★ by , author of the Starbreaker novels ★

Cosmic Star Heroine

Welcome to my playthrough of Cosmic Star Heroine. Expect lots of spoilers as I play through the game and describe my experience.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Cosmic Star Heroine is a modern sci-fi RPG by Zeboyd Games, made in the style of classic 16-bit (SNES/Genesis/Mega Drive) Japanese RPGs. It's available for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PCs running Windows.

I'll be playing the PS4 version, and going in blind without any advance knowledge from sites like GameFAQs. If you want more basic information about the game, check out the official CSH website.

cosmic-star-heroine-official-screenshot-1.png

Figure 1: Opening screen from Cosmic Star Heroine

New Game Start

Cosmic Star Heroine (to be referred hereafter as CSH) has four difficulty levels. You get prompted to select one at the beginning of the game, and you can switch at any time you like.

Tourist
Casual Mode
  • For those who love story
  • Easiest enemies
  • Double credit rewards
Agent
Easy Mode
  • For those who love victory
  • Easier enemies
  • Regular credit rewards
Heroine
Normal Mode
  • For those who love challenge
  • Harder enemies
  • Regular credit rewards
  • Additional enemy abilities
Super-Spy
Hard Mode
  • For those who love mastery
  • Hardest enemies
  • Half credit rewards
  • Additional enemy abilities
  • Desperation costs doubled
  • Great for repeat playthrough

Now, if I wanted to impress people I might go straight to Super-Spy difficulty, but this is Hardcore Casual. I'm not here to impress anybody. I'm here to have fun. I'll start with Heroine for now, and see how things play out.

Chapter 1 — Alyssa, Super Spy

I didn't make this up; this is how the save file is marked. It looks like you can save anywhere when you aren't fighting, incidentally.

Hostage Crisis at Skybreaker Tower

We begin with Alyssa getting dropped off in a park outside Skybreaker tower.

Dave advises that the alleyway up ahead contains an Agency supply chest that should contain everything Alyssa needs to carry out her mission. Looks like I'd better go get it.

Alyssa's currently solo, but Dave likes that just fine. Less chance of a sudden, violent death that way, he says. Chicken.

There aren't supposed to be any organic enemies, just machines, but who gives a shit? This is a JRPG. Anything dumb enough to get in our protagonists' way deserves whatever happens to them.

Besides, Alyssa isn't worried as long as the hostages are OK.

Speeding Things Up

Before we do anything else, let's get into the main menu (PS4 Triangle button) and access "System > Movement". From here we can switch from walking by default to running by default. You can hold down the Circle button on a PS4 to switch between the two.

Basic Tutorial 1: Style and Hyper

Start moving northward while listening to Hyperduck Soundworks' kickass space jazz background music, and you'll hit CSH's first in-game tutorial.

If you vary your attacks instead of just selecting the basic melee attack all the time, you'll build up your style meter. More style means doing more damage and having a higher chance of inflicting negative status. However, enemies have their own style meters. You'll want to resolve battles as quickly as possible lest they become more powerful.

Characters also gain a point toward their hyper meter each turn. maxing this out engages "hyper mode", which doubles damage and ailment success rates. For readers familiar with Final Fantasy IX, the hyper mode is similar to Trance.

First Battle

All battles are turn based. You can take your time to explore Alyssa's various moves before deciding how you want to attack the enemy. Her initial abilities are…

  • Skills
    Bash
    A reusable single-target melee attack
    Laser
    A piercing single-target ranged attack
    Drown
    A single-target water-elemental attack
    First Aid
    A single-ally healing technique
    Rest
    Boosts defense by 25% for the current turn and recharges abilities
  • Programs
    Breather
    Defend and heal

This first battle is against a Robo-Dog, which should be "just a minor nuisance to a trained API agent". In Heroine mode, it has 100HP and is weak against water, so I'll open with "Drown".

"Drown" only did 35HP of damage, so let's try something else. "Laser" did the job, inflicting 73HP of damage to end the fight. Our reward? 2xp and 1 credit.

Basic Tutorial 2: Recharge, Abilities, Programs, and Items

Most character abilities can only be used once. You may have noticed that my rundown of Alyssa's starting abilities only described "Bash" as reusable. That's because the rest of them were single-use abilities. If you need to reuse a single-use ability, you'll need to use a "defend command" like "Rest" to recharge.

Items and programs are more complicated. They recharge between battles, but not in the middle of a battle. You'll have to be more careful about when you use them.

Items are shared among the party, and commonly found in treasure chests. Programs are attached to an individual character's shield, and offer additional abilities based on the character's "Hackitude" stat.

Naturally, you can equip all of this stuff and get detailed descriptions in the main menu.

Alleyway Ascent

We finally found that chest Dave mentioned. Inside is a Shield Breaker item. It breaks down an enemy's defenses so the next hit they take hurts more. Could be handy.

The chest also contains a grappling hook, which Alyssa is going to use — but not before the game asks you if you're ready to begin your ascent. You just know that means a battle is imminent.

