|Genre||Point-and-click, puzzle, horror|
|Purchase (3DS)||Must be purchased from Nintendo eShop app.|
The Starship Damrey is a game from Level-5’s Guild series, a collection of digital projects released for the Nintendo 3DS that experiments with different genres of games. More specifically, The Starship Damrey comes in the Guild02 collection, though it was released as a standalone game outside of Japan. You may also know Level-5 for series such as Professor Layton, Yo-kai Watch and Inazuma Eleven.
On the subject of horror games for the Nintendo 3DS, there just aren’t that many. Aside from some Resident Evil games, a Fatal Frame spinoff and Corpse Party, they are quite rare to see. So a smaller title like The Starship Damrey is a welcome addition to what is otherwise a tiny collection of horror games.
Where is Everyone?
The Starship Damrey begins with a disclaimer, saying that the game will throw no tutorials or hints at you. Then it throws you into a strange room where nothing is going on. Yeah. When they said they’re giving you no hints, they literally mean it. At first, I thought this was just a weird interactive loading screen. Whatever button you press doesn’t seem to advance the plot.
But as it turns out, you have to use the touch screen and even the microphone in order to continue. After a short series of some rather clever time-based puzzles, you finally gain access to some robots.
So here is the context of the plot. You had just recently woken up from cold sleep. However, the Damrey appears to be in critical condition and the crew had vanished. Furthermore, you cannot leave your cryogenic chamber until the air is safe to breathe in. Furthermore, you have amnesia due to the cold sleep. Well, isn’t that terrific. Being trapped in a big mechanical pod with no one around or no way out. And guess what the computer AI tells you: Panic is not recommended. Ah yes, I’m just gonna lie there in an extremely claustrophobic environment with a good chance of slowly withering away. DOES NOT CAUSE ME PANIC AT ALL.
A Claustrophobic Environment
For the rest of the game, you must explore the starship using an assist robot (which resembles a R.O.B. or Wall-E) The Starship Damrey is reminiscent of old ’90s point-and-click games where you must do a lot of exploration and observe every facet of the environment to make progress. And that is precisely what the entire game is. No more. No less.
Your viewing angle is quite small, giving you a strictly limited field of vision. There is also very minimal sound used. So you pretty much spend most of the game listening to the monotonous whirring of your robot’s wheels. But seriously, the starship is deathly silent and you can only hear a few sounds. It’s a miracle that that this game had any music at all.
Sometimes, there is a puzzle that you need to clear—which usually means you need to look for a key card to enter a room. Yeah, it’s pretty much one of those games where you need to fetch an item that will allow you to progress to another room.
And seeing how this is “survival horror,” there are occasional jumpscares out to get you. And by that, I mean zooming onto a face of a corpse for no particular reason. Just to startle you, really.
Sometimes, you will hear weird clicking noises. This means that there is a space leech nearby and you must exterminate it. While this is an optional objective, killing all 20 space leeches will unlock a document you can read at the end of the game.
There are some occasional creepy moments in the game, but nothing truly hair-raising. Oddly enough, this game was marketed as “survival horror.” Even though there are no survival mechanics. You can’t even die. I don’t get it. I guess “interactive sci-fi horror” just doesn’t cut it.
There’s really not much else to say, but I gotta admit that some of the backstories are pretty interesting and there’s even a good twist ending. Also, if you purchased any of the Guild01 games (Liberation Maiden, Aero Porter, Crimsom Shroud, Weapon Shop de Omasse), you can unlock more backstory after beating the game.
The Starship Damrey is a short, interesting game. However, its scares lack real weight and there’s never a point in the game where you’re ever in danger. Overall, it’s a a lackluster experience (and thankfully, short) since it does have some meat to it but it’s not really tasty. It’s just bland, really.