Indie Game Spotlight: StarCrossed
Grab a friend for this week’s Indie Game Spotlight! StarCrossed is an action arcade game with a magical girl aesthetic and a cooperative twist. Join our cast of 5 space-faring heroes as they travel from planet to planet, working together to strengthen their bond and defeat a looming evil that threatens the galaxy! StarCrossed provides an experience that focuses on the importance of collaboration, with every element designed to emphasize the two-player cooperative gameplay.
We spoke with Francesca, president of Contigo Games who, on top of handling narrative design and creating 3D art assets for the game, is also the team’s producer, social media manager, and PR representative. In her words, “We’re a typical indie studio, in that we all wear many hats!” The rest of the team includes Dillon as the lead artist & animator, Mike as the gameplay designer & programmer, Benny as the lead programmer, Oriana as the character artist & illustrator, Renzo and Kyle on sound design, and Alex composes the music. Read on!
What was the main inspiration for the game?
StarCrossed takes heavy inspiration from classic Magical Girl media like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Tokyo Mew Mew. These stories are about collaboration and friendship, and everything in StarCrossed, from the visuals to the game mechanics, is designed around those same themes. We love the premise of a ragtag group of strangers from different backgrounds coming together for a common cause (isn’t that kind of like making games?), and we are excited to tell a story where women and non-binary characters are the heroes.
How do the co-op mechanics work?
Visually, StarCrossed looks similar to a classic arcade space shooter… except that you can’t shoot. Instead, your only weapon is a powerful star bouncing between you and your partner. The star moves between you automatically, so players can aim it by moving their characters around the screen. Our goal was to design a mechanic that requires participation from both players to really emphasize the cooperative element of the game.
What is a “StarBoost”?
When the star gets near a character, the player can tap a button to perform a StarBoost. Depending on the character, it’s either a punch, a push, or a kick, which transfers energy to the star. By successfully StarBoosting, the players can work together to power up the star, speeding up gameplay, and earning them more points. When done correctly, StarBoosting becomes a rhythmic volleying of the star back and forth between players. Timing and coordination are key!
What was the most difficult challenge you experienced while creating the game?
We’re very transparent about this, but Contigo Games is a part-time remote team, which presents a great number of challenges. When the team was founded, and we began working on StarCrossed, we were all based close to one another. Since then, we’ve slowly been spreading out due to jobs and other life commitments. Figuring out how to work together in this new way was definitely challenging, and took a lot of trial and error.
Also, making games is hard! For most of us, this is the first large-scale independent project that we’ll be publishing. We’re learning as we go, and we’re very fortunate to have mentors and a community to support us.
What do you hope players will take away from the game?
StarCrossed is an inherently feminine game, and that’s something that was very important to our team. It’s not often that you see something pink and sparkly on the show floors of big gaming conventions—we saw an opportunity to bring that softer, alternate aesthetic to our audience, and to show more players that games are for everyone. This is a game with cute, colorful artwork and challenging gameplay, and we really believe there’s something here for all types of players. It’s also about coming together, finding community, and sharing in a common dream. Our team is made up of passionate individuals who love games and believe in their powers of positive impact.
Ready to get involved? You can wishlist StarCrossed in all the usual places, and follow Contigo Games to hear all the news on the early 2020 release, which will also reach consoles thanks to the support of Whitethorn Digital!