Released (on Steam): 8 Sep, 2020
Genres: Indie, RPG, Simulation, Strategy
Developer: Massive Damage
Publisher: Raw Fury
Steam Price: £19.49
Completion: Failed once. Completed once. Part way through another playthrough on an increased difficulty.
Playtime at Review: 11.5 hours
Total Playtime: 11.5 hours
Achievements at Review: 20/41 (49%)
My rating: 7.9/10
Various unlockables during and between playthroughs.
The battles are deep and strategic.
Different difficulties for all gamers to enjoy the game.
Dialogue is often amusing - the lame/cheesy kind of amusing I love!
Story is nothing special.
Playthroughs weren't varied enough for me to keep replaying.
Star Renegades is quite an impressive combination of strategy, RPG and rogue-lite elements, at least for one playthrough. Once you’ve learnt the basics and you’ve reached a certain point, there’s an option to continue with one of four difficulties, meaning gamers playing more for the RPG and a little light strategy can enjoy it just as much as those wanting a more challenging experience.
The story was nothing amazing to be quite honest. You’re basically fighting off invading enemies on a few different planets, trying to work your way up to the big dog. While the story was pretty basic, the character dialogue was often amusing, in that lame and cheesy way I love so much! The conversations unlocked upon increasing relationships between characters were some of my favourites. The soundtrack and sound effects were both awesome too, and fit well with the general theme of Star Renegades.
The gameplay was pretty interesting and well thought out for the most part. On the map phase of Star Renegades, you travel through different areas, of which you have a choice of a few different routes to take. I often spent a little time examining the map and planning my route so I could destroy all the commanders and loot as many weapon caches as possible before finally taking on the Behemoth. You’ll also be able to camp at certain stages. This is where you can apply the camping cards for specific benefits during the next couple of battles. This will also help increase your character’s relationships with one another, unlocking new perks, combo attacks, as well as new playable characters (progenies). I don’t know how many unlockable characters there are, but I imagine you’ll need to play through many times to have any chance of unlocking them all.
The combat is where I’d say the game excels. At its core, the combat uses a turn based system that many gamers will be familiar with, but there’s much more to it than you might first expect, and it often requires some decent strategy, especially as you progress on higher difficulties. Naturally, you have a certain amount of health for each character, but you also have armour and shields. Shields will automatically replenish at the end of each battle, but armour and health won’t. This makes every battle pretty intense! There’s also a visual display of when each character will attack, depending on the requirements of the actions being taken. Certain attacks can delay enemies. Delay them enough you’ll “break” them, preventing them attacking until the next round. This became a particularly vital aspect to master and take full advantage during my playthrough. Perfectly timed delays, breaks, and stuns became integral for my success, as did knowing when to hold my attacks and focus on defending instead. If one of your characters happens to die in battle, they’ll be brought back to life once the battle is over, but with a negative effect for the rest of the playthrough. If all your characters die, you’ll have to start from the beginning again. Levels, equipment, relationships, they’ll all be reset. You will, however, keep any intel from defeating commanders and tech points to use for upgrades in between runs.
Unlike many RPGs, you don’t earn experience at the end of a battle, at least not in the usual sense. Instead, you gain DNA, which can be used to level up any of your characters at your own choosing. Each character level will improve their health, allow them to equip better equipment, and unlock a new camping card or combat action/attack. It may be the case that you want to level up a specific character before the others because of the cards or attacks available to them, or maybe because you just found an awesome weapon and they need to a higher level to use. It’s yet another aspect that requires the user to think about, and I loved it!
Once you fail or finish a run, you’ll go to a central hub/base where you can use intel points to unlock different characters to have in your party and your tech points to unlock equipment that can be found during each playthrough. You’ll also be able to upgrade the droid that accompanies and revives your dead characters, but only one upgrade can be active at a time. I found the 50% armour repairs when camping to be particularly useful! The main downside I found with Star Renegades is that it doesn’t have much replayability after the first successful run. Sure, you can play to unlock new characters, equipment and droid upgrades, but the gameplay and battles aren’t varied enough to make it interesting or worthwhile for further playthroughs.
Overall, Star Renegades is a pretty great game! There’s a whole load of different aspects to think about while playing, and different approaches to combat and traversing through each world, along with a multitude of equipment, upgrades, and unlockables. The story is mediocre, but the dialogue entertaining. The main aspect that lets it down is the lack of variation in each run. Other than using different characters and working towards unlocking new characters and upgrades, there’s no big difference in the gameplay or combat. I failed on my initial playthrough, but completed the game on my second run and didn’t have much of an urge to play again, other than to record some gameplay footage. It was still well worth a play, and I have no doubt there are people out there who would happily replay the game a few more times at least.
Posted on 18-11-2020