Starseed Pilgrim was a game created by Alex Martin, otherwise known as Droqen, along with Mert Batirbaygil (art), Ryan Roth (music), and Alan Offal (game, not actually credited in the game). A month after receiving nomination for "Excellence in Design" at the 2013 Independent Games Festival the game released on Steam. Droqen, a Toronto native, said in an email to Wired.com "Create systems that are interesting to explore, and people will get more out of their own learning than any tutorial would ever give them."
The original prototype was released in October 11, 2010 and the pre-release build was released October 1, 2012 with the final Steam release March 4, 2013. Droqen originally got the idea for Starseed Pilgrim while asking for ideas on the Tigsource forums. The original idea paraphrased by Droqen, "What if you made a game where you had to plant platforms." While developing on FlashDevelop, when Droqen would tell FlashDevelop to turn his code into a game "Starseed Pilgrim" would build to "PlantingPlatforms.swf", a reference to that original forum user who planted the idea in his head.
The story of Starseed Pilgrim is told through exploring 11 islands scattered in white space, with 9 containing bits of poetic verse. Droqen, dedicated to the gameplay philosophy of not holding the player's hand. This interdisciplinary approach has the player starting off in an area that shows nothing but the controls for the game, a few poetic verses and the credits where you fall into a hole where the majority of the story is told. The mechanics of the game end up shaping the plot, and are as much a part of the story as the poetic verse sparsely populated in the Overworld.
Starseed Pilgrim is split into two worlds. The main world, known as the Overworld, is where you want to link to the other grey islands sprinkled with bits of poetic verse. This is done by using the core mechanic of the game, which is planting seeds. When the player consumes pink blocks in the game, he is then given the ability to plant random seeds. These seeds come in a variety of colors and offering a plethora of options for the player to move throughout the white space.
|Seed's Colors||Seed's Attributes|| |
|The green seed which grows randomly in any direction and is never straight. The hearts that grow inside the green cubs will in the flipped world appear as stars. || |
|The purple seed is the most basic of the seeds and grows in every direction slowly.|| |
|The yellow seeds grows in one direction rapidly allowing for the most rapid movement throughout the map.|| |
|The pink seeds grow slowly containing heart cubes. The pink blocks can be consumed to obtain random seeds.|| |
|The blue seed creates a jumping pad allowing the player to reach new heights. If planted on a fern green cube, the blue seed will lose it's jumping pad ability, and instead function like are fern green cube.|| |
|The fern green colored seed always grows downward like water. And always ends with a small cross. These blocks severely limit the players jumping power.|| |
|The navy blue seed creates a small cross, at the size 3x3 cubes. The cubes are very slowly converted by the darkness, and can be used strategically to fend of the darkness. The navy blue cube is never fully converted, but will always allow the player to stand upon it without being taken to the void. || |
|The red seeds are by some referred to as bombs. When the seed is first planted, nothing happens. But if either the player digs down into the seed, or if the seed is touched by the darkness, a cube at the center will start to blink, indicating a countdown. By the end of the countdown the seed “explodes” creating a big red square, missing each corner, at a of size 7x7 cubes. The cube will convert any other cube around it, if it is inside the reach of the explosion. The red cube is good for growing out, and creates easy and predictable platforms. If the player is caught inside the “explosion” the player is transported into the void. This can be used strategically when wearing the black suite. |
When you arrive at a new island you reach the Flipworld which contains two new areas, a timed one and a void where the player obtains keys for the Overworld. In the timed world the player is racing against a black scourge, eating up your blocks you lay down. The player is perceived goal is to each the stars, which later upon entering the void from these stars uncover keys. The scourge once acting as an antagonist turns into the pilgrims trip back to the void, forging a path back to the Overworld.
In the void when you connect the keys to the originating door back, the player is sent back to the Overworld. Hearts obtained in the void are converted to seeds which are used to get to the adjacent islands in the Overworld. On these islands the player obtains alterations of the pilgrim along with the bits of poetic verse. Each alteration of the pilgrim changes the gameplay, one allowing you to see more seeds, another offering additional seeds, etc.
The different alterations of the pilgrim.
|The color of the suit:||Description of the altered world:|
|Dark Cyan ||The starting default suit. |
|Blue||The pilgrim can jump to the hight of four cubs, instead of the default three cubs. |
|Purple||You can't dig in any cube, with exception of the pink cube.|
|Pink ||All pink seeds disappear when digging down into one. But the player is still given all seeds corresponding to the number of blocks that disappear. |
|Light Green||You start with five visible seeds, instead of the default three seeds. |
|Red||Instead of digging the default one block down, you dig two blocks down and one out from each side. |
Only two future seed s are visible at the time, instead of the default three. And all connected cubs of the same type, as a navy blue seed is planted in, is transformed into navy blue cubes.
|Fern Green||The pilgrim can only jump up two blocks, instead of the default three blocks. |
|Orange||Seeds grow extremely fast. |
When wearing the black suit, the pilgrim won’t be transformed to the void if he touches the darkened cubes, instead he will be able to walk or jump from them as if they were any other cube, with exception of the blue or fern green cubes. The only way for the player to access the void when wearing the black suit is either by being cornered by the grow patterns of seeds, and thereby being forced into the void, or if trapped in the explosion of the red seed. In the world of the black suit, black holds will also be severely larger. The ability to climb on black cubs, combined with the large black holes give the player a much better opportunity to enter the doors which demands three keys.
|Track Listing||Track Title||Duration|
|4||Starseeds in her eyes||1:56|
The soundtrack created by Ryan Roth, otherwise known as Dualryan, was released on bandcamp April 23, 2013. Ryan is said to have come along by Droqen, just a week or two before release and made nearly every sound you'll hear in the game in the span of three days.
PC System Requirements
Minimum: 512 MB RAM, 30 MB HD SPACE
Recommended: 1 GB RAM
Mac System Requirements
Minimum: 512 MB RAM, 30 MB HD SPACE
Recommended: 1 GB RAM