The best things come in pair(ing)s

Couch co-op seems a rare thing these days, not including those stress simulators that are designed to make you argue, so it’s quite the breath of fresh air to play a game that almost demands it. Yep, I didn’t play this one alone! midgi very kindly (and without any forewarning) took up the mantle as my Guardian-in-arms.

While StarCrossed is technically a game that can be played solo, you’re definitely going to want to pull up a friend or significant other. If you don’t mind getting cozy you can even both play using the same controller, but my frail back (and frail everything else) didn’t take too kindly to that.

The Harmony Crystal, which binds together all the people of the universe, is snatched by badniks, and it’s up to two of the five newly-appointed Guardians to go snatch it right back. Harmony is the name of the game here, as neither character can attack directly, instead bouncing a magical star between them which damages enemies it collides with as it travels. Being aware of your own positioning as well as that of your partner is paramount as you try to line up as many villains as possible in the star’s trajectory, while avoiding getting nobbled yourself.

It’s not all passive, as with a well-timed button press you can send the star back to your partner at an increased speed, which not only helps you hit more frequently but also makes the star larger and charges up an Ultimate special attack, with a different effect depending on which girl you chose.

The dialogue that occurs between characters is a lot of fun and doesn’t grate, carrying a similar tone to modern kids shows- I saw one commenter describe the game as “She-Ra Danmaku” which sums it up pretty neatly. In an impressive touch, each combination of the 5 girls has different dialogue throughout the game- there’s impetus to replay it to see all the banter.

Fin or Bin:

Later stages get pretty tough, but the game is unpunishing and will restart you right back where you were. A full run took us 2 hours in total, and you might think that automatically makes this a Fin. Ordinarily it would, yes… but this is an extraordinary game. By combining our strength, we unleashed the legendary, never-before-seen DOUBLE FIN. If you’ve got someone to play with, this one comes with a big recommendation. Stream here!

(Steam, also on Switch and XB)

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