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Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on August 30th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Spacetime Studios
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 1

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Playtime: Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar


Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles is a mobile MMORPG from Spacetime Studios that may be technically the game that has had the longest development cycle in mobile gaming. Though the game was originally meant for traditional computer platforms, it got stuck in development hell and was only recently unearthed after the launch of last year's Pocket Legends. This game uses a similar backbone, supporting play between users of different platforms, including iOS and Android players.

Star Legends' story has players taking on various missions for several corporations aboard the Blackstar spaceship. Players choose from three classes: the hulking Commando, the skill-based Engineer, and the Operative that primarily targets single enemies. The combat system involves an auto-firing weapon, and skills that the player can map on the main screen. Star Legends is free to play, with Platinum available for purchase that can be used to obtain additional money, items, and enhancements. Star Legends is thankfully built for mobile gaming; it is very easy to just log in and go to a mission, with players joining as they may. The game also offers options for friends lists and Guild management for deeper and more organized play sessions. Still, this is a game that can be played very casually on a whim for short play sessions. Don't be afraid to leave the house!

However, Star Legends' cross-platform gameplay is perhaps its greatest strength; players can load up any client that the game runs on, be it an iOS device or an Android device, phone or tablet, using their same character and platinum when logged in to the same Spacetime Studios account. This platform agnosticism is perhaps the most impressive part of Star Legends; the game just works, no matter what system.

This is a free to play game; while not spending money is certainly an option, Star Legends is not afraid to give advantages to those who do spend money. By spending money, players can easily earn additional experience, boost their stats, and even get better items at the very beginning. This may put some people off right away, though nothing is necessary. Combat can be very finnicky at times, especially targeting special abilities. If the enemy targeted when an ability is used suddenly dies, the next enemy isn't targeted, leading much ability usage to go to waste. While mashing the attack button to lock on works as well, it just doesn't feel as clean. It is possible at times for enemies to overwhelm players to the point where it is impossible to respawn without enemies instantly killing the player. This is supremely annoying, to say the least. The game seems to have limited amounts of gameplay past level 25, though it is likely that Spacetime Studios will add more in the way of content as time goes on, especially as they supported Pocket Legends long after release.

Star Legends is as much a feat of technical impressiveness as it also successful as a casual MMORPG experience. This is a genre that is teeming with potential, but thanks in part to games just wanting to directly copy World of Warcraft, has become stale, and overly demanding of players. Getting more of a short-burst gameplay experience, and feeling like I don't need to be overly committed to a game is rather refreshing.

Star Legends! (3D MMO) Finally Arrives for iOS!

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on August 25th, 2011

If you could see us now, you'd notice our heightened excitement, heavy breathing, and elevated heart rates. We had a chance to preview this epic scifi MMO for iPhone, iPad (and Android, and eventually PC) last February at GDC, and have been waiting with bated breath ever since. Got any gum?

Star Legends, nee The Blackstar Chronicles, is by SpaceTime Studios, makers of the highly regarded Pocket Legends MMO. This new game, set in a fantastic scifi universe, promises to bring the same seamless massively multiplayer action to a whole new genre and audience, improving upon an already successful MMO system. There is a ton of backstory and a whole new universe of content planned for the game, so we're hoping for a nice long run of it. When we previewed the game at GDC, there were tons of art and backstory hung on almost every wall of the suite we met with the dev and PR team, making our inner scifi geeks squee with delight.

Here's the description form the team's Facebook page. Can it get any more exciting!?

The doors of the UCS Blackstar will soon open to privateers who have come to make their fortunes and fame, perhaps at the expense of their very lives! Rumors abound that the residents of UCS Blackstar have discovered an alien presence on a nearby colony. Seeing an opportunity to turn a quick profit, countless privateers leap into action to carve out their fate among the stars.

There was a delay in getting the iOS version of the game out, as the Android version has been out for quite a while.

The iOS version is a Universal app, and is available right now in the App store for free. Various in-app purchases are available, though if Pocket Legends is any guide, they should not be necessary for gameplay. Stay tuned here for our full review soon.


Star Legends Pending Cross Platform Release

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 19th, 2011

In a forum post today on their website, Spacetime Studios "Admin and Community Guy" Sam Hayne confirmed that their highly anticipated title, Star Legends (formerly known as Blackstar), has been submitted to Apple as of July 11, and that the companies are working together to get it live on the App Store.

Hayne went so far as to imply that the Apple submission is what is holding the game from release, saying, "As you know, we always launch simultaneously to all of our channels (Apple App Store, Android Marketplace, GetJar)."

