This past month I have fallen in love with a little game called Cosmic Star Heroine. It’s a Kickstarter by Zeboyd Games, featuring 16-bit graphics and a conspiracy story set on another planet. Because of the retro art style and turn-based combat, I would recommend it specifically to gamers who enjoy those things. It’s not for everybody. But it feels made for me, and since it’s not a AAA title getting tons of attention, I want to make sure to share it with you all. Here are a few reasons I’m loving it so much.
Pixelated Sci-fi: I love the 16-bit graphic style of the game. The fact that it’s science fiction makes it feel really fresh to me, too — a perfect mash-up of retro and futuristic. The soundtrack is by turns ominous sound effects (like you would hear in a sci-fi movie from the 60’s) and synth music that would get people dancing in the 80’s. Get ready for the nostalgia as you dive into this futuristic conspiracy story!
Kickass Characters: You play as Alyssa L’Salle, a superspy at a peacekeeping and intelligence agency on a fictional planet. You also have a hacker with you, a wacky girl with a gun, a singer who isn’t afraid to get into trouble, a man named Sue, an alien… Everybody adds something to the team in terms of combat, but I also love that they have unique personalities when they’re just exploring and talking things over, too. You have four characters in your party at any given time, and each combination brings something a little different to a fight.
Dialogue Galore: This game features visual novel-style/JRPG-style pop-ups at the bottom of the screen, with dialogue you read and click through. And there’s tons of it — much of it optional but amazing. You can click on any character in the environment to talk to them. Literally every single one has dialogue, and a lot of it is really funny. You can even talk to cats on the street, most of whom say “Meow” — but one was an alien cat who totally freaked me out with his dialogue. The game is just full of weird conversations, references to Zeboyd’s previous Cthulu game, and insight into the world you’re exploring.
Rewarding Turn-Based Combat: Fighting may be simple at first, but there’s depth you learn as you go. It keeps things exciting. For one thing, you have to think ahead, because most abilities can only be used once. To access a skill a second time, the character has to rest — essentially skipping a turn. This becomes really important when you need your healers to have their restoration abilities handy for the right moment. There are also abilities that boost others’ attacks or make your next action more powerful, so you’ll need to plan when you unleash those. And characters get style bonuses and hyper modes that you can take advantage of too. As characters level up, they gain new skills and boosts that make them more effective warriors, and you can swap out equipment and abilities according to what you like for each character.
Clever Battles: My favorite battle so far has been against a robot that unleashed two grabber drones, which latched onto two members of my four-party team so they couldn’t fight. That left combat to the two characters who were free. But on my first try in the battle, I attacked the grabbers instead of the main robot, because I tend to take out weaker foes first to get them out of the way. The problem was that when I killed a grabber, the robot sent out two in that one’s place. That meant that I was out of the fight, since killing two grabbers meant four came out and immobilized my entire team. Strategizing through this battle was exciting, because I had to utilize the skills of just half of my team and carefully plan healing and resting accordingly. This is just one example of a fight that requires a little trial-and-error and fresh tactics to win.
If any of the above intrigue you, I definitely recommend giving Cosmic Star Heroine a whirl. =)