Lightyear Frontier is a mech farming sim that’s actually chill

I wake up in the morning and immediately get into my mech; I never leave home without it. An unnecessarily cheerful voice in my ear tells me it’s a beautiful day and maybe I should water my crops. I attach a large hose to my mech’s arm and water my berries. Then I walk into the giant meadow where I have made my home, feed the local wildlife and walk to a huge, mysterious door. Once I’m done, I head home, leave my mech, and crawl back into bed for a good night’s sleep. I think about the upgrades I need to collect resources for and the areas I need to explore, but I know I can take my time.

This is how most days go inside Lightyear border, developed by Frame Break and Amplifier Game Invest and just released in Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview. (It’s included with Game Pass on both console and PC.) It’s a sim where you explore and manage a pastoral, desolate planet while using a mech. The idea of ​​sitting in a mech in a video game is appealing regardless of genre, and combining this with the ever-popular farming and crafting simulation, Lightyear border It seems like a no-brainer for many players.

But it also appeals to a different kind of player: the kind who just wants to vibrate, man. Many farming and crafting games task you with a larger goal. Stardew Valley you build a farm and use your charm to bring life back to a dying community, while others task you with building a successful business. Lightyear border Your job is to bring this planet (just name it at the beginning) back to life and unravel mysteries involving some ancient ruins and PIP-3R, the cheerful and slightly annoying space probe that helps you on your journey. But to accomplish those tasks, all you have to do is relax, farm, and explore. There’s not much else going on.

Image: Frame Break/Amplifier Studios via Polygon

Despite the mech playing such a prominent role, Lightyear border There is no fighting to speak of, nor is there anything in the environment that could cause damage. Your attachments are all nonviolent – ​​except for a spike that you use to cut down trees and break rocks – and cannot be used on other organic beings. There are some “dangerous” things in the wild, like noxious spores that can cause weeds, or goo that you need to flush away to save different areas, but stepping on them won’t harm your mech in any way. I avoided contact for the first few hours, but I found out it didn’t matter at all.

Lightyear border is a game that doesn’t actually require you to do anything. There’s a tutorial that walks you through some of the most important things you’ll need to build, but by the time you’re done you’ll have a few plots of land for growing crops, some basic machines for making materials, and a tent. to sleep in. You also get an upgrade depot that allows you to unlock the skill tree for your mech, along with a merchant landing pad. It’s basically all you need to roam the planet.

To find resources, you just need to explore more areas. The map is divided into multiple named locations that you have to clear in various ways (removing weeds, removing goo, etc.), and as you do so you’ll find new flowers, seeds, crystals, and others. resources that allow you to automatically unlock recipes in your menu. Since you already know the basics, it’s all easy to incorporate into your day if you want.

Your character outside the mech looks at the mech on the settlement you built in Lightyear Frontier.  There are some corps nearby and a mechanical platform in the distance.

Image: Frame Break/Amplifier Studios via Polygon

Even building your settlement is easy. Eventually you’ll upgrade your tent into a full house with a porch and a roof, but you don’t have to actually build the thing like you would in other games; you don’t even need all the necessary resources. All you have to do is select the recipe from the menu and indicate where you want it to go. You can then put materials into it, and it will eventually be completed when you have enough of it. Some buildings and machines allow you to create more items or upgrade your mech, but you unlock recipes like campfires or clotheslines that increase your sociability level, unlocking perks and bonuses. You read that right: this fun game has a fun mechanism.

There are some limitations to what you can put in it Lightyear border; you can’t walk free forever. You start with extremely little inventory space in your mech, so you’ll often have to return to your homestead to drop off supplies, or simply throw them out into the wild. (They’ll stay there for at least a few days if you want to go back.) Even if you build storage chests on your farm, you’re still not going to get great storage space; Each chest contains approximately as much as your mech. I ran out of storage space terribly quickly several times during my five hours with the game.

This is something that the developers can fix Lightyear border improves during early access – but it also, perhaps unintentionally, emphasizes the entire philosophy of the game. Sure, you’re on a distant planet with nothing but your mech, some tools and a probe, but the place isn’t too shabby. There aren’t many threats, there are plenty of resources, and all you have to do is build a farm and scavenge some stuff. Sounds relaxing.

Lightyear border is now available in Early Access on Windows PC and Xbox Series