Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Go To

After encountering an alien who crash-landed on Earth, astrophysicist Victor St. Grand befriended the creature and put together a secret task-force called the "Starlink Initiative" to explore the Atlas star system from which the alien originated. One day, while the group was searching for new information about the Wardens, they are attacked by a group called the Forgotten Legion, and St. Grand is kidnapped for his knowledge of the ancient race's technology. It is now up to your crew to not only save the captain, but also stop the Legion from uncovering the ancient civilization's lost technology and using it to conquer the galaxy.

Announced during E3 2017, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a third-person action adventure game developed by Ubisoft Toronto for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One and released on October 16, 2018. The game allows the player to freely customize various aspects of their ships for land and space combat, as well as make use of different pilots for special effects such as slowing down time. Players can also seamlessly travel across the star system, visiting its various planets and making alliances with other alien races. Starlink features an optional "Toys to Life" component, with ship parts being available for purchase as either physical real-world figures or digital in-game items, with the former allowing for instantaneous swapping of ship parts during gameplay.


The game is notable for the Nintendo Switch version doubling as a crossover with Nintendo's Star Fox, wherein Fox McCloud and company are in Atlas searching for the whereabouts of Wolf O'Donnell before deciding to help the Starlink Initiative on their quest as well. This version of the game has Fox as a playable character with his own exclusive set of missions regarding the hunt for Wolf. On Spring 2019, the version will get another update, now allowing the player to use Falco, Slippy, and Peppy as available pilots, with an all new scenario involving the other members of Star Wolf: Leon, Andrew, and Pigma.

You can watch the 2017 E3 reveal trailer here, the 2018 E3 gameplay trailer here, and the Star Fox reveal trailer here.



  • Abusive Precursors: The Forgotten Legion seems to be. Subverted, they're old, but they're just rogue army droids made by the Benevolent Precursors.
  • Adaptational Badass: Fox's crew go from dubiously useful allies and color commentators to killing machines that can take down scores of enemies once sufficiently upgraded.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Downplayed with Wolf: while he was never a heroic character, the Star Fox franchise usually depicts Wolf as being, at worst, a hired gun or an independent Space Pirate with a personal code of honor. Here, he’s an aspiring Galactic Conqueror who seeks to harness the Forgotten Legion’s technology and destroy Corneria.
  • Airstrike Impossible: After destroying a Dreadnought's turrets, laser arrays, and missile bay, the next step is to fly into the Dreadnought itself, dodging defensive laser barriers along the way, and then blow up the reactor to finish the ship off.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Chase literally lost them in a racing accident. Not that it stops her from pursuing sport running and motorsport; she got her destroyed limbs replaced with prosthetics and continues to do what she loves, along with being a top-class combat pilot.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Eli is torn between the bloody unfairness of the Legion wrecking the Atlas expedition settlements and his knowledge that the greed and debauchery that all the newly-rich miners were succumbing to (including his parents) made the slaughter somewhat karmic.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Encouraged by Precision weapons, which do the most damage when they attack the weakest parts of the enemy.
  • Benevolent Precursors: The Wardens, who immediately realized the Forgotten Legion had gone mad, and not only put them in a can but left behind secrets on how to contain them if someone such as Grax let them loose.
  • Big Bad: Grax, leader of the Forgotten Legion who wants to use the ancient technology for sinister purposes.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Observatories may not have a whole lot of utility beyond revealing more of the planet's map, but they are still Alliance facilities where you can repair ships and sell valuable resources (especially cores) for a sweet price. If you don't have the Nova or Electrum to build fancier facilities like Armories or Refineries, Observatories are a good way to get the Alliance meter rolling at a low cost. They also reveal things like Warden Spires and other potential outposts.
    • Buying the Equinox Upgrades for fast travel to Warden Spires and destroyed Outlaw bases can save a lot of time travelling.
    • Any time you're in a planet's atmosphere, it's easier to just attack enemies with you on the ground. Sure, you won't be doing any fancy dogfighting, but given that there are almost no flight-based non-space enemies (the Final Boss on Atlus B itself forces you to take to the air due to setting the ground on fire, and that's about it) and none of the weapons are designed around air-to-ground assault, it's much easier to just strafe and jump your way around enemies and their attacks as if you're in a humanoid-based Third-Person Shooter.
    • In particular, when facing a high-level Legion Prime, it's a bad idea to attack it from the air during its second and fourth phases. The crystals on its legs can fire multiple homing flame missiles that are almost impossible to avoid, and will easily overtax your blocking shield. It doesn't have this attack in its third phase, but you'll generally want to be on the ground as much as possible when fighting it (provided you can even stay airborne; you may end up fighting it inside an Extractor cloud).
