Star Horizon is an on-rails space shooter that takes players through an intergalactic struggle for power. You take control of John, a simple private space pilot, and much like John, Star Horizon is a simple experience that never really tries anything overly original or Interesting.
Right from the off, Star Horizon tries to provide a winding narrative by giving the player choices during a mission. These choices are mostly quite superficial, changing the dialogue rather than having an overarching effect on the mission structure. I was hoping for something similar to the original Star Fox game, with a multitude of levels available depending on your gameplay choices and actions, but what Star Horizons provides falls short of that.
Each mission tasks you with battling through the numerous enemy combatants you encounter in space. Missiles, lasers and other various weapons fill your arsenal and you fire away at the enemies using an on-screen reticle . The only problem is that the reticle doesn’t actually line up with where your ship is pointing, so I often felt there was a disconnect between where I was aiming and where the ship was aiming. It can be incredibly jarring in places.
This disconnect made it quite difficult to enjoy the combat, especially as it can be quite challenging in places. The balance between trying to attack and defend from incoming attacks is frustrated by the unusual reticule. Where I should have been blown away by these epic set-pieces in space, I was instead left feeling let down by awkward controls and overly difficult enemies.
Difficulty is somewhat mitigated by an upgrade system that enables players to increase the power and efficiency of their ship. You can also unlock new weapons through this system, letting you tailor your ship’s loadout as you come up against particular challenges. In the later levels, Star Horizon expects you to grind some precious missions in order to power up enough, which does little to lengthen its short two-hour campaign.
Star Horizon’s strongest assets are its visuals. Space fights are filled with explosions and colour, and performance mostly holds up pretty well. I’d have liked to have seen more effort put into the voice acting, which is delivered with very little effort and undermines the rest of the presentation.
At the end of the day, Star Horizon is a port of a mobile game and it shows. Everything from the way it looks to the way it plays feels subpar. Gameplay isn’t much fun, the short story is very forgettable and it’s just not up to the level of quality I would want from a game on the Nintendo Switch.