Cosmic Star Heroine
Old-school JRPG fix
Games born from crowdfunding efforts tend to miss their promised launch date, to the point that backers are increasingly desensitized to such delays. Case in point, it took the team who brought us indie gems like Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World close to four years to release Cosmic Star
Heroine – which can be best described as a love letter to turn-based JRPG fans. In fact, the sci-fi themed game could easily be mistaken for a long-lost 16-bit SNES/Genesisera game, thanks in large to its 2D pixel art aesthetics, but with some modern visual touches thrown into the mix.
The heroine in question is Alyssa L’Salle, who served as a secret agent at the Agency of Peace & Intelligence (API). Her discovery of a disturbing conspiracy within the agency forced her to go rogue with a few trusted allies as they seek to right the wrongs and save the galaxy from totalitarian terror. Within the first couple of hours, you’ll find that the plot moves along at a brisk pace, leading to new locations, optional rewards, and an eclectic cast of characters. Key story moments, on the other hand, are brilliantly depicted by brief animated cutscenes, which looked like they could’ve been lifted from a Sega CD game. Battle smart Like Chrono Trigger, party members traverse the field map in a single file line – complete with diagonal movement and visible enemies. That means no superfluous combat transition, as your party will get into battle position the moment they make contact with the patrolling enemies. As far as turn-based battles go, Cosmic
Star Heroine delivers a combat system where every command matters. Each character learns additional skills as they level up, while the shields and accessories that they equip may introduce active/passive abilities and buffs.
Character sprites are also highly reminiscent of Chrono
Trigger, and depending on your party setup, it’s possible to unleash unique multicharacter attacks. The meat of the strategy comes in the form of Hyper Bar and Turn Order. Not unlike the one found in Final Fantasy X, the Turn Order bar lets you plan your moves ahead of the next enemy’s turn, and time your best attacks to coincide with a full Hyper Bar. This is important as skills are mostly single use, until you waste a turn to recharge these abilities. Items that are shared among the party members are also single use, but will only be usable in the next battle. Thankfully, there’s rarely a need to grind as every encounter – both mobs and bosses – are challenging, but never unfairly so.
CONCLUSION A satisfying JRPG throwback that’s a little light on story.
There’s a diverse cast of characters to be found in this game.
Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.