Alleyway Ascent: Second Battle

Alyssa's second fight is against two Grapple Drones. They have 60 HP each, and are weak against water. Since Alyssa's fighting them while climbing to the Skybreaker Tower rooftop via grappling hook, her "Bash" ability is disabled. I'll have to make full use of all of Alyssa's abilities and the information provided by the tutorials to win.

But my reward is 6 xp and 4 credits. That will let Alyssa level up.

Chahn's Working Vacation

As soon as Alyssa takes out the Grapple Drones and safely gains the rooftop, a woman named Chahn greets her.

Not that Alyssa expected to see her, but before Chahn can explain a couple of goons show up and demand their surrender. Big mistake, because Chahn pulls half a dozen pistols out of hammerspace and frags them.

This display doesn't surprise Alyssa, which indicates that these two know each other. What Alyssa doesn't know is what Chahn is doing at Skybreaker Tower when she's supposed to be on vacation. Turns out Chahn is bored and wants to help. Alyssa, being the sensible sort, isn't about to turn down an ally.

Basic Tutorial 3: Desperation

This is the last basic tutorial. Normally, a character with 0 HP is knocked out unless revived. However, if they have at least 50 style points (or more, depending on difficulty level), they can instead go to desperation mode. They'll do more damage, but it'll be harder for them to heal on their own. And if they haven't healed by the end of the turn, they'll be KO'ed. Desperation Mode is an opportunity to make an emergency save or a last-ditch assault.

Battle: Thug and Hooligan

Here's our first fight against organic enemies. Both the Thug and the Hooligan have 120HP each, and no weaknesses.

This is a good time to introduce Chahn's initial abilities. Many of them are based on "gunmancy", the in-game term for the art of using psychokinesis to pull guns out of hammerspace.

  • Skills
    Pistol
    Reusable single-target ranged gunmancy attack
    Heal Blaster
    Heal a single ally using gunmancy
    Focus
    Next gunmancy affects all enemies (or allies)
    Protective Barrier
    Boosts defense for entire party by 25% and recharges abilities
  • Programs
    Absorb Shield
    A buff that reduces damage taken

Defeating the Thug and Hooligan yields 4xp and 10 credits.

Battle: Robo-Dog

Continuing onward, we find a Robo-Dog guarding a room with a treasure chest. I probably could have opened the chest first, but I'll take out the dog first just in case.

Since the dog was pacing, it was possible to sneak up on it from behind. If it had gotten the drop on Alyssa and Chahn, it might have been able to attack first — and we can't have that.

The chest contains a Poison Mist item. It works exclusively on organic enemies, has a 60% success rate, and if it hits can inflict damage across multiple turns.

Battle: 2 Robo-Dogs

Continuing on, we come to a room guarded by two Robo-Dogs. They shouldn't be that hard to kill, but they aren't smart enough to go after Alyssa and Chahn and stop me from opening a chest and getting 40 credits, either. For that, and because they're in my way, they must die.

Victory in this battle brings both Alyssa and Chahn to Level 4. Alyssa learns Inspire, which boosts damage inflicted by an ally by 40% for 3 turns. If Alyssa uses it on herself, she boosts her own damage output by 20%.

The Hostages

After taking out the two Robo-Dogs, I headed northward. There was a delay as the game changed screens, and after running down a short corridor Alyssa and Chahn found the hostages.

They've also found the hostage takers…

Battle: Groff Brokston and Company

Groff Brokston hasn't gotten into the exoskeleton waiting behind him yet, but is supported by a Ruffian and a Thug. Brokston has 260 HP, whereas the Ruffian and Thug each possess 120 HP.

This is a harder fight than the previous ones, and it took me 8 turns. As a reward I got 10xp and 20 credits.

Boss Fight: Micro Mech

Without his flunkies, Brokston remains defiant. After all, he's got an exoskeleton with which to turn this boss fight into a two-parter. The battle music changes so you know shit's gotten real.

Brokston's Micro Mech has 550 HP, and is weak against water. However, it has a laser beam attack capable of striking the entire party.

There's no need to be too intimidated. Skillful tactics will see you clear to victory and a reward of 11xp and 50 credits.

This battle takes Alyssa to Level 5, and she learns Vigilance. This boosts her defense by 50%, recharges her abilities, and is stylish. Poor Chahn has only 1xp to go before she gets to level up.

Groff Brokston's Escape

Unfortunately, taking down the Micro Mech isn't enough to defeat Brokston. He still has some aces in the hole. One of them is a ship ready to whisk him away to safety. The other is a time bomb set to detonate in minutes.

Skybreaker Tower: Riding the Bomb

With no time to wait for a bomb squad, Alyssa makes a judgment call. Since Skybreaker Tower is a weapons research facility and a bomb detonating there could take out the entire city, she orders Chahn to deal with hostages. Alyssa means to handle the bomb herself.

Now is probably a really good time to save…