Note: A copy of Lightyear Frontier was provided to us by Frame Break for review. Thanks!

I was super excited to get the chance to try out Lightyear Frontier early. I had seen it shown in an Xbox showcase a while back and it seemed like a game that was right up my alley.


What is Lightyear Frontier?

In case you're not familiar with the game, Lightyear Frontier is a cooperative open-world farming adventure, where up to 4 players can create a homestead and farm using their mechs!

Your mech has a variety of attachments it can use, these represent your basic tools as they would in a game like Stardew Valley, with some attachments for harvesting, others for planting, and still others for watering. You can also hop out of your mech at any time and walk around on foot, although most of your time will likely be spent in the mech.


I've only managed to play a couple of hours of Lightyear Frontier so far, but I think it's got a solid foundation to build off of throughout its early access period. The game is visually appealing, even on the lower settings that you need to play it on when using a Steam Deck. There are satisfying gameplay mechanics in building your own homestead, which you can decorate with numerous objects to really make it your own, as well as side objectives like clearing up toxic sludge and weeds to rejuvenate areas and restore their natural beauty, plus the benefit of co-op play always helps replayability.

The game features crafting progression, allowing you to find new resources, unlock new recipes, and then construct new crafting stations that let you craft more advanced items and construct more advanced structures. You start off with a tent and crafting shed, however, you eventually progress into building proper housing and stone buildings.

You're rewarded for exploring the world, and that's great. Traveling and finding a peculiar-looking rock or item and then gathering it and seeing all the new recipes pop up is a tried and tested method of getting that serotonin flowing, and it works just as well here.


How Does it Run on the Steam Deck?

If you're on SteamDeckHQ, you're probably wanting to know how Lightyear Frontier performs on the Steam Deck.

Well, you'll be pleased to know, that so far, the game is perfectly playable on the Steam Deck. We hope to have a more fleshed-out review available at a later date, but for now, the game can handle a stable 30 FPS if you run at the lowest settings, with a native 1280x800 resolution. You can get away with keeping Texture Quality on High though.

There's also built-in gamepad support, which works great. Given that the game is also launching on Xbox, it makes sense, and the control scheme is likely a direct copy of how it will play on Xbox, taking advantage of radial menus and easily navigable UI. The UI size is also readable and can be scaled.

One thing that does cause performance issues, however, is using the saw attachment. For whatever reason, when you're sawing down a tree or hitting a rock, the FPS drops from 30 to 15-20, I'm unsure as to why, but something is heavily taxing the GPU whenever you're mining. Fortunately, as you're stationary whenever you do this, it isn't a dealbreaker on performance.

Battery drain is a bit of a killer too. When stationary, Lightyear Frontier is remarkably easy-going, using about 14-16W. But once you start moving, or worse, sprinting around the map, the CPU starts to need power, quickly taking overall power draw to well over 20W, sometimes reaching 25W. This means you'd be lucky to get 2 hours of battery life, even when on low settings.


Lightyear Frontier looks to be a very solid game in the future, and I can't wait to play more of it and bring a full review at a later date, along with detailed settings of how I enjoy playing the game on the Steam Deck.

The developers already have a roadmap out for their first few updates after the Early Access launch on March 19th, so we should have plenty to look forward to, both in terms of Quality of Life and content!

LightyearFrontierRoadmap 1

Are you looking forward to when Lightyear Frontier launches on Steam on March 19th? Let us know in the comments below!

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Oliver Stogden
Oliver began playing video games at an early age, starting with the SNES console and Commodore Amiga computer. Nowadays, his interest is in the future of portable technology, such as handheld gaming systems, portable power stations/banks, and portable monitors. And seeing just how far we can push these devices.
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