Zero-bloat fun

Cos­mic Star Heroine

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - by Michael Low

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.

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