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:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (67 reviews) - 71% of the 67 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 14, 2011

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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
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (67 reviews)
Recently Posted
Léonard
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 3, 2015
If I was given a chance to refund a single game, it would be this.

There is an interesting mechanic (diving into enemies, power-ups etc.) but its connection to the game is vague at best. Going into something feels nothing more than a “next level” button , thus making it easier to lose track of your progress, everything looks so similar, if not identical.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
jac1002
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 12, 2015
Inception:The Game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
cute goblin girl
( 1.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 3, 2015
Inside a Star-Filled Sky is an extremely clever concept that doesn't ultimately end up going much of anywhere.

The idea is that you're a symbol exploring a top-down universe, shooting at monsters and collecting powerups. The trick, though, is that everything is fractal; instead of grabbing a powerup you can shrink down inside it, and then shrink down inside an enemy inside of that, and so on. You have a procedurally-generated infinity to explore.

Exploring is all there really is to it, though. As far as I've been able to tell there isn't any actual goal except to survive as long as possible and travel as far as possible.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
kijib
( 2.8 hrs on record )
Posted: November 3, 2014
Inception: The Game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
I have no idea what I'm doing.
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: October 31, 2014
Of all the hipster indie trash I've played, this is by far the most pretentious and pointless.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
pine diablo
( 5.2 hrs on record )
Posted: October 28, 2014
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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
x69^4| BaRLeY
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: October 2, 2014
Pointless.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Qblock
( 6.2 hrs on record )
Posted: August 5, 2014
This game is unmistakably a return to a time when video games were more raw, unfinished, and simple. That this game appears to have depth and complexity is itself an illusion. I can count on my fingers the number of new things you will encounter as you play through the levels. My first time, I went as low as level -40. I couldn't seem to figure it out and every time you die, you go down a level. But then I started over, and am currently stuck at around level 118. There is a room full of robots that shoot enough bullets to make a japanese top-down shooter choke, and so to get past it, I went "inside" one of the enemies to try and disable it's weapons through giving it weaker powerups. Instead, now I am trapped inside of it by more crazy robots.

The way I got as far as I have was not actually through a whole lot of careful planning or picking the right items. Instead, I find that I progressed faster by running straight past or through things to the exit. Since when you die you automatically get one of your three "power ups" replaced with about 6 life points, you can burn through those and get to the exit. But, having done this, I am now not strong enough to proceed.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Rush68
( 2.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 13, 2014
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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Madole
( 1.0 hrs on record )
Pre-Release Review
Posted: June 25, 2014
I have no idea what the point of this game is about. no story, it's only a design idea.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Kouen Hasuki
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 11, 2014
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
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Imban
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 3, 2014
"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?" is basically the entire point of this game, and the answer is just that it'd be a procedurally generated game like so many other indie games nowadays, but wrapped in an attempt to make some kind of fancy artistic point out of it.

Honestly, it's exactly what it looks like, though frequently far more boring than the screenshots depict. The game is described as: an "infinite, recursive, tactical shooter". By infinite and recursive, the designer of course means procedurally generated, and by tactical it means you'll often be sitting behind a corner waiting for the one time you can dash out without instantly dying, or choosing to run away into a different level because discretion is the better part of valor. If you're expecting good top-down shooter mechanics, look elsewhere.

The artistic point isn't worth $8, and while it managed to bamboozle me into buying the game, I have no idea how it confused reviewers like IGN's or GamePro's, who actually managed to play the game before writing their reviews. I hope.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
in base 4, 2+2 equals 10
( 47.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24, 2014
This game is great, the idea is superb and the gameplay is excellent. You can go inside of things like enemies to modify them and come out to find that the enemy is something completely different. Imagine directly modifying powerups by going inside of them, then coming out to collect it. The idea is amazing. The excution is great.

Certainly Reccomended.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ivlr3vil
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: February 27, 2014
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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Snapizzle
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: February 2, 2014
This game is punishment wrapped in desire mixed with hope.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bootleg Butlins
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: January 5, 2014
Quite a letdown, only thing i regret having in my library
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bryy_Miller
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: December 30, 2013
This game has literally no point.
No plot.
Just the mechanic of shrinking into objects, with no real end to how small you can possibly get. And while that in itself is an awesome mechanic... it is rendered meaningless because there's just no plot. There's nothin'. It's literally just you going around shooting stuff and getting smaller.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Silencer-X
( 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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Arevan
( 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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Whiskey
( 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
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
58 of 75 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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 Funny
30 of 42 people (71%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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 Funny
18 of 26 people (69%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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 Funny
10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 13, 2014
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 Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 5, 2014
This game is unmistakably a return to a time when video games were more raw, unfinished, and simple. That this game appears to have depth and complexity is itself an illusion. I can count on my fingers the number of new things you will encounter as you play through the levels. My first time, I went as low as level -40. I couldn't seem to figure it out and every time you die, you go down a level. But then I started over, and am currently stuck at around level 118. There is a room full of robots that shoot enough bullets to make a japanese top-down shooter choke, and so to get past it, I went "inside" one of the enemies to try and disable it's weapons through giving it weaker powerups. Instead, now I am trapped inside of it by more crazy robots.

The way I got as far as I have was not actually through a whole lot of careful planning or picking the right items. Instead, I find that I progressed faster by running straight past or through things to the exit. Since when you die you automatically get one of your three "power ups" replaced with about 6 life points, you can burn through those and get to the exit. But, having done this, I am now not strong enough to proceed.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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 Funny
6 of 11 people (55%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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 Funny
7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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 Funny
6 of 12 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 11, 2014
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 Funny
4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
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 Funny
2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2011
This game is mind-destroying, but very fun (even though I'm terrible at it, I still had a bunch of good laughs at my fauilure). The systems are simple on the surface, but can be as complex as you are willing to make them.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 9 people (44%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 5, 2012
Frustratingly poor game design. Single idea with crap tacked ontop.
Game doesn't have a menu, don't have a clue wtf I'm doing or if there are even any other buttons.
WTF do flags do? Is there a ♥♥♥♥ing goal to the game? No? Good, so I won't have to worry about sleepless nights wondering what happens at the end.
♥♥♥♥it
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 27, 2014
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 Funny
2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 19, 2012
Surprisingly deep. Literally.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 24, 2011
"Woah"
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 3, 2015
Inside a Star-Filled Sky is an extremely clever concept that doesn't ultimately end up going much of anywhere.

The idea is that you're a symbol exploring a top-down universe, shooting at monsters and collecting powerups. The trick, though, is that everything is fractal; instead of grabbing a powerup you can shrink down inside it, and then shrink down inside an enemy inside of that, and so on. You have a procedurally-generated infinity to explore.

Exploring is all there really is to it, though. As far as I've been able to tell there isn't any actual goal except to survive as long as possible and travel as far as possible.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 14 people (43%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 2, 2014
This game is punishment wrapped in desire mixed with hope.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 6 people (33%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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.
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2 of 6 people (33%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2013
I just don't get it.

The game throws you violently into gameplay, with little explanation on what to do. There's no tutorial later on, you pretty much have to figure out everything by yourself.

The game itself is very confusing if you don't know how it works. For my part, I still can't figure out what each thing does, or what the goal even is. The art is fine and pretty good actually, but there's nothing much more to it. What a pity!

Unless you can reach out to the developer so he can explain what the hell you're supposed to do, then you might be better off not getting this game, or at least, not until it gets polished a little more!
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2 of 6 people (33%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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.
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