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Usually, when I wear a gigantic robot suit, it is for conquering my enemies. Not so much in Lightyear Frontier!

This new game by Amplifier Studios grabbed my attention. While unleashing my robotic hell upon the galaxy in games like Battletech and Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries, I had a little conversation with my fellow mercenaries. It went a little like this:

Osprey: Hey, Boss. I’ve been thinking. What if instead of using these giant fucking mechs of death to kill all those who oppose us, we use them to create a living garden?

Me: I would love to know what you’re drinking today, Osprey. Can I have some?

Osprey: It’s a good idea… Not that blowing up a city with my giant railgun isn’t fun, but sometimes I just want to land on a cosy planet and grow things, you know?

Me: … Where’s the fun of that? I don’t pay you to talk, I pay you to kill.

I’m a kind mercenary captain, promise! Just ignore that prison of death in the corner there… Ahem. Going off script. Who am I kidding? I don’t have a script for these reviews, come on!

Lightyear Frontier has no combat and nothing in the way of enemies. Landing on a beautiful planet that’s gone to seed over the centuries, it’s up to the player and his trusty robot suit to put it back together again. It’s designed from the ground up to be a comfortable, wholesome farming sim, and it achieves just that. As soon as I saw trailers for the game last autumn, I knew I had to give it a shot. Big thanks to the developers for providing a review code.


I never expected to use my mech as a combine harvester, but Lightyear Frontier proved me wrong. Booting it up for the first time, this game’s visual design grabbed me immediately. This game is gorgeous, as the screenshots I took hopefully will show. Even on my ageing GTX 1060 laptop, the luscious biomes of the planet look fantastic. Even better was the performance, and despite a couple of frame drops as I did something dumb inside my mech, it runs incredibly well even on modest hardware like mine. The interface and menus remind me strongly of Grounded, to the point that I wonder if the two developers are related in some way?

The whole game is built to be laid back and relaxing. While there are a couple of mini threats such as being unable to enter water and ‘noxious’ puddles, you cannot die in this game. Lightyear Frontier grants players freedom of choice and at their own pace. This isn’t a game for those who just want to bulldoze through the available story content without creating their little paradise.

The current Early Access build is lacking in available story content (you can probably complete the current narrative in a handful of hours), but the world itself is there for your leisure. In these farming/life simulator games, I’m usually happy to cultivate my crops in my own time. While Lightyear Frontier may ‘lack’ story content to digest, that doesn’t make it a short experience. Just like in Valheim, I spent dozens of hours slowly building my village from scratch. Players looking for a more content-complete experience will likely bounce off Lightyear Frontier, as it is still early in development. For those who don’t mind waiting for story quests and just want to get stuck into a wholesome farming life, this is a decent experience for that.

As mechanics go, Lightyear Frontier doesn’t break any new ground. All the normal farming things exist like gathering resources, building and crafting, growing crops and so forth, but the setting is pretty unique. The closest thing to Lightyear Frontier would be if Satisfactory was more like Stardew Valley than Factorio. With many farming/creation simulators favouring 2D/Pixel graphics, it is rare to play a first-person farming sim. Throw in the mech out of a futuristic Gardeners World, and this isn’t like your ordinary farming sims!

On that note, what’s to say about Lightyear? While some may go to infinity and beyond, Lightyear Frontier is content to stay on a single little planet for now. Throwing in giant robots alongside the charming graphics and relaxing gameplay, it makes for an enjoyable game in its Early Access state. With no real losing condition or major challenges to face, it’s geared towards those who want to relax and farm without consequences. With the fairly short story content and this in mind, players looking for something with more substance might want to look elsewhere. In my opinion, it is worth the asking price. After a long day, sometimes I just want to unwind. With its beauty and comfortable gameplay, Lightyear Frontier does an admirable job.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops. The skeleton is great, but the meat on the bones might be a little lean for those looking for a more filling meal.

A beautiful farming game that is approachable to anyoneRelatively lacking in story content with its current Early Access form
It’s rare to use a giant robot suit as a gardening toolWith no enemies or survival mechanics to manage, some players might find this too easy
Relaxing and enjoyable to playA refreshing setting for a farming sim, but the mechanics don’t offer much new for veterans of the genre

About the Author

TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games.

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