Inside a Star-filled Sky is an infinite, recursive, tactical shooter by award-winning designer Jason Rohrer (Passage, Between). What if you could enter an object in a level and find a level inside of it? What if you could enter an object in that level and find another level inside of that?
User reviews: Mixed (61 reviews)
Release Date: May 14, 2011

Sign in to add this game to your wishlist or mark as not interested

Buy Inside a Star Filled Sky

 

Reviews

“A beautiful, violent crumb from infinity's table”
9/10 – IGN

“Eloquently translates the incomprehensible concept of infinity into game form... Alternately maddening and sublime”
4/5 – GamePro

About This Game

Inside a Star-filled Sky is an infinite, recursive, tactical shooter by award-winning designer Jason Rohrer (Passage, Between). What if you could enter an object in a level and find a level inside of it? What if you could enter an object in that level and find another level inside of that?

What if you could change an enemy or a power-up from the inside? What if you could enter and change yourself? What if these levels inside levels inside levels went all the way down---and all the way up?

Inside a Star-filled Sky is a hard, procedurally-generated shmup built around this core concept.

Key features:

  • Unique recursive gameplay
  • Enter things---enemies, power-ups, and even yourself---to alter them for your tactical advantage
  • Procedurally generated levels, along with a massive bullet combo system, offer limitless tactical variety
  • Dozens of ways to approach each challenge---reflex your way through, blast your way through, or think your way through
  • Dynamic soundtrack is procedurally generated based on moment-to-moment gameplay
  • Plant your flag throughout an infinite level space to mark your discoveries, and see flags planted by others via a global flag server

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 900 MHz
    • Memory: 40 MB
    • Hard Disk Space: 10 MB
    • Video Card: Onboard Graphics
    • Sound: Standard Audio
    • OS: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
    • Processor: 900MHz Intel
    • Memory: 40 MB
    • Hard Disk Space: 10 MB
    • Video Card: Onboard Graphics
    • Sound: Standard Audio
Helpful customer reviews
9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
To infinity and beyond!

65/100 Jason Rohrer's "Inside a Star-filled Sky" is an experimental multi-directional shooter with danmaku, tactical elements, beautiful pixel art style and pleasant melody for soundtrack. But author's vaunted recursion disappeared into the depths of infinite levels...

P. S. Preferable to buy it on sales or in bundles.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
If you enjoy the concept of games as art than this could be for you. I find it to be one of those games I can get lost in for a few 15 minute sessions here and there. There are some points where it's either over the top difficult or because of the power ups you've achieved it's too easy but those moments in between are great fun.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
I really liked this game. It was frustrating AS ♥♥♥♥ sometimes, but I still enjoyed it a ton. It does have a far-off goal for you to reach eventually, and it was very pretty. Would recommend.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
I've played it much more out of Steam but I really like it. Be warned though that you are getting into a sparse and difficult game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
27 of 39 people (69%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 5, 2013
Inside a Star-Filled Sky is a game developed by the lone indie developer Jason Rohrer. Inside a Star-Filled Sky is exactly the type of game I'd expect to see win some kind of award at the IGF - but winning an award at the IGF doesn't necessarily mean it's a good game.

Insidie a Star-Filled Sky is a novel concept and little more. The game itself is themes around the idea of recursion where you 'enter' power ups and enemies. While this is a nice idea it doesn't really impact the gameplay that much and each item you enter is effectively just the next room. I did appreciate the power up mechanics. You can collect up to 3 powerups and they can be combined in interesting ways to produce interesting effects. This fact alone, however, is not enough to merit a recommendation from me.

As a product, the game is very unpolished and feels like a prototype - for example editing the controls involves manually editing a config file. There's also no sound effects to speak of, just some ambiance music.

There are some nice ideas here but I don't feel the developer took time to flesh them out into a compelling gaming experience and instead delivered us a rough prototype.

