Playstation 4, Steam, Nintendo Switch, Micorsoft X-Box
Star Renegades revolves around stopping the Imperium from complete interdimensional domination. Hope rests on J5T-1N, a specially altered service robot. Trying to break the invasion cycle, J5T-1N hops dimensions as worlds fall and warns the next group of sassy, underdog renegades.
The game opens with a smoothly animated cutscene. The opening introduces both the mission of J5T-1N and shows off the mech sci-fi style of the game. Star Renegades utilizes gorgeous sprite art that deserves special mention. Simple, yet detailed, backgrounds show off the planets various fauna and imposing ruins of ancient titans. Early levels can appear aggressively pink while still offering a clear contrast for reading the UI. The soft and vibrant color palette offers quite the pretty view to enjoy while saving the whole of reality.
Looks aside, Raw Fury does an excellent job blending styles in Star Renegades. Play is easily described as predominantly rouge-lite and strategy RPG, but there are other nuances to the mix. To give a general idea of play, each planet has its own procedurally generated map for missions. The map is broken into different branching zones. Players have a set number of days, typically three, to navigate to their destination and repel the imperium forces. Zones will have random health items, enemy encounters, loot drops, and game lore. J5T-1N can breach three of these zones a day before needing to recharge at night. The standout is that zones can be locked off by enemy forces. Sealed zones, if not breached in time, limit path choices and reduce potential resources. Access to occasional night only mini levels by the other in-game factions would be impacted too. Looting sketchy caves is usually a risky but worthwhile endeavor.
The random maps and route locking keeps replayability strong, engaging the player with similar yet new play. This encourages players to keep coming back to experience unique runs and avoid dullness in looping play. The randomization also ties well into the nemesis like Throne Room which interrupts play, popping up when Imperium members are promoted or replaced. It shows players an idea of the upcoming threat and ties into the narrative well. Imperium members that defeat the player’s renegades being promoted will appear in the next dimension, stronger and more of a challenge, for the next run.
Deaths are slightly less punishing than your average rouge-lite. Party members, should they fall, will revive after battle via J5T-1N. Granted this is after complaining how the revival process is unpleasant. It’s a nice touch adding to the snark characters spout off at each other and seemingly to emphasize that they do come back with but a single hit point. Revived characters can also possibly sustain permanent injuries as a debuff for the remainder of the run. It still gives the player hope of survival. While healing is not common players can strategize using shields and other party member skills to survive. A near dead teammate is always better than an undersized team. A party wipe will still trigger loss and require J5T-1N to start his journey over.
Planning is a must in Star Renegades. When players choose paths on the map they need to be taking into account future actions. When moving for combat there is a need to be tactical in placement. This level of strategy is layered throughout Star Renegades and is the most compelling element of the game. Having a “Hulk smash” attitude will leave players restarting frequently, even if just quickly resolving easy battles due to resources and knowing when to use them matter heavily. Players can, and must at times, play aggressively but need to do so in service of a plan. To help with this gargantuan task of not losing, Star Renegades gives access to a prediction bar that shows the order of attacks for both renegades and those dastardly enemies. This shows an idea of how the turn will play out with attacks showing crit chances, turn order, and aiding player choice of renegade skills. Or see the party’s certain death; it’s unflinchingly honest like that.
This continues into play of cards. When playing cards choosing the correct card, at the correct time, matters. As renegades level, they gain new skills and unique cards that can be useful during the camping phase. These cards are limited in use and are one of the few ways characters can heal, gain buffs, and tie into the relationship mechanic too. Much like how J5T-1N only has three charges during the day, the player only has five action points for cards. Different classes of renegades have different card options. A party starts at three members but can grow up to six, adding to difficulty of choosing what cards to use and when. In example, the Archon class typically applies heals and shield support. The Valkyrie class usually has the ability to imbue effects like irradiation, one of several DPS damaging effects when enemy shields are down. Using cards on each other raises relationships amongst the renegades, unlocking character move combos and possible hero progeny. Additionally, generic exhaustible cards are added to the mix.
Part of the rouge-lite style means losing character progress upon death: levels, relationships, skills, everything. However there are few options in between missions to help. Players can visit the armory to unlock and influence weapon drops which supports favored character classes during play. Players can cycle new characters into the party by unlocking new classes and using currently available renegades. Viewing the current throne room is also optional to view information before starting out. It helps to just take a moment to plan before going back into the fray.
The best player aide is the save system. Star Renegades is very respective of time. Saving can be done at just about any point. Life happens and being able to save and come back during a mission is delightful. It’s very aggravating having to abandon a good run because something came up. Major props to the developers for adding that in.
Star Renegade is a challenging but fun game. Graphically refreshing use of pixel art, animated cutscenes and well integrated art assets combined with a well executed genre mashup will have stand alone rouge-lite and strategy RPG fans enthralled.
Star Renegades Review
Star Renegades Review
Star Renegades is an challenging yet engaging rouge-lite strategy RPG. Join J5T-1N to recruit a ragtag group for a world hopping and dimension saving adventure.