Pong and Space Invaders went to a rave one night and got totally wasted on Pixie Stix and Starbursts. Nine months later, Starific - Endless Reactor, was born. The premise of the new psychedelic mobile game, by developer Beveled Edge, is simple. Keep your star(s) from escaping an octagonal grid while wiping away ever appearing waves of tiles and power-ups. Not grasping it? Watch the promo video and I'll catch up with you after.
Ok, now that you have seen a bit of game footage, we are hopefully on the same page. This game is a frenetic, eye-popping, ear-pounding, thumb-frustrating good time. The controls are super simple. Place your opposable digit in the circle at the bottom the screen and move it to spin your paddle around the outside of the playing field. It's a very intuitive setup that's snappy and responsive. If the sensitivity isn't to your liking you can fine tune it to your taste in the settings menu.
As your star bounces off your paddle and around the playing field, it interacts with the power-ups and tiles. As it hits them it changes directions and releases good and bad power-ups that can be caught or avoided. I won't bother to list all the power-ups since there are 54(!) different modifiers. There are also 75 different color themes, four different play modes, and multiple levels of difficulty.
The longer you keep the star in play the more points you score and money you earn. The money is used to unlock new themes and play modes.
While the game is a blast to play, my favorite part is the price. It's free. No, not free with IAPs, or a free trial that locks itself after 24 hours of play, it is straight up free. The only method of monetization employed by the developer is the occasional option to watch an ad to get some extra points, which can be used to unlock new themes and game modes. Everything, from themes, to difficulty levels, to play modes, is unlocked the old-fashioned way – by earning it through solid play.
Now, I know this structure wouldn't work for every game and developer, but man, it's refreshing to see a game that isn't destroyed by micro transactions. Even better, Starific is a ton of fun. For that, Beveled Edge, we thank you.