Score: 3.5/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No
16 of 22 people (73%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 13, 2012
Perfect example of how NOT to use procedural generation: as the content of the entire game. This is an unfinished program with no vision. Your only purpose is to pilot around from randomly generated level to randomly generated level finding better upgrades so that you can kill the enemies in the way more easily.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2013
The developer's website (http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/jason-rohrer/) lists his entire published portfolio. Critics of this game should try some of Jason Rohrer's freeware releases. What British mathematician John Conway did for games as procedural life generators, Jason Rohrer has been doing for games as statements about ethics and the limits of human consciousness. But while Conway's "Game of Life" is a wide-open laboratory, Jason Rohrer uses the medium of pseudorandomness to make syllogistic statements. For example, each step you take in "Passage" brings you a bit closer to the same conclusion: when facing a finite lifespan, the love you make is worth more than the treasure you take. Fairly straightforward conclusion, yet "Passage" is never hamfisted or forced - reasoned argument always trumps hand-waving assertion.

"Inside a Star-filled Sky" forgoes syllogistic logic in favor of inductive reasoning. As you traverse each level, you'll discover that you lack the attack power and/or movement speed to reach the exit. So, you must power up your creature and weaken your enemies. This means diving recursively into a powerup, an enemy, or even yourself. As these recursive levels stack up, you face the identical problem at each local scope: how to weaken the obstacles and strengthen yourself. All with an eye toward unwinding the stack and solving the original problem. And so the game politely asks the player to consider a simple proposition: observed casuality in the universe is not a linear function of time but rather an ex post facto selection of one set of points in a multi-dimensional space of possibilities, with each possibility perched on a stack of turtles all the way down. But the game actually makes this statement more elegantly than I ever could.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 24, 2013
Interesting concept and gameplay but nothing there to make you want to continue playing after an hour.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2013
I love how this game makes me think creatively when I play it. Excellent example of how the latest computers and graphics are not required for a game to have a surprising amount of depth. Bravo to Rohrer for creatively expanding the medium without perpetuating the industry's ever expanding, harmful, and needless hardware and software upgrade cycles.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2013
Interesting concept where you dive inner(or outer) from yourself, an enemy or power up in order to make the subject in question weaker, stronger or different in order to get to the "next level".

Once you figure out the concept of the game... well, that's pretty much it. There is no story so going through each "level" is pretty much like playing in an arcade, where you are just going for the points. That's not a bad thing, but for me, I wish there was more.

I still recommend the game due to the fact that it has a VERY unique gameplay system. If anything, this game is still worth the trip, even if it is just for a little while!
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 27
It's a weird game, a shooter where you're plopped in and never really ends. Sort of a zen-like experience that is fun to just pass the time away. There isn't much of a failure state, when you're shot you are sent back a level. It's one of the games I don't mind just plopping back into for it's simplicity.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
A very wierd but fun game that makes me think of Gauntlet for some reason

Video Review Below:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=269705143
Was this review helpful? Yes No
6 of 13 people (46%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 3
Inception: The Game
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 9 people (44%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2013
It's entertaining for all of five minutes, by which point it begins to feel like it has outlived its purpose. The gimmick is neat, but there's so little actual game here that it's not worth even a few bucks to give it a try. If you want a sense of infinity, go look up Space Engine or some such prodecural game with real scope- IaSFS just manages to feel claustrophobic, and since the entire premise is procedural generation, thoughtless.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 12, 2012
"we need to go deeper!"
An infinitely procedurally generated word. Infinite in the scope of a human lifetime.
Go into enemies to make them weaker, go into power ups to make them stronger.

Like "Inception", except, it NEVER ends.

Insanely difficult, and hard to manage where you are. Very interesting, and majorly rewarding when you finally get to a place and plant your flag in a place NO HUMAN has ever been.

7.5/10 Try, a must if you like shooters or very interesting indies.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
24.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 15, 2011
An amazing bullet hell shmup. A marvel of simple design using complex concepts with confident execution. Jason Rohrer finally makes a gamers game, without abandoning his lofty concepts of art in the framework of game design.

I could go on about the procedurally generated levels and enemies, the over one hundred thousand bullet power up combos, the recursive progression through (into? out of?) levels and the emergent game play the arises from this mix. I could talk about the philisophical implications that these factors evoke. But I'm just going to leave it at this; It's a blast of a shmup that will give you infinite variety within the framework of its design.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2011
This game is so wonderfully confusing. Honestly the reviews say more than I can think to say. I will say this, just as you start to comprehend the rabbit hole you're exploring it slaps you in the face and amazes you all over again. It's freaking hard but it's just so beautiful.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 12, 2011
Interesting idea. Not very much for gameplay, but great for "infinite arcade" possibility.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 1, 2013
there are no skies in this game
Was this review helpful? Yes No