Visual Novel: Sunrider

Not pictured: Space Whales.

In an alternate universe to our own, humanity has subjugated all other life in the galaxy and spread throughout the stars. However, peace is a forgotten state of existence. PACT, a revolutionary front, has toppled the once mighty New Empire and is spreading throughout the galaxy. Led by the mysterious Veniczar S. Arcadius and his cult of personality, PACT appears intent on dominating every human being in the galaxy.

You are Captain Kayto Shields of the starship Sunrider. Hailing from the neutral world of Cera, you are thrown onto the galactic stage when your world is invaded by PACT. Your mission: To find allies from across the galaxy and stop the PACT menace once and for all.

Sunrider is a hybrid Turn-Based Tactics game / Visual Novel created by Love in Space. Funded successfully on Kickstarter, reaching over fourteen times the required amount.

Has an official website here, with a public beta version available here. It's also on Steam here. Sunrider Academy, a Dating Sim set in an Alternate Universe where the main cast are still in high school, will be officially released on April 15, 2015.


Sunrider contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Most of the girls fit this, as they pilot Mecha into battle.
  • All There in the Manual: The main website has two pieces of Sunrider lore, found here and here. More are expected to come up as the game progresses in development.
  • Amazon Brigade: The player's main force is an all-female Mecha squadron. Lampshaded by Ava when she mentions that part of the male sleeping quarters had to be repurposed to deal with the fact.
  • Alternate Universe: Sunrider Academy takes place in one. It's also chock full of references to the VN.
  • The Battlestar: The Sunrider is not only armed with Trinity lasers, missile launchers, and a pair of powerful kinetic cannon turrets, it also contains a hangar bay for "Ryder" Mecha.
  • Beam Spam: The general tendency of enemy fleets in most battles (especially ryder-heavy ones).
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the second mission, The Sunrider is up against a small but dangerous pirate force, with the crew still shaken up by the defeat of Cera in the beginning of the game. So while the pirate's are attacking, their leader is attacked by the Blackjack and Asaga, who announces herself as a "Hero of Justice".
  • BFG: The Sunrider has a capital ship weapon strapped onto its frame. It costs 2,500 command points to use, but anything hit by it (up to and including space stations) are in for a world of hurt. Alliance battleships also mount a very powerful spinal kinetic cannon.
  • Chainsaw Good: Some of the mecha use chainsaw weapons.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The prologue consists in Kaito's homeworld Cera being conquered after Legion's single, devastating attack. Again at the end of Chapter 4, the Legion starts delivering one to the entire Alliance fleet, to the point where they have to resort to taking cover behind enemy ships to take them down as well.
  • Dead Little Sister: Maray, Kayto's younger sister, is in Cera City when PACT destroys it. In Sunrider Academy, Maray's "ghost" appears to Kayto whenever he has a chance to ask a girl out, and Kayto naturally wonders why that's happening, seeing as his sister is not dead in that continuity.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: For enemies (except some plot-important Ryders) and the Sunrider, but not for your own Ryders. Justified, since your Ryders retreat back to the hangar when critically damaged, while the Sunrider itself has nowhere to hide.
  • Dirty Communists: Although their economic policies aren't much elaborated on, PACT seem to fit the bill pretty well. Most of their units are even painted red and their leader delivers a speech about unscrupulous capitalists at a point.
  • Doomed Home Town: The capital of Cera, the protagonist's home planet, gets nuked immediately following the first battle.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Kayto Shields is a trained Captain by the beginning of the story.
  • The Federation: The Alliance, despite its name. However, there are hints that the Alliance is not all sunshine and daisies either...
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The crew of the Sunrider, after the invasion of Cera.
  • Freeware Game: Although Kickstarter backers get much more frequent updates during the beta period.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Most of the mecha and ships seem to have some form of laser-based attack. Also see Shout-Out.
  • Genre Savvy: The Sunrider crew display this at times, like when they set up Chigara's attempted confession to Kayto. Asaga lampshades the fact that scenes like this often get interrupted, only for Icari and the others to point out that they've taken every possible countermeasure to ensure they aren't interrupted by anything, including the use of communication jammers.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Solar Alliance-New Empire war, which led to the rise of PACT.
  • Guide Dang It: A key part of winning several levels is the "hate" mechanic, which is currently explained nowhere in the game.
