At the Sony E3 Booth, Zack Webster was able to meet up with Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games for a chance to try out Cosmic Star Heroine. Here are his thoughts after a hands-on session.
Cosmic Star Heroine is a game that's been covered on the site before, but it was the first time I got to lay my hands on it. Set in a futuristic, space-faring setting, the game is a throw back to the 16-bit RPGs of old, and it shows in the best possible ways. The demo took place in a forest, where the party was looking for a research facility that housed some experimental monsters that had seemingly escaped. Overworld exploration was quick and simple, trading out random battles for Chrono Trigger's visible enemies, some of which can be avoided if you play smart. Characters traded banter and chests were filled with references to older titles — for demo purposes only — showing a certain loving reverence for the genre.
The star of the show, though, was the game's combat. CSH is turn-based like its influences, but eschews traditional MP for something a bit different. Each character has equipped a certain number of skills and items, each with a set number of uses. Basic attacks and rest actions can be used indefinitely, but non-basic skills could only be used once before being locked out. At that point, a rest action would need to be taken before the skill could be used again. Items were shared between all characters, but could only be used once per battle. This made for an interesting action economy, where instead of merely worrying about having enough MP, turns had to be planned further in advanced as skills were difficult to use consecutively. Characters also had style points that increased as the battle went on and made them deal more damage. Style points also acted as temporary hit points, keeping a character alive one extra turn so they could be brought back from the brink.
Bringing a rather beefy demo to the show floor, Cosmic Star Heroine was a pleasant surprise for my first time playing it. It manages to capture the feeling of the bygone era it seeks to emulate, but still feels modern and separate from those games as well. Zeboyd is looking to release this title on PlayStation 4, Vita, and PC sometime this year.