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You:
    • The captains of Legion Dreadnoughts will taunt you every time you advance to a new phase of the fight.
    • Outlaws will regularly pepper you with verbal harassment while they wear you down.
    • If you are shot down in a fight with any of the above, and choose to retreat, the enemy you were fighting will basically mock you for your cowardice.
  • Cool Ship: All playable starfighters are this, but special mention goes to the game's take on the Arwing.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Fox mentions that he and his wingmates are looking for Wolf O'Donnell.
    • In the Crimson Moon DLC, when escorting Leon to the Void, he asks Falco whether he's really appreciated in Star Fox, or if it's fun hanging out with them. If you really read between the lines, however (and have knowledge of obscure bits of series lore), you'll realize that this dialogue foreshadows events that happen between Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Adventures. That's right: this foreshadows Farewell, Beloved Falco, in which he goes rogue and disobeys orders that drive a wedge between him and Fox, making him leave the team for years.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Legion Extractors, stationary mining machines with powerful defensive weapons. To damage one, players must first take out the Extractor’s Nodes (which also function as Turrets), which then exposes its vulnerable Core to attack.
  • Crisis Crossover: Mason believes Star Fox and the Starlink pilots can help each other out.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Obtaining fauna samples require you to attack the fauna in question until it drops the sample. This is required for certain outpost quests and getting 100% Completion for each planet, by the way.
  • Dark Messiah: Grax, the leader of a Scary Amoral Religion who worships the using the Forgotten Legion to conquer the universe.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Certain events mostly use one character for dialogue, such as Hunter for reporting the Starlink-Legion status on each planet. If that character is currently being used by the player, another pilot will be used for that dialogue instead.
    • Normally, Shaid is the one who briefs you when you take on Outlaw outposts. If Shaid is being controlled by the player, her dialogue changes, making it more like a monologue.
    • If you have already purchased Kharl or Eli before they're encountered in the story, their NPC roles are replaced by generic Expedition and Prospector members respectively.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • There's nothing stopping you from attempting to obtain the mods from each planet's Wonder site early in the game, except for a bulky enemy that's at level 20. If you're skilled and patient enough, you can obtain it and make use of their benefits immediately.
    • After you gain access to a Workshop on the third planet, combined with the right Equinox upgrades, it's entirely possible to end up rolling in Legendary-quality mods before the first Dreadnaught shows up.
    • Fox's Rock 'n Roll summons one of his crew to fight alongside him. However, before they actually hit the battlefield, said member of Star Fox will first strike a targeted enemy for a ludicrous amount of damage. This potentially allows Fox to defeat "Wonder" bosses with relative ease no matter what level he is.
  • Downloadable Content: You can obtain new ships, pilots, and guns either through digital microtransactions or you can buy the physical figures.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Wolf in his original appearances was happy enough just being a hired gun, but once he gets in Atlas, he changes his goals to destroy Corneria and conquer the galaxy. This game marks the first time Wolf takes the Big Bad spot against Star Fox.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Outlaw Armor mod, only equippable on Outlaw ships, prevents enemy Outlaws from being able to target your ship. It also prevents them from attacking you, unless you provoke them. The effect is strictly functional; it doesn't make any cosmetic changes to your ship.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The Warrior Core enables the ability to double jump. With a light enough starship, it's possible to basically ignore the handful of jumping puzzles the game throws at you.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The game gradually unveils its strategic elements over the course of the story before the Legion unleashes its assault on Atlas. The player can liberate settlements and upgrade bases early on to get a head start.
  • Elemental Powers: There are four weapon elements available: Fire, Ice, Gravity, and Stasis. There are also weapons classified as "Kinetic", which simply means Non-Elemental.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Fire-elemental enemies are weak to Ice weapons, Ice-elemental enemies are weak to Fire weapons, and Gravity-elemental enemies are weak to Stasis weapons. It's safe to assume that if Stasis-elemental enemies actually existed, they would be weak to Gravity weapons.
  • Experienced Protagonist: A good deal of the cast already has plenty of combat experience, or at least experience with vehicles, when the game begins:
    • Chase is a professional athlete and motorsport driver who literally lost An Arm and a Leg in a racing accident, and still can run, drive, and pilot a ship with the help of prosthetic limbs.
    • Shaid is a former Outlaw, and her days as one have trained her to take enemies by surprise, resulting in her Vanish Pilot Ability.
    • Eli is a Prospector who has lived long enough to tell first-hand stories of the days of the Electrum Rush.
    • Kharl is a member of the Expedition, using his research to aid the Starlink team even when he's not currently in a cockpit.
