Cosmic Star Heroine, from the Zeboyd Games guys (the same folks behind the excellent Cthulu Saves the World), is a throwback 16-bit RPG with a futuristic vibe and a lot of “Quality of Life” fixes that cut out the tedium of other traditional JRPGs. It’s a solid game in any case, and a worthy addition to a Switch owner’s RPG library.
CSH is a fairly linear RPG, and it’s over long before some hardened JRPG fans might like (roughly 10-15 hours with side activities). But that it only costs $15 helps make it feel more worth the price of entry. While it’s not as meaty as recent JRPGs like Octopath Traveler, I found it far more enjoyable and less grindy. It’s one of those games that may not please the devout JRPG fan, but for those looking for a game they can just play through and enjoy – with added difficulty tweaks to make it right for you – Cosmic Star Heroine is bound to please.
The 16-bit pixel art is top notch, with some great pixel animation for the cutscenes as well. It’s every bit a throwback game, rather than an homage or new take on pixel art like Octopath. Your character cast is fairly locked into what roles they play and what spells they get, with little room for experimentation. It’s clear Zeboyd wants you to go on their journey, and not create your own, and that’s OK. It reminds me quite a bit of Chrono Trigger in its “what you see is what you fight” combat and the way you have to rest mid-fight to recharge your character’s powers. There are items and equipment, but items aren’t consumable – they’re equippable in slots for all your party to use. Equipment changes your character’s spells, but you don’t need to manage a whole ton of it or spend hours at shops.
Like I said earlier – CSH tries its damnedest to cut the fluff and just deliver a fun JRPG sci-fi adventure.