Reviews - Updated on April 7, 2022


Gender: husband

Age: 46

Online: since 06.10.2005

Comments: 657

01 April 2020


The authors of Stela worked on the remasters of Rise of Nations and Age of Mythology, participated in the port of Minecraft on the Nintendo Switch, and now help 343 Industries in the development of Halo Infinite. The game itself is clearly designed in the spirit of LIMBO and INSIDE. A quick question: can there be something wrong with such a game?

What was it?

Stela is really very similar to INSIDE – the same art style, minimalism, black and white (mostly, but not only) tones. And the same obvious orientation towards cinematography: there are many beautiful plans here, when, for example, we are shown how a very small figure of a character (in this case, a girl) runs against the backdrop of huge, majestic structures, a lonely moon, a long bridge, a huge tentacle, and so on. .

There is also a lot of surrealism in the plot, and at the end the question arises: what was it? What are these monsters, reminiscent of either huge aliens, or some kind of snowy crocodiles, from which the girl runs away all the way? Why are they attacking her, where is all this happening and what is going on here? We are only briefly informed in the official description that we are talking about “the last days of the mysterious ancient world”, and the young lady is “trying to survive in the dying lands.”

Somewhere we’ve already seen it

The gameplay is also almost identical to what was in INSIDE. Stela is the same side-scrolling platformer where we solve puzzles with the help of the environment. The girl can only run from left to right, jump, drag heavy objects and grab onto ledges. And, of course, pull the levers.

There are also many stealth exercises where we either have to sneak past monsters or run away from them – jump and slide down the mountain, climb onto a hard surface where they won’t reach us, slam a massive door behind us, fill up the passage and so on. In such situations, there are direct quotes from INSIDE. As well as in cases where the heroine runs for a long time along a long passage and periodically takes cover behind something strong (or uses a lantern with a strange blue flame that scares away creatures) so that flocks of bats do not get her or kill her with an explosion.

Stela game review

As with LIMBO, there is a lot of German Expressionist inspiration here.

That’s right, not that

So what’s wrong with Stela? Well, first of all, already in INSIDE all this gameplay minimalism with dragging heavy objects, pressing levers and hiding from monsters seemed somewhat primitive and secondary to LIMBO. And again, doing the same thing is not comme il faut. In addition, Stela developers still have fewer fantasies.

Yes, there are interesting situations and puzzles when, for example, we release one monster from a cage so that it kills another and allows us to pass; we lure enemies into traps designed for us, or we roll down structures falling apart under our feet in order to escape from a giant octopus at the last second. I also liked the puzzle on folding the rune with the help of the game of shadows.

But at the same time, there are a lot of repetitions – over long gameplay segments, we are forced to perform the same exercises with levers or jumping on translucent platforms.

Plus, the story itself is much fresher. Yes, there is also a lot of surrealism and mystery in INSIDE, but there it evoked a lively response, a desire to understand and a feeling that there is a real drama behind everything. And in Stela, the presentation is less intelligible (and it practically doesn’t exist), and the plot itself is colder, or something, something about extraterrestrial civilizations and even about the Illuminati. Yes, the ending is strong and unexpected, but it seems that it is stuck separately, for showiness.

Here is a really interesting situation.


The example of Stela clearly shows that you can’t just take and copy someone else’s hit, counting on the same popularity. If the authors had come up with at least one of their own, unique mechanics, the impressions would have been completely different.

Pluses: in some places there are really interesting puzzles and situations; stylish picture; atmospheric music.

Cons: indistinct plot; gameplay is mostly secondary and monotonous.

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