Cosmochoria is a game that has you flying from planet to planet and planting seeds or building structures on them, defeating various enemies and bosses as you progress, and purchase upgrades to help you the next time that you play.
The goal of the game is to save all the planets by planting seeds on them and waiting for them to grow. Other non-plant things can also be built, such as a tower that will fire at enemies and a shield generator to hide under. After enough plants have been grown, determined by how big the planet is, a chest will appear with a reward inside and the atmosphere of the planet will also heal you.
As planets are saved, different types of enemies start appearing. At first there will just be little UFOs flying around and small aliens walking on planets, but later on you will run into space squids that can blind you or eyeballs that drop mines. After specific amounts of planets have been saved, bosses will also appear to attack you. Each boss is unique and will appear in the same order, and they range from fire breathing space dragons to giant spaceships.
Killing enemies and saving planets will reward you with crystals, which can be spent on upgrades and weapons when you start a new game. These upgrades are persistent and will make the game easier in the future. There are many passive upgrades such as more health or faster building speed, a cosmic map that will show you where planets are located, and different types of weapons to take with you.
You will sometimes find an artifact inside of a chest which unlocks a modifier for you to turn on for the next play through of the game. These modifiers are both beneficial and harmful, such as making it so planets won’t heal you or decreasing the amount of damage you take. There are a ton of artifacts to collect and they can be combined to make a unique game experience, but there aren’t any rewards for using them such as crystals or score accumulation.
The game starts out pretty easy and gets progressively harder the farther you make it. Even though it is expected to die a few times, the persistent progression system allows you to become stronger each time you restart the game, which means you will have a much easier time when you unlock everything. Defeating a boss allows you to start new games at that point, so you won’t have to always restart the game completely. Completing the game from start to finish will take you from 2 to 3 hours. There is no way to save the game, but each time you beat a boss you unlock the ability to restart from that point, so you don’t have to completely start over, you will just lose the score that you have accumulated.
The game is only hard when you first start playing because you don’t have any upgrades, and it becomes very easy after you start to unlock stuff. It is possible to find artifacts inside of chests that modify parts of the game to be harder to easier, such as twice as many enemies or enemies having less health, so you can mix and match them to make a very hard experience. Completing the game takes only two to three hours, but that is only after unlocking a good amount of upgrades to make your character stronger to last that long. Taking unlocking upgrades into account, the game will probably last you between 5-10 hours total.
There are very few options to change, but the game doesn’t need many. You can change the volume, full or windowed screen, whether you want the HUD to be transparent or not, and how fluid you want the camera to rotate. The graphics have a colorful flat and cute 2D look to them. Unless your computer is absolutely terrible, anyone should be able to run the game and it plays perfectly, though a few bosses actually do cause the game to slow down when they initially appear.
Sound is already very good in Cosmochoria. A large amount of music is present in this small game, and every boss even has their own unique song that plays. There are a lot of sound effects as well, but a good amount of them are recycled for multiple things so hopefully this is fixed later on.
I like the game, but it feels rather repetitive after playing for a while and it could use some rebalancing. You spend most of your time going from planet to planet planting seeds and other things, while killing minor enemies that aren’t much of a challenge. After doing this for a while you will cause a boss to appear, which is new and refreshing from what you’ve been doing. A personal annoyance about the game is that your weapon’s powerups get knocked away if you get hit, which is a fair mechanic but there are some enemies that are near impossible to actually avoid getting hit by, but at least you can pick back up the powerups that you lose if you’re fast enough.
If I were to give the game an update to address these issues, I would drastically decrease the number of planets but make them unique from each other, instead of just a blank rock with nothing going on. Balancing bosses and weapons shouldn’t be too difficult, just make the stronger ones weaker and weaker ones stronger, while still retaining their uniqueness.