Zeboyd Games are an independent developer studio that focuses on the classic art style of 16-bit adventure games. Their newest title, Cosmic Star Heroine, takes players on an adventure through a cold futuristic galaxy and asks them to save its inhabitants as the secret government agent, Alyssa. By uncovering a dark conspiracy, Alyssa goes on an action-packed journey across amazingly detailed environments with extraordinary characters, in a story that’s equal parts Metal Gear Solid and early Final Fantasy.

On the surface, Cosmic Star Heroine plays like your favorite JRPGS from the 80’s and 90’s. However, the power given to the game from modern gaming PCs and consoles allows it to feature a more finely-tuned navigation system and combat mechanics. One of the more noticeable advantages that this game has on its spiritual predecessors is the color palette it has to work with, as it really pushes the limits of its 16-bit medium. Zeboyd Games then enhances the 11 outlandish planets that the game takes place on with the building blocks of a futuristic society: corporate greed mixed a cyberpunk edge and the grit of Final Fantasy VII’s Midgar.

The hands-on demo I recently got to try featured a single planet with a sprinkle of loot-filled chests, enemies and boss battle, as well a very cinematic opening. Beginning the game on a solo mission, players eventually meet up with new team members who add strategic advantages during battle. There were no clone characters in the demo, meaning that every one of them had a very specific set of skills, but didn’t necessarily push those skills to the limits. This short demo was purely meant to give a general idea of the game while saving the good stuff for the full release.


Although it is quiet the assumption to make that a game will be good simply because its demo was good, the title gave me a strong sense of how I could interact with the environment and some of the strategies I could use in the process. CSH actually offers a wealth of maneuverability as the maps allow players to explore alternate routes in order to find hidden areas or avoid an annoying enemy, even though there will always be some forced encounters.

The combat mechanics can feel a little basic at times, but that is mostly due to the limited encounters. Rarely did I encounter more than 2 enemies at any one time, but the characters in your party do feature a variety of abilities. Where your main character is fairly balanced between offense and defense, support characters tend to lean towards one or the other. Throw in a mixture of AOE attacks, and basic weakness and resistance mechanics, and you got yourself a very JRPG combat system.

Playing Cosmic Star Heroine feels like playing a finely-tuned JRPG with modern day improvements to story development and visual clarity. While I was only able to get my hands on a demo for  the PlayStation 4, Cosmic Star Heroine will also be available on PS Vita, PC, Mac and Linux when it is released in full towards the end of 2016.

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