A Rite from the Stars is a coming of age tale about a young boy, Kirm; whos destiny is to surmount three trials and become a legend to his people. It’s a story that has been told a million different ways by a million different people. But just because a story is a cliche, doesn’t detract from an endearing silent protagonist, his charming meerkat sidekick, and an excellent adventure about overcoming adversity and mastering the paths of wisdom, courage, and spirit.
A Rite from the Stars is a point-and-click puzzle platformer in the same style as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. As in you have two controllable characters that have to work in tandem to solve problems and overcome obstacles. While at first, it will feel like an impossible juggling act, once you’ve figured out how to focus on two things at once you’ll have no issues flipping switches with one character while simultaneously jumping across death chasms with the other.
Puzzle design is solid; never overly difficult to the point of complete frustration. But the puzzles also never insult your intelligence. It’s a delicate balance that when tipped too far in either direction, could completely ruin the game.
A highlight of the game is the atmosphere. An original soundtrack and a language created for the game make escaping to the island of Kaikala as easy as falling asleep and slipping into a dream. It’s crystal clear that the developers, Risin’ Goat take pride in their work, and not only wanted to create a game, but an experience. While the poly count may not be through the roof, and the textures may not be ultra detailed, the in-game world feels alive. It’s indeed an achievement and is a testament to the fact that with a little bit of love, and a lot of hard work, you don’t need to play a game at 4K, 120fps to make it beautiful. You can’t fake passion. And Risin’ Goat’s passion for this game is shown in every little detail, in every sentence spoken of the several thousand word language that was created by the developers just for this game, and especially in the mystifying background music composed by Daniel Nunez Martin. In a world where a lot of AAA games feel like they lack a soul, it’s beyond refreshing to see a small development team creating a game with love and care.
A Rite from the Stars is terrific. In every sense of the word. Puzzles find the perfect balance between difficulty and reward. The setting feels vibrant and alive, while simultaneously oppressing and dangerous. The music is spectacular. The character design is fantastic. Characters show emotion and tug at your heartstrings, even with limited facial expression. And small nods to other franchises never feel out of place. Even though the game has a primary focus on puzzles, it’s so easy to get sucked in by the wonder of it all, that the actual gameplay feels secondary. It’s the perfect game to come home to after a stressful day and relax by escaping to the “mystical island of Kaikala.”
Passionate Developers: Risin’ Goat had a clear vision when making A Rite from the Stars. Their passion shines brighter than any star over Kaikala. Singling out the music or the art design would be a disservice to the game and the devs, as this game is far greater than the sum of its parts.
To complain about anything would just be nitpicking. The controls make sense, and the mechanics are all well designed, and everything works as intended.
Final Thoughts: This coming of age tale captures a level of charm not often seen outside of Disney movies and Nintendo games. It’s the kind of game that can only be made by people who genuinely appreciate video games as a storytelling medium, capable of engrossing a player like no other medium could. As Risin’ Goat’s first game as a team, A Rite from the Stars exceeds all expectations. After setting the bar so high with their freshman outing, there is a lot to look forward to for future projects by this Dev.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Matt Hirsch discovered his love for video games when his father brought home a Nintendo GameCube, along with Luigi’s Mansion when he was five years old. Since then, his passion for games, as well as professional wrestling, music, anime and movies has inspired him to pursue a career in media and journalism. He graduated from Midwood High School in 2014 and spent three of those years as captain of the varsity Bowling team. These days you’ll be able to find him in comp queue in Overwatch, or Squadding up with some friends in Fortnite.