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Lightyear Frontier Early Access Review – Relaxed Space Farming

Lightyear Frontier is an open world sci-fi farming adventure by Frame Break and Amplifier Studios that launched on Steam early access and Xbox Game Preview on March 20, 2024. You have crash-landed on a vibrant and colourful alien world, with a giant mech as your trusty multi-tool. Despite being in early access, the game already offers a charming and stress-free gameplay loop that sees you harvesting resources, building a base, growing crops, feeding the local fauna, and discovering artifacts that hint at the greater story. You can also play the game in co-op with up to three friends.

You start on the ground in first-person view, and you must locate your crashed mech suit, repair it and jump on board. You are then tasked with finding five tools that will help you gather resources and get to work establishing a farm. The game runs super smooth with vibrant colours representing grass and different tree and flower types. The skyscapes look incredible with moons and planets in view, and we are directed by a voice contact in the sky of unknown origin.

Once inside the mech, you can switch between first and third person, and you can switch between tools by pressing V or holding down Q for a quick wheel. The tools range from a seed-launching cannon to a resource-gobbling chopper and add a fun twist to gathering and farming. You need to build a tent to sleep in and a shed to craft various upgrade machines for your mech to obtain more advanced resources and work on upgrading your mech and tools.

Planting seeds with a scattershot gun, watering them with the water cannon, and carving paths with your mech are just a few examples of the quirky tools that make exploration enjoyable. Along your travels the sheer size of the mech scares much of the local fauna as you watch them scurry back to their burrows. It’s here you discover you can feed these creatures and in doing so, you allow more resources to spawn each night. There is a day/night cycle as resources slowly regenerate through your travels.

Lightyear Frontier has all the hallmarks of a survival building game; however, you don’t have to worry about oil/fuel and repairs for the mech, nor food or water for yourself. There are no hostile creatures or raids of your base to defend. Your mech can fall over and tumble down a cliff, but you just jump out, hold E to make it stand back up then jump back in. This is just a zen-like farming and resource gathering game with exploration, discovery, and secrets to find, and it’s an absolute joy to play. I have been really enjoying the fact that I can explore as much as I like without having to constantly watch a fuel or health monitor.

The other side of the gameplay is finding new zones on the map and discovering they are poisoned by various alien constructs. There are slimes that require water to be dissolved, but your water cannon only stores so much water, so you’ll need to find a water source to refill it. Another zone has plants you need to clear with your chopper which is a simple objective. Once you have cleared all obstacles in a zone it will lift the fog, unlocking that zone on the map and provide you with access to potentially new resources.

Also in these zones is a temple or ruin that emits purple light. In these temple areas there are pink glowing artifacts spread through the area. Sometimes you will need to disembark from the mech and travel on foot to jump up to high places, or to explore an obscured cave that may also contain rare resources like prehistoric eggs. As you unlock new areas and discover the artifacts in each new zone, there’s hints of a larger mystery surrounding the alien world.

Overall, Lightyear Frontier is a promising early access title with lots of quirkiness to the base building and resource farming mechanics. Those seeking a relaxing and visually appealing farming experience are in for a treat with this game. The core gameplay loop is fun, and the world is a joy to explore as you unlock each zone, find new resources and discover more hidden artifacts. I am looking forward to watching this game develop further over the early access period.

This review utilised a key provided by Frame Break and Lightyear Frontier is out now on Steam early access and Xbox Game Preview.


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