    • Fox is, of course, an experienced mercenary doing business as usual, just not in his usual star system.
  • Flunky Boss: Dreadnoughts and Outlaw bases periodically summon fighters to deal with you. Said fighters are very powerful and have high accuracy with their shots, so don't think you can safely ignore them and just focus on the main target's turrets.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Some dialogue in the Star Fox portion of the Crimson Moon DLC seem to be hinting at Falco eventually desiring to leave the team in Farewell, Beloved Falco, an extremely obscure manga drawn for the Japanese release of Star Fox Adventures that illustrates what happens between 64 and Adventures.
    • At the beginning of the game, St. Grand asks Mason to take his ship, the Zenith, telling him that he's ready. Halfway through the game, Victor dies and Mason becomes leader.
  • Fun Size: Invoked with the Star Fox crew. When put next to the main cast, they only come up a little above their waists, though they can still be killer rabbits in the right hands.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Grax and Wolf both aspire to take over the galaxy by harnessing the technology of the Forgotten Legion.
  • Genki Girl: Chase is one, cheerful and energetic, despite losing an arm and a leg in a racing accident.
  • Going Commando: When he's out on his own, Levi tends to fly his spaceship sans trousers.
  • Guest Fighter: The Nintendo Switch version features Fox McCloud from Star Fox as a playable character, with the rest of Star Fox (Falco, Peppy and Slippy) being summoned by Fox's pilot skill and Wolf as an Arc Villain.
  • Handicapped Badass: Chase lost An Arm and a Leg in a motor racing accident, and had to have them replaced with prosthetics. It hasn't stopped her from being a world-class athlete or combat pilot.
  • Hold the Line: Every time you hack a ruins artifact or a crashed Drake, a timer counts down and you have to fend off enemy Legion that you've attracted until the timer runs out. The timer stops if you leave the defensive radius or go into flight mode, and the hacking attempt is aborted entirely if you don't land or get back in the area in 10 seconds.
  • Jumped at the Call: Fox, Falco and Slippy fly in to help the Equinox. Peppy reluctantly joins them.
  • "Just Frame" Bonus: Shielding against an enemy projectile at the last possible moment causes it to be reflected back. Some mods amplify the damage dealt by reflected projectiles.
  • Large and in Charge: Grax is easily twice the size of his cultist minions, and towers over the captive St. Grand in cutscenes.
  • Last Lousy Point: Trying to get 100% Completion for each planet? Have fun finding the final sample for a given planet, because the only thing tha tells you that attacking the local fauna is what will get you that last sample is the occasional outpost quest.
  • Laughably Evil: Star Wolf is this in the Crimson Moon DLC, at least Startail thinks so.
  • Limit Break: Each pilot has a unique one, often in the form of a powerful attack or buff. This can range from temporary invincibility, to a rhythm minigame that damages all enemies in the vicinity, to calling in a member of the Star Fox team to support you.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Grax and his followers all wear birdlike masks.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: St. Grand dies shortly after he's rescued from the Legion.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The Starfox theme kicking in when Fox calls his teammates in for help.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • Every time you complete a Warden Spire puzzle, Kharl drops an analysis of the Spire's physical properties and how it could've been used by the Wardens to influence the planet you're on.
    • Every time you open an Electrum Ruch Cache, Eli gives a little history lesson on the days of the Electrum Rush.
  • Mythology Gag: The Star Fox trailer has Fox Speaking Simlish on the ship's communicator in the same manner as the original game before his onscreen reveal, even down to using the same sound effects.
  • No Warping Zone: Outlaws prey on passing ships using hyperspace traps, spherical energy nets that force any ship which flies into them out of hyperspeed. The traps aren’t infallible, however, as they have small holes which a skilled pilot can fly through to avoid triggering them.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Averted. Grax and the Legion actively build new installations and Primes to replace destroyed ones.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Trade Sector, particularly Krite, become this with Mason's Mentor Skill combined with easy-to-gain Experience-boosting mods. The relative lack of danger, combined with the planet's small size, makes completing quests for the various outposts a breeze for the same reward you'd get from any other planet. And then there's the Spirit of Electrum that often spawns while you're out questing.
  • Post-Final Boss: After the player takes out the Legion Scion, Grax confronts them in his personal ship. He proves significantly less of a threat than the Scion, having far less health and less dangerous attacks.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: You can change your weapons on the fly, but only if you have the physical toys present. Otherwise, you'll need to pause the game first.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Grax’s eyes occasionally glow red when he expresses malicious intent.
  • Refusal of the Call: Peppy, if only briefly. He's quick to remind Fox of their original mission and how helping Starlink would be a distraction, but the others quickly leave to join the fight before he can argue further, begrudgingly lending his assistance as well.
