Roguelikes have gained significant popularity in recent years, with each developer putting there own spin on the sub-genre. Developer Massive Damage took notes from other successful roguelikes and created Star Renegades. With great turn-based combat, fun characters, and a beautiful pixel art style, Star Renegades is an excellent addition to the roguelike genre. The game has been out digitally for a few months now, but it’s coming out physically soon as well. Since we didn’t review it when it originally released, we thought now was a great time to do so.
Star Renegades is a tactical, squad-based, roguelike in which you control a band of misfit heroes on their way to save one galaxy at a time from an inter-dimensional empire. You must build up your team as you hop from one dimension to another to prevent their destruction. Each run becomes a mini campaign as you battle your way through four planets in order to finish off the empire.
It takes five to six hours to complete each run depending on the difficulty level you choose. Despite this, one wrong move can end your run completely. This makes it ideal for the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode, as you have an opportunity to stop after every battle. Each world gives you three days to gather resources and level up your heroes. Resources feel plentiful, never feeling deprived at any point in my runs. At the end of each run, win or lose, you go back to the home base where you have a chance to spend your resources on permanent unlocks. You then select three heroes for the next attempt and start your run.
There’s great variety in the heroes you can choose. Each character feels different from each other, with great personalities and unique skills. Dialogue can be corny, but most lines gave me a little chuckle at the very least. Some standard archetypes like the charming gunslinger are among what you can choose from, but there’s also some unconventional characters mixed in. One of my favorites is a robot named Xurx that’s part of a religious order called the Fundamentalists. He plays like a futuristic paladin with a mixture of healing, buffs and damage. Star Renegades also works in a friendship system between the heroes. After each day, you’ll start a camp with the heroes and watch them converse as they give each other buffs and heals for the next day. Some heroes can even get together and make kids that you can then add to your roster of heroes.
The turn based combat uses a timeline based system. This means that each character on the battlefield goes in a certain order depending on the skill they use that turn. Using different skills can effect the flow of the battles and either delay an enemy’s attack or stop them completely. Though using it too much causes enemies to become more resistant to delays. Each character kit blends well into the flow of battle, and each level up opens up new options for combat, making every new battle feel fresh. Star Renegades also implements an adversary system, similar to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. While not as in-depth, it does add personality to the enemy units. Units that end your run will mock you and level up, making them even harder next time you face them.
Sporting a beautiful pixel art style, Star Renegades delivers some of the most gorgeous backdrops. While in the overworld map, the pixel style is cute and whimsical, giving you just enough detail to understand your surroundings. However, once combat starts, the screen shatters and you’re treated to an absolute feast for the eyes. Each backdrop differs from the last, with immense detail that shows off the wonder of each planet you visit. Though once you reach higher levels, the amount of enemies and status effects on screen causes the UI to become overcrowded. Star Renegades also has a mesmerizing synth wave soundtrack. It’s easy to find yourself just sitting and listening to the music.
Star Renegades provides near endless replayability. With a large cast of heroes, procedurally generated worlds, and deep combat, there will always be a desire to start the next run. Accompanied by a beautiful art style and mesmerizing soundtrack, this will be a great addition to any RPG lovers library. With the upcoming release of the physical version, those who held out can happily place the game on their shelf.
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