We couldn't be more excited, and have been so since the announcement of the game in February, and our own hands-on time with it at GDC 2011.

Assuming the name change brings this game in line with the Pocket Legends brand, we're sure this new sci fi themed MMO will be as much or more of a hit than its predecessor, with the pedigree the team brings to the table - the team worked on the original PC-based Blackstar from NCSoft before that project was shut down and Spacetime studios re-acquired the rights to the engine and the intellectual property.

Stay tuned here for details as they emerge - we've got our eye on this one.

Blackstar from Spacetime Studios Preview GDC 2011

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on March 8th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: AWESOME :: Read Review »

The minds behind Pocket Legends, Spacetime Studios, are finally able to bring the PC MMO game they were hired to produce for NCSoft back a few years ago. When the project was abruptly cancelled last year, they used the world-class engine to produce Pocket Legends. When we sat down with founder Gary Gattis at GDC this past week, he described this as like putting a Ferrari engine into a Go Kart and seeing what they could do with it.

Pocket Legends, while a game with its own growing pains, has become a definite hit on the iOS scene, boasting a huge fantasy styled MMO that just works, and works well. The company has released updates and expansions consistently since the apps original launch.

Blackstar is their next big project for mobile devices, utilizing the original science fiction IP from the original contract with NCSoft (all legally and above board, so users need not fear it getting shut down). Blackstar is be a global, cross platform MMO with an epic storyline and an equally impressive art pedigree: some of the concept artists went on to work on TRON: The Movie. What we were able to play of the game showed us a similar control style as Pocket Legends, on both iOS and Android devices, with a planned PC client in the near future, if all goes according to plan. Spacetime Studios will launch the game as a free to play MMO with 15% of the planned gameplay ready for launch, which equates to three separate zones with rapid leveling systems, quests, and character customization. They plan to release the game in Q2 20011.

My own reaction to the game ranged from awe at the fully fleshed out science fiction universe, high end conceptual artwork, and a thrill at the potential of playing this thing on any device I might potentially own or come into contact during the day. The play build we saw was not production level by any means, but it ran smoothly, connected to the Blackstar servers across three different devices in the room, and controlled in a very familiar way, since I've played Pocket Legends since it first came out. I have only the best of hopes for this game, as it can only get better from here.

Enjoy the below screenshots and stay tuned right here for more details as we get them.


Spacetime Studios Announces New Sci-Fi MMORPG Blackstar for iOS and Android

Posted by Carter Dotson on February 10th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: AWESOME :: Read Review »

The massively multiplayer online RPG marketplace has yet to really take off on mobile platforms, especially as established players in the MMO space have yet to really attack mobile devices at all, allowing newcomers to unleash their ideas on these platforms. Spacetime Studios have explored the mobile MMORPG market themselves with the crossplatform Pocket Legends, a fantasy MMORPG that was launched on iOS, and later found its way to Android. However, Spacetime Studios are now setting their eyes on the stars, with a very cool new project: launching their sci-fi MMORPG Blackstar on iOS and Android later this year.

Based on Spacetime Studios' crossplatform Spacetime Engine that they've been working on with Pocket Legends, Blackstar is described as a "3D, real-time, persistent MMO," that was originally designed as a PC title that was in development for PC before funding ran out in 2008. The story of Blackstar takes place in the 41st century between three distinct races, the alien Riven, the cybernetic Scorn, and the human Mode. The game promises to lose very little from its original incarnation in this transition to mobile, promising thousands of items to collect, and a robust set of social features to chat and team up with people in game. Spacetime Studios' CEO, Gary Gattis says "“Blackstar’s production design and overall polish will be unmatched in mobile gaming. We were able to nurture the IP to its maximum potential through years of development – a luxury never before seen in Mobile gaming." Spacetime Studios has provided a screenshot of the game, still in development:

The game will be fully 3D, support both iOS devices and Android (including tablet-sized devices), and will be playable over EDGE, 3G, 4G, and of course Wi-Fi connections. With the game not only launching on both Android and iOS sometime in Q2 2011, but also being based on a fully-fledged MMORPG once in development for PC, the traditional home of these games, Blackstar shows a lot of promise. Due to the speed that the mobile market moves at, developers often don't have the time to nurture and develop an idea like how Spacetime Studios has had with Blackstar - and they have also had the time to work on and perfect their mobile technology with Pocket Legends. With both the impressive and developed concept, along with proven technology, Blackstar could prove to be huge when it launches later this year on iOS and Android.