Sabotage Studios’ Sea of Stars might just be the indie contender for game of the year. The Chrono Trigger-inspired RPG earned high praise from critics and continued to impress general audiences following its August 2023 release. Its engaging combat and storytelling make it a perfect indie for RPG fanatics, especially those who appreciate a balance of serious and silly flavors in their stories. However, it isn’t perfect. There are some parts that are more difficult to figure out than others. To help make things easier, we’ve compiled this list of top tips and tricks that can make your playthrough a lot less painful. Here are eight things we wish we knew before playing Sea of Stars.
Load up on Abacuses early in the game
Sea of Stars has three kinds of accessories. One is your armor, which typically boosts your physical and magical defense stats. Another type of accessory covers belts, scarves, and other accessories that boost stats from HP to attack. The last kind is a special kind of “golden ring” accessory that bestows your characters with special abilities.
That’s where Abacuses fit in. These babies enable characters to view enemy HP bars, except for bosses. Special accessories are generally more difficult to find until later in the game and tend to be expensive. Abacuses make for relatively cheap, useful accessories that you can equip for all your characters until you find better special accessories to replace them with.
You can buy Abacuses early in the game from the merchant in Stonemason’s Outpost, a town full of mole people. At that point, you’ll will only have your protagonist plus two allies. That will eventually grow into six total characters that you can juggle at will. Buy however many Abacuses you think you’ll need. Personally, I wish I’d bought five.
Look at the map if you forget where to go
Sea of Stars doesn’t have a convenient to-do list or quest marker to remind you where you need to go to progress in the main quest. Unlike The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildit doesn’t have an indicator for where you should go at each step of the way. It does have a star symbol that marks the general direction of where you need to go, though.
Just open your map from the main menu. There should be a single yellow star on the map that leads to the marked destination. However, it won’t necessarily tell you where to go in the area to progress the plot. For example, you might need to visit a particular island, but the star won’t tell you which section on the island you have to visit. You can follow our next tip if you need help remembering your objective.
Timed ‘hits’ also apply to healing
One of Sea of Stars’ signature mechanics is the extra damage it rewards you for pressing the attack button at the same time your character executes their attack. You can also trigger timed blocks for when the enemy attacks your characters to reduce damage. A lesser-known trick is that there’s also such a thing as timed healing, where you can recover more health if you press your attack button at an opportune time when your characters are restoring health to themselves and their allies. The timing might vary depending on the particular healing move or item, but it’s worth a shot when you need that extra healing.
Camp if you don’t remember your objective
Sometimes, even if you’re in the right place, you might not remember what you have to do to progress the plot. If so, you can camp and talk to your teammates to refresh your memory.
Sea of Stars offers a camp function between major areas on land so that you can save your game, cook food, talk with teammates, and listen to stories from your token historian, Teaks. It’s only accessible from section maps. Depending on your platform, there should be a designated button that the game prompts you to press for camping.
Press the camp button and wait for the game to transition to the campgrounds. You’ll have the chance to consult with your teammates there, one of which will probably tell you useful information about where you should go.
Turn on Sequent Flare
Sea of Stars uses Relics to adjust the game’s difficulty, but doesn’t have an official difficulty setting. These items can enable conveniences like instant healing after battle, reduced damage, and even the ability to better see when your timed hits land. Sequent Flare, one of the Relics you get toward the start of the game, blasts a colorful flare into the air whenever you successfully time your hits. This visual aid helps those of us who need a clearer indicator for when we time our hits correctly. Even better, it’s free!
Only reel within the highlighted zone
Sea of Stars’ fishing game instructs you to steer and reel in your line when your bait is in the highlighted strip in the middle of the lake. It emphasizes the safe zone in the fishing game instructions when you open up the options menu tutorials. However, some players don’t realize that the steer and reel buttons are meant to be used separately instead of together. You should only hold the reel button when the fish is in the highlighted zone or the line will snap. As a bonus, you can quickly press the reel button when the fish jumps out of the water to stun it.
Save as much as possible
Sea of Stars has autosave, but it’s not guaranteed to save at the most convenient points. You might pass through multiple puzzles and enemies before the autosave kicks in. Unfortunately, you might also be ambushed at low health or fall to an unexpectedly difficult enemy before that point. It might not seem like much of a setback to restart a couple minutes before the point where you had progressed to, but it could get annoying to play through the same course. It’ll especially get old if you happen to fall to the same opponent twice or need to repeat the same puzzles a couple times in a row because you refuse to turn down the difficulty.
With that in mind, backtrack to the latest save point if you anticipate a difficult section or just finished multiple sections of a map that you would find annoying to redo. Your progress will thank you later.
Hold out for the story
This is more of a tip than a recommendation. You might find Sea of Stars‘ premise simplistic at the beginning. However, if you hold on until at least the midpoint, you’ll witness the depth that Sabotage Studios invested into the plot. If you’re a narrative fan like me, then you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Sea of Stars is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.