  • Religion of Evil: Grax and his cult, who seek to honor the Wardens by conquering the galaxy. An interesting case where the gods of the Religion Of Evil are explicitly benevolent, the problem is Grax's interpretation.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Mason Rana, the newest pilot in the Starlink Initiative.
  • Scary Amoral Religion: Grax and his followers view the Benevolent Precursors as gods who uplifted them. They further believe that gives them a right to conquer the galaxy in their name.
  • Sequel Hook: Several, including Wolf escaping Star Fox, a rogue Expedition scientist still at large and the fact that Judge's home has not yet been found by the end of the game.
  • Sequence Breaking: It's not mandatory to destroy a number of Extractors to take on a Prime, or to destroy all of a sector's Primes to take down their Dreadnought. While it certainly makes the process easier (reducing the steps it takes to destroy the unit higher in the hierarchy), destroying a unit higher in the totem pole yields tremendous benefits, such as completely neutering the Legion's influence on a planet for a while, for instance.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • The Arwing's standard laser cannons work almost exactly as they do in Star Fox: they typically fire in short machinegun-like bursts, and each one can also be charged to fire a highly damaging Homing Projectile.
    • The Levitator. It's a homing missile that does a lot of damage and can be used either as a siege weapon or a combat weapon. Its status effect, Stasis Overload, slows down enemies and can be comboed with other elements to create an explosion that damages the target and surrounding enemies. And since there's no Stasis-elemental enemies, it works well on 99% of all enemies.
    • The Frost Barrage. It's the closest thing to homing cluster missiles, making it a godsend in space combat. It helps that in space combat there's no elemental enemies. It's also really helpful against the Fire Giants, which can be quite mobile for their size.
  • Space Pirates: Shaid is a pirate who's stolen from the most dangerous people in the galaxy. Atlas is also infested with Outlaws who try to blow up your ship.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The Switch version of Starlink: Battle for Atlas is often referred to as being a new entry in the Star Fox series in everything but name. The open-world space gameplay is seen as one of the better experiments with the franchise's formula, and many previews had journalists impressed by how seamless the addition of Nintendo characters was done.
      • More specifically, the game has a lot of similarities to Star Fox 2, in which the player would defend Corneria from assault by destroying enemy weapons and strongholds. The difference here is that you have multiple planets to defend and you can set up bases of your own.
    • The game in general may be a more successful version of No Man's Sky, taking the concept of exploring planets, harvesting resources, and interacting with sentient lifeforms, all without the monotony and questionable hurdles this time around.
  • Stalked by the Bell: Once you destroy a Prime that's linked to an active Dreadnought, the Dreadnought will prepare a new Prime, usually in 60-90 minutes, or less depending on difficulty. If the Dreadnought is not dealt with by then, it will deploy a new Prime.
  • Take That!: St. Grand's file on Levi criticizes Levi for being obsessed with taking selfies and sneaking aboard the Equinox in the name of posting his selfies on social media, a not-so-subtle jab at the "Instagram generation" / "lots-of-social-media-followers generation" and their reputation of prioritizing Social Media Before Reason.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: What the titular Starlink system boils down to; a high-precision transporter that allows for literally on-the-fly starship reconfiguration. And with enough power, it becomes a reliable FTL alternative for making jumps that are otherwise impossible for the setting's main form of FTL travel.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Using Fox's Limit Break summons a member of the Star Fox team while the Corneria theme from the original Star Fox overrides the soundtrack. Thanks to upgrades that extend its duration, and the initial salvo's ability to land a one-hit-kill on just about anything, you'll likely hear it for the entirety of the battle you used it for.
  • Third-Person Person: Korfax, the outlaw leader, talks like this.
  • Turns Red: Legion Primes and Dreadnoughts have multiple phases, and each phase has more dangerous attacks than the last. You can force Legion Primes to lose their later forms, even going as far as to only have their first form, by reducing Legion influence on the planet, with the destruction of Extractors being the most effective way to do so.
  • Universal Driver's License: Levi, who despite being a stowaway with no training whatsoever, can somehow pilot a starfighter as easily as the rest of the team, and his Limit Break provides an Invincibility Power-Up.
  • Universal Translator: The Equinox has software which can translate alien speech into English.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dreadnought captains and Outlaw Leaders go through this when you destroy their ships.
  • Version Exclusive Content: The Switch version gets access to characters, vehicles and missions taken from the Star Fox franchise.
  • Wild Samoan: Averted with Hunter, though he is still a capable soldier, pilot, and warrior whose talents focus on raw offense. He's basically the calmest playable character in the game.

Example of: