LONESTAR – PC (P)review

LONESTAR – PC (P)review

Genre: Rouge-like deck builder
Developer: Math Tide
Publisher: Thermite Games
Release Date: Jan 18th, 2024
Edited by AlexKnight2005

Lonestar is an early-access roguelike deck builder from the small team over at Math Tide. The team consists of three cats, a dog, and two developers, and they have been working on the game for three years. It is published by Thermite Games, a Beijing-based publisher that specializes in bringing indie games to a global player base.

The player takes on the role of an intergalactic bounty hunter hunting down criminals across the universe. The game features a progression system that unlocks new pilots and ships after earning experience points to level up after a run ends one way or the other. Currently, there are only two ships available, with a third on the way. Each of the ships presents a different playstyle as well as different looks. With the two available, one unique ability is that of a shield, and the other is the ability to swap weapons in battle.

Each ship can support up to nine units. However, this is limited by weight. There are eighty-five units that both attack and support together for each ship. They are split into common, rare, and legendary qualities. There are also a hundred and forty-six different treasures for the Shielder ship and a hundred and forty-two for the weapon swapper ship. They have the same qualities as the units; however, there are talent and event-specific ones that you can find as you travel the universe. They range in power from granting an extra resource at the start of the battle to every four resources used, causing attack units to grow in strength.

Some of the units and treasures are shared between the ships, so you have to unlock less for both. Then there are thirty-seven total pilots to unlock, each with their own unique talent. Ranging from being able to steal one item from the shop when you visit all the way to losing eight max life at the start of the game to gaining eight shield points. Each pilot also has two random talent slots that pull from a pool of forty-six unlockable talents. There are also forty-one achievements to unlock and earn for the game.

The game features your basic settings for audio and graphics with a sprinkling of gameplay options. It also allows you to rebind keys and offers controller support. So, upon starting the game, you are presented with the choice between the two ships and three randomly selected pilots for each ship you have unlocked. The game begins at the lowest difficulty, and as you rack up victories, it goes up in difficulty. Each run is a series of twelve battles in sets of four. Battles 4, 8, and 12 are boss battles with stronger foes than the others. Now, when writing this review, I have yet to beat the third boss, so I don’t know if the run ends at the third boss.

Now, the way to win battles is to win the shockwave fight. To do this, you must have a higher power output than the enemies in that particular row. This is achieved by loading your energy resources into your units. Each successful attack causes the enemy to lose what health you win by. It also lowers the enemy’s durability by one, and upon reaching zero, the enemy can’t attack in the next round. Sometimes, the enemy has units or gimmicks that change how this turns out, such as lowering the damage taken to one. There is one where you can only win if you force a draw X amount of times.

Also, after you win a battle, you are given vacation days. They start at two and go up as you progress. These you use to do events. They cost two for common, three for rare, and four for legendary. They can be completely random events or a shop, a fuel, an energy resource, money, upgrades, or unit-based events. Now that we have all that out of the way let us discuss the graphics and audio. What I mean by that is not just in turns of similar themes and gameplay in a way but also in looks.

I love the art style and how the portraits for the pilots are cartoony but not overly so. It just looks and feels fun to me. The menu music reminds me of old Western-style music and is very chill in tone. The other music has a similar feel to it for me. The sound effects are neither bad nor great; they just fit the game. That said, it is highly worth the $9.99 price tag. It can easily be a $20 game with its replayability, and I still would be happy with it.

Pros:

  • Cartoony but not overly so.
  • Great Replayability.
  • Great price tag.

Cons:

  • Could use some accessibility options.