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Anthem

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Star Renegades

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 10 - 2020

Saving multiple realities in this tactical squad-based rogue-lite RPG.

 
After taking a look and previewing Massive Damage’s Star Renegades a couple of months ago, I was left wanting more. Thankfully the wait was not too long as Star Renegades is out now on Steam, and I can continue my journey trying to save the multiverse. With a stunning pixel-art style, an involved and adaptive combat system, and even a halfway decent explanation for continually dying and restarting, Star Renegades doesn’t disappoint.

 


 
After coming from the preview build, I was pleased to see that the full game was pretty much the same, only larger, and so before moving onto the details that I may have covered before, I need to mention something. Star Renegades is very difficult. This was perhaps something that wasn’t clear in the preview, but getting to play the full game, it became apparent quite quickly. Of course, this is to be expected for a game that has gone to such great lengths as to provide a reason why the player can continue after dying, alternate universes y’know. And this is a rogue-lite game and so being thrown back to the start of the game should be expected. Despite the fact that players are able to carry over certain points that will lead to slight improvements in each subsequent run, the game remains incredibly difficult. Still, many gamers love a challenge and so this is not really a bad thing.

 
Okay, with that covered, let’s take a look at the story. The game begins with a small robot being sent into another dimension in order to warn of an alien invasion that is intent on conquering all realities. The idea is that each reality will raise a team to combat the invasion and, should they fail, the robot will just swap realities and try again. See, perfect explanation. To get through the game, the player will have to take control of a number of planets before facing off against a final boss, and getting control of a planet will require fighting a lesser boss. On each planet, the player will have three days to explore before being forced to face the mini-boss, giving them time to find the equipment they need and improve their team, although they can face the mini-boss earlier if the player thinks they are ready.

 


 
Movement around the overworld is a simple point and click affair, with points of interest easily noticeable. It has to be said that this overworld view can be a little squint-inducing, but it is nothing to bad. At the end of each day, the team can set up camp, which gives access to loads of team management options, such as healing and preparing for the next day’s battles. However, it also gives the opportunity for a little romance, and building relationships between the members of the team can give access to further buffs and even offspring that can combine the strengths of each parent.

 
While this is all well and good, it is the combat system that really shines in Star Renegades. At first glance, players may think they have come across an arcane fighting system that is reminiscent of older Final Fantasy games, with the player simply picking their move from a list on the screen and watching it all play out in a turn-based manner. To be honest, I miss those battle systems. It doesn’t matter though because while there are similarities, Star Renegades battle system is so much more.

 
The player’s team appear on the screen, alongside the enemy, which is more often than not big and imposing. The combat is turn-based and each character will have a list of their available moves that the player can choose to perform when that characters turn comes around. However, the existence of a timeline at the top of the screen is where things really change as the player will be able to see what the enemy is going to do and when they will do it. Potential moves will show where the action will appear on the timeline, giving the player a chance to specifically choose a move that will play out before the enemy move, and even potentially push their move back along the timeline, perhaps giving an ally the chance to perform their own slower action before the enemy. Plan it well and it is even possible to push back the enemy into the next turns timeline, essentially causing them to miss a turn.

 


 
This makes for some incredibly tactical battles as the player has to carefully consider each action. Obviously there is also the possibility of the enemy performing an action that will push members of the team back, so it is all swings and roundabouts. The player is presented with a lot of information, even covering the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy, so there is no excuse for silly mistakes. Throw in all manner of buffs, debuffs, combos and special moves, and the battles become a thing of beauty.

 
As the player fails and is pushed into the next existence to start again, the small assistance that is carried over, along with a greater familiarity of the game, will make things perhaps a little bit easier. It’s never going to be easy, but with time it can become easier. Mind you, with a Nemesis system that sees certain enemies bearing a grudge and gaining in power themselves, maybe it won’t.

 
There is a high level of polish to Star Renegades, and this is most evident in the pixel-art visuals. Always bright and colourful, this is a game that pushed the pixel-art style in a more modern direction, with plenty of detail and always something to look at.

 


 
Even after playing the preview build, it was obvious that Star Renegades was going to be something special. While the game could be a little easier for the less hardcore players, there is very little else to complain about. Star Renegades is a game that takes a little effort to get started, but once the basics are learned, it is easy to enjoy. The combat system is great, the visuals are superb, and even the story works. While genre newcomers may struggle a bit, Star Renegades is a very well done rogue-lite that rewards players for persistence and is very worth playing.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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