At face value, StarCraft Cartooned is a DLC for StarCraft Remastered that replaces every visual element of the game (excluding cinematics) with cartoonish graphics from Carbot Animations. Every single unit, building and element have been changed to a cute cartoon style akin to that of the Carbot cartoons by Canadian artist and animator Jonathan Burton. It will cost you 10 Euro which is roughly R157 and there are no gameplay changes, no story changes or anything like that.
But StarCraft Cartooned is more than just a reskin of StarCraft: Remastered. It is that feeling you get when you meet up with an old friend after years without seeing each other. They might have a new haircut, but you still instantly click and talk for hours on end. That’s the feeling I got when I first booted up StarCraft Cartooned and it is pure nostalgic bliss.
Check out the StarCraft Cartooned trailer below to see it in motion.
Everything now has this cute, cartoon look to it, from the UI in which the cinematics play which looks like a cinema, to the iconic characters in both the original StarCraft and the Broodwar campaigns, to multiplayer, custom games and everything else. That’s to say, everything now looks so darn cute, from the tiny Zerglings to Jim Raynor himself, Zeratul and even Sarah Kerrigan as well as her evolution as the Queen of Blades.
These characters are very near and dear to me and I spent most of my high school years faking the flu to play the original StarCraft: Broodwar on the Korean server for literally thousands of hours. If you are like me and played the game to death back in the day, or still enjoy StarCraft: Remastered, then StarCraft Cartooned is the perfect reason to return to the Koprulu sector.
The light-hearted cartoon style makes those Ultralisks look like big puppies you just want to hug, while you will still struggle to get those Dragoons up ramps on Lost Temple, all while trying to manage your base and resources. There are some really cool animations for some of the iconic characters as well, for example, Zeratul doing a flip when he attacks an enemy. Then, we have the environment and buildings, with my personal favourite being when you see a little Zergling swimming in the Spawning Pool for the first time.
It is these moments that not only makes the StarCraft Cartooned DLC worth it but made me feel that I would pay full AAA game price for it. Not just because of the cute, cartoonish graphics, but because it brings back so many wonderful memories with a new coat of paint that left me in awe at the detail, passion and work put into this project.
As mentioned at the start, every gameplay aspect remains exactly the same and so does the campaign missions, from the iconic first survival mission to all those “important characters must survive” missions and everything in between. Gameplay remaining the same in StarCraft Cartooned is actually a very good thing, as you still get that sharp, world-class RTS experience and yes, you can even play multiplayer matches with StarCraft Cartooned enabled, complete with Ranked Ladder and even custom games. This allowed me to play the game against those who don’t have the DLC which means it doesn’t split the community at all.
One would think that with the cartoonish, light-hearted graphics, it takes away from the essence of the iconic characters, stages and the three races, but it does not. Although many of the characters and units look quite different thanks to the Carbot cartoon style, they are still instantly recognizable even in mission briefings.
The only minor issue I have with StarCraft Cartooned is that building damage doesn’t seem to be portrayed correctly, especially when it comes to Supply Depots on the Terran side. There are huge flames when the building isn’t even below 70% health, making it look like it will explode soon. This makes judging damage in an intense game hard, as one need all those small visual aids to compete on a high level. However, this was the one and the only issue I experienced and only when playing against Terran opponents.
In short, StarCraft Cartooned is a reason to go back to the best RTS ever created once again. Nothing changes in terms of gameplay, but the units and characters have been cartoonified in such a way that it keeps the essence of what makes StarCraft: Broodwar so great and everything is just so cute that I simply couldn’t stop until I finished all six-story campaigns yet again.
For old-school RTS fans, this is a must-have DLC that will drag you back to the Koprulu sector, burrowing into your heart and never letting you go. For me, it is one of the best PC gaming experiences I have had in the last couple of years and it just brought back so many memories of the good old days.
Everything you remember will still be there and you will instantly recognise it all, experience the chess-like RTS gameplay in multiplayer and get filled to the brim with nostalgia during the campaign.
En Taro Adun executor, your nostalgic, cartoonish bliss awaits on Battle.net.
This hands-on was based on a StarCraft Cartooned key provided to us by Blizzard Entertainment.
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