Playism’s senior content manager. Starr Mazer as a whole is a project I’m very close to and I wanted to say a few words about it.
A major cornerstone of my video game experiences growing up was sitting in front of the TV playing hours of Life Force, R-Type and Gradius. What enraptured me about these games were the stories they told in their boxart, levels, the kinds of enemies that appeared, the bosses and the way they implied humanity’s imminent extinction. These were stories that not only came alive in my imagination, but that were also clearly communicated in pixel art that was not always so clear. Despite low-fi graphics, the experience was profoundly hi-fidelity.
It was a trend that I didn’t feel followed the genre as a whole. Cave took SHMUP story-telling to new heights with Mushihimesama and Death Smiles; Treasure did so with Radiant Silver Gun and Ikaruga. However, I felt the stories in those games came across quite differently as my attention was drawn toward moments and bullets rather than stages and bosses. Impressive as they were, my focus was simply on other things—like not dying horribly.
As I came to know Don’s work in film, such as his shorts and feature length film, Motivational Growth, I understood where Starr Mazer: DSP’s strengths in story came from. And talking with him about classic and modern games I finally understood how Imagos Softworks and Pixeljam were seamlessly blending modern roguelike designs with old school, horizontal, SHMUP story-telling.
Starr Mazer: DSP will be my first personal experience with Early Access and I’m thrilled to see where this adventure goes. I can’t wait to undertake it with you.