In Star Renegades you and your team must free different planets from Alien invasions. This makes it sound like a rather cliché game and when we say that battles take place through a turn-based system, that feeling only gets stronger. Above all, take it from us that there is nothing cliché about it Star Renegades.
It needs some explanation to clarify how Star Renegades works exactly, but it is worth it, because then you understand that it is a unique game. You arrive on a planet and have three days before the final boss ‘Behemoth’ appears. During each day you can claim three different regions of a planet, for which you usually have to defeat a general. Each area you reclaim comes (usually) with a reward: equipment for one of your four heroes, DNA (which you use to level up) or other bonuses. You can see the entire map from the start, so you can plan a bit which bonuses are important to you and what route you will take.
Most of your time will be spent in turn-based battles. At first glance, these fights look like an old-fashioned JRPG like Final Fantasy of Dragon Quest, but there are all kinds of systems placed in it that make it quite unique and frankly also very cool. At the start of a turn, you can see exactly what your opponents intend to do, who they want to hit with it and what effect it will have. Then you choose an action for all four of your heroes, after which the entire turn is played.
This allows you to plan your turn down to the smallest details and this is quite addictive. It feels good to thwart your opponent’s plans, protect a hero that everyone is aiming for, or take out an enemy before he can unleash his big attack. This strong element is magnified by the fact that a turn is divided into time. For example, one attack takes ten seconds to recharge, the other twenty, and so on. Via a timeline you can see in the planning exactly in which order all attacks of a turn will take place. If you attack someone who is still charging their attack, you will receive a CRIT bonus (for “critical”) and push them further in the timeline. This way you can even push someone so far in the timeline that his or her attack will only take place the next turn!
It’s a bit much to take it all in, but it’s incredibly cool and you learn it very easily in a one-on-one battle. If it scares you, don’t worry at all. It is a very neatly developed system that is ultimately quite in-depth and turns an old-fashioned combat style into a dynamic, exciting and sometimes quite difficult whole.
We did experience a major setback, after which we decided not to touch the game anymore. Star Renegades does not make it clear in the beginning that it is a roguelike. If your mission fails, then you are really ‘game over’ and you can start at the first planet again, but you can start with new heroes and encounter better weapons so that you maintain a sense of progress. Since the game didn’t make this quite clear at first, we were quite disappointed when we died and lost our heroes. Well, we had seen enough of the game and decided that that was it.
Despite all this, a day later our hands started to itch again Star Renegades to arrest. Let’s take a look at how the dynamics of the battles change if we bring a different type of hero, or if that hero that we gave as few experience points as possible last time suddenly starts to use as the highest priority. The game may not have the replay value of one Slay the Spire, that you can keep playing for hundreds of hours before it starts to get boring, but it sure knows enough to be fascinating for now. The basics, namely the fights, are just too well put together to leave the game behind for more than a day. There is not much special about it, but does that matter if the actual gameplay is too much fun? For the soft price of € 19.99 it is definitely worth a try.
Star Renegades was played on PC for this review. The game is also coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later this year.