Cosmic Star Heroine review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC, PS4
Publisher: Zeboyd Games
Developer: Zeboyd Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Cosmic Star Heroine has had what could be charitably termed as a lengthy development process. It went up on Kickstarter way back in June 2013, with a promised release date of 2014.That didn?t happen. In late 2015, Zeboyd Games showcased a playable version at PlayStation Experience, promising an early 2016 release date. That didn?t happen either. After the PS4 version came out in April 2017, I think most people — notwithstanding the developer?s promises to the contrary — suspected that the Vita version would be quietly and unceremoniously killed off.

And then, against all hopes, odds, and expectations, here were are in 2018, and Cosmic Star Heroine has finally made it to Sony?s handheld.

I don?t know that I?d say that the finished product is quite worth the five-year wait (or four years, if you?re feeling generous). I mean, what game possibly could be? But I can say that Cosmic Star Heroine is one of the better RPGs to be released on the Vita — and considering the quality of RPGs we?ve seen on system over its lifespan, that?s saying something.

I think this has to do with the development team?s mindset. Zeboyd promised a Japanese-style RPG inspired by the likes of Chrono Trigger and Phantasy Star, and it?s not hard to see those games in this one?s DNA. At the same time, however, there?s none of the bad traits you?d usually associate with JRPGs and their ilk.

By this I mean there?s no excessive grinding. There?s no lengthy exposition dumps where characters monologue endlessly. You don?t have to go back and defeat the same enemies over and over again just to earn enough XP to big bigger and badder enemies. It?s a JRPG experience, but a streamlined one.

That?s not to say that there?s not still a lot of game here. Cosmic Star Heroine features a big, expansive story about a futuristic police force whose leadership has some evil intentions, and it?s filled to the brim with solid characters and engaging dialogue. Even more importantly, it?s genuinely fun to play: I?m not usually someone who cares all that much for turn- or party-based combat, but this game features that in spades, and I can?t say I minded it once. This undoubtedly goes back to those characters, who each offer a range of unique attacks, and who — thanks to that whole ?no grinding? thing — always feel like they?re appropriately-powered in every situation.

As I said, I?m not sure why or how the game took five years to go from Kickstarter promise to Vita reality. But, now that it?s here, I can?t say that I?m bothered all that much. This is a fantastic game, and ultimately, that?s the only thing that matters.

Zeboyd Games provided us with a Cosmic Star Heroine PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: A+