New Xbox One release Pirates of First Star – from the creators of Final Star, funnily enough – has an art direction more distinct than most, created using popsicle sticks, yarn, and clay.

Precisely $162 worth of crafting materials, in fact. Over 600 models were created, photographed using a Samsung mobile, and then uploaded into Photoshop ready to be cropped and added to the game.

From the press release: “The characters are claymation. My artistic skills are lacking, and my budget was lacking even more, so I had to figure out a way to pull this off. I built a stand out of popsicle sticks that could hold a model and the camera. I had no idea what kind of clay to buy, so I just went to Michaels and bought the cheapest clay they had. I used yarn for the hair. I still think cutting the scalp off of dolls and plopping it into a clay head would have been the best method, but have you seen how much dolls cost nowadays!?”

“Pirates of First Star borrows heavily from classic games. There’s no map. There’s no arrows pointing you where to go. The game is 3D, but it keeps the view narrowed without 360 degrees of visibility so that the world can be memorized quickly – but also there are a ton of secrets hidden – even in plain sight. What I really want is every player to – at least one time to say ‘I can’t believe I didn’t find that sooner.’

Pirates of First Star is available now on Xbox One and PC, with crowdfunding for possible PS4 and Switch versions currently underway.

“It’s a modest amount – $3,500 to get those versions out. It’s vital that they release in 2019. I’d rather take my chances going up against Christmas than some of these huge titles that are coming out in early 2020. And then, just when you think it’s safe – here’s Cyberpunk to slap us all back to reality. It would almost be fun just to release at the same time – just to see if you could sell 1 copy. Well, good luck to whoever attempts that!”