Initial release date: April 11, 2017
Developer: Zeboyd Games
Publisher: Zeboyd Games
Genre: Role-playing video game
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac
Zeboyd Games has done a stellar job in recent years when it comes to making retro JRPG inspired games such as Breath of Death VII and Cthulu Saves the World; their most recent release of Cosmic Star Heroine is no different at all and if anything shines brighter than the aforementioned games. Cosmic Star Heorine is a game that to me is a call back to the days of Phantasy Star and Chrono Trigger in more ways than one on bot only a graphical style but also in gameplay and in its aesthetics. If you grew up in the 90’s during the Golden Era of JRPGs then you will find yourself smiling at all the little nuances and touches to the game from the battle system, to the animations, to the music, and more! The awesome part is that this game is now available on Nintendo Switch and in my opinion its one of the absolute best games on the Switch!
In Cosmic Star Heroine you star as Alyssa, a special agent operative of the Agency for Peace and Intelligence (API), during a mission you discover that a device that allows the user to mind control others and eventually returns it to HQ. She then comes upon her teammates and together after a few missions they learn that the agency they work for has ulterior motives for how they plan to use the device and like any other adventure its up to you to uncover the truth behind what is going on and why. The story is told very solidly without any snags or slow points and the pacing of the game as a whole is quite snappy so you’ll never feel like you’re moving at a snails pace especially when it comes to the battle system which is as snappy and inspired from Chrono Triger among others.
Progress through the game is generally snappy and linear to an extent similar to how Chrono Trigger is as you wont ever not know where to go as the game is for the most part straight forward and to the point. There are some optional dungeons of which you will find and fight many powerful bosses of which reward you with experience points and items and weapons.
Battles themselves are very fun, you will always see enemies on the screen of which means you’ll never get into random battles however you will always be able to avoid them unless the block a particular route towards an exit or dungeon boss. During battles you can sit on the menu as long as you want to strategize as there is no ATB or Active Turn Battle gauge to count down as the game is very traditional turn based in its battle system. You can make up to eight moves per character into a battle, from a basic attack, to buffs or debuffs. For most characters each move can only be used once at which point it becomes inaccessible. At any point you can rest, which will take up a turn but in return all your used moves will be restored to you.
Combining this with the hyper system, where after a certain amount of turns your next attack will end up being more powerful and the buff system where you can power up your allies for a set number of turns makes juggling your party to maximize damage extremely crucial. There is also the Style system in where the more variety there are in your moves then the higher a character’s style eventually gets of which will increase their damage output. As the battles go on the enemies style also increase so the longer a battle takes the more difficult it is to avoid major damage.
The game gives you multiple difficulty settings so that you can adjust the game to your preferred levels of challenge. There’s also a trophy for beating the very first encounter on the hardest difficulty and that is in itself no joking matter, honestly if you really want a challenge then you do have an option try it. The best part is that you can save anytime you’re not in battle, but even if you do die in a battle you get two options, to go back to the title screen or retry. Retrying restarts the fight as if nothing happened which is very generous and welcome.
The awesome part of this game is that it is a sci-fi setting that allows you to have multiple planets to traverse of which are various overworlds. The planets aren’t the biggest areas to explore but there’s enough variety visually in each planet to keep things fresh and interesting. There are tons of towns and dungeons to explore, some of which are mandatory while others are optional and a few basic side quest style activities to take part in which fleshes out each area nicely.
All in all there’s very little negatives when it comes to Cosmic Star Heroine. While yes the menu navigation could be better overall, comparing various items and equipment when you’re in a shop or when equipping characters that aren’t currently in your party. Minor annoyances but none to ruin your experience overall. This game is definitely HIGHLY recommended and is one of my games of the year. KASANOVA APPROVED!