These days it seems like turn-based RPGs are a dime a dozen, just as much as they were in the early days of gaming. Nostalgia is currently ruling the day so many developers have tried to adopt retro characteristics for their games in an attempt to appeal to this nostalgia. At first glance, Star Renegades seems to be doing a similar thing, but hiding underneath its retro veneer is a very complicated system that rewards those who take the time to adapt to it.
Star Renegades immediately drops players into a familiar sci-fi setting. A horrific authoritarian empire rules the galaxy and a group of unlikely heroes has joined together to fight back and free the planets trapped in this conflict. The empire employs advanced robotic constructs that are equipped with weaponized technology that is leagues beyond anything that the rebels could create. These rebels decide to employ teamwork and guerilla warfare to fight against their technologically advanced enemies.
Hilarious Characters and Enemies
While this storyline is immediately familiar to anyone who has ever engaged with any kind of science fiction, Star Renegades has a few unique qualities that set it apart from other media. The game's strongest story quality is its use of humor in both the main characters and enemies. Each of the character's dialogue is full of wit and sarcasm. They are constantly mocking each other and their enemies in ways that left me chuckling during most conversations. The enemies as well, despite being incredibly technologically superior, are explained to be incredibly dumb due to their robotic enhancements, which makes for some hilarious encounters.
The combat is the main draw to Star Renegades, and it performs incredibly well. Most turn-based games have each character attack in a specific order that is followed no matter what. For example, character A attacks first and then character B when they are done. In Star Renegades things work a little differently. Characters attack in the game based on the speed of their abilities. Each round the order can be completely different depending on the speed of each character's attack. Additionally, at the top of the screen, there is a timeline that shows what each enemy's action will be, and what order those actions will take place in.
Unique Turn-based Combat
These unique features provide a lot of interesting gameplay to Star Renegades because players are forced to think about the order of attacks strategically. An enemy may be weak to a specific attack, but if that attack takes longer than theirs they will be able to do significant damage to the player. Attacking an enemy with a lighter attack can also allow players to stun their enemies and delay their actions. Players can even attack an enemy enough times per round to prevent them from being able to attack at all that round.
Rather than just being a normal turn-based RPG though, Star Renegades employs a lot of rogue-like mechanics that work very well in the context of the game. If players die during the course of a mission, they will be forced to restart their progress. This isn't a bad thing though because players are then given the opportunity to obtain permanent upgrades for their characters and recruit new teammates to their party. This can be very frustrating sometimes, but most of the time it's just as exciting to die as it is to succeed just to get your hands on some fresh new upgrades.
Random Generation Adds Depth to The Game
By far my favorite aspect Star Renegades though is that it has a randomly generated selection of bosses and unique enemies for players to face off against. This system reminds me a lot of the Nemesis system from the Shadow of Mordor series of games. Enemies are randomly created and added to the map that each have their own special stats and attacks that they can employ in combat. If players eliminate these enemies they will be permanently removed from the map, and players can fight against their brethren, but if players die these enemies will evolve and change.
My only real issue with Star Renegades is the exploration aspects of each mission. Players don't have free control over their character to explore each area, but rather can only click to move ahead to a new section. For one, for a game that is built around obtaining resources and upgrading characters between runs, there are very few opportunities to explore. Another issue though is the fact that the areas you have to click on to move forward are highlighted very poorly. I always had issues figuring out where I was supposed to click on the screen to progress, and usually just clicked until something happened.
A Change of Pace for the Genre
I absolutely love turn-based RPGs, but it can get tiring to see the same tropes and ideas repeated again and again. Star Renegades manages to inject some new flavor into the genre by adding in rogue-like mechanics as well as a combat system I've never seen in a game like this. It is a game that can be brutally difficult with a significant learning curve, but those who take the time to figure it out will have an absolute blast with Star Renegades.
TechRaptor reviewed Star Renegades on PC with a Steam code provided by developer Massive Damage.
- Unique Combat System
- Absolutely Hilarious
- Great Upgrade System
- Lack of Exploration
- Progressing Environment Is Hard