  • <Hero> Must Survive: While other units are expendable and only reduce money gain when lost, the destruction of Sunrider means Game Over. Justified, since while the Ryders retreat when critically damaged (back to Sunrider hangar bays) instead of exploding, the Sunrider itself has nowhere to run to and is destroyed if sustaining too much damage.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Depending on the player's choice, Ava will sacrifice herself so the Legion can be destroyed.
  • Humongous Mecha: Called Ryders here. They make up most of your team during battle.
  • I Am Legion: Arcadius always speaks using "we" and "us". Cue many of him appearing later on.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted, and rather graphically in the second part of the novel.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Justified in the setting. While fleets have traditionally fought by squaring off and blasting away at each other with lasers, shielding technology has progressed to the point where it's fairly easy for a fleet to achieve overlapping coverage that completely negates incoming energy fire. More forward-looking admirals have taken note of this, and are designing new ships (like the Sunrider itself) designed to close in and engage with kinetics. Ingame, kinetics also have the advantage of being much more powerful, although beams have greater accuracy and range.
  • La Résistance: The player character, Kayto Shields, is the leader of the only survivors of the Cera Space Force.
  • Laser Blade: Some mecha use lasers as melee weapons as well as long-ranged blasts.
  • Mooks: The PACT Mook, obviously. The Pirate Grunt also qualifies.
  • Lost Technology: The Ryuvian Empire's technology was far superior to the current technology, but was lost after the empire crumbled due to internal strife. Case in point: Sola's Seraphim, a 2000 years old ryder, is as powerful as the current ryders, despite being merely a scout unit that has suffered severe degradation of its systems due to lack of maintenance.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Expect to be hit by one of these at the very start in many levels. Later in the game as more missile-capable units are added (and missile storage upgrades purchased), players can also do this.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The Pact super dreadnought Legion, which is three kilometers long.
  • Nintendo Hard: Especially later in the game. Their spin-off game even opens with some jokes about it.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Black Jack is, in fact, red and white. On the other hand, like its pilot, it's about as subtle as a blow to the head.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Your Ryders, when sustaining critical damage, instead of exploding, retreat back to Sunrider. With a (rather expensive) order, you can even bring them back into the battle. The Sunrider itself, though, will be destroyed if roughed up too badly, resulting in a game over.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Ava is not distracted in the slightest by captain Shields not wearing pants (or underwear). She easily maintains her professional self and even salutes after finishing her report.
  • Operation Blank: Operation Wedding Crash
  • Overnight Conquest: The PACT invasion of Cera along with other worlds in the Neutral Rim.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: PACT has shades of that, especially with its crimson theme for warships and how Veniczar Arcadius talks about capitalist corruption when facing the Alliance.
  • Player Mooks: ships manned by faceless crew are available for hire starting from chapter 5.
  • Point Defenseless: Generally averted with regular missiles, but rockets will often breeze through most flak. A special ability be used to invoke this trope, and player upgrades can tip the balance in either direction.
  • Shoot the Mage First: PACT Carriers and Support ryders are heavy on this trope, the former due to its continuously spawning new ryders and the latter because of ability to inflict very nasty debuffs on the player.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: At the battle for the Paradox Core, Arcadius starts boasting of his immortality when Sola interrupts him with a killing shot to his ryder.
    Sola: "Even in this era, their speeches run too long."
    • Fontana also kills another boisterous Arcadius once she unmasks.
    Prototype Arcadius:"What can you do? We already own everything!"
    Fontana:"Wrong."
    Fontana shoots
    Fontana:"You don't own PACT."
  • Space Opera
  • Space Pirates: Cosette and her gang.
  • Sole Survivor: Seems to be a running theme.
    • So far, the Sunrider is the only ship in the Cera Space Force that managed to escape PACT's invasion of Cera.
    • Chigara is the only person who survived the Diode Catastrophe.
    • Icari is the only member of her family to survive the encounter with PACT troops.
    • Sola - despite her Heroic Sacrifice - she's the only survivor of Ryuvian Civil War's final battle.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The lowest difficulty setting, "Visual Novel Mode," is explicitly described as being for people who only want to enjoy the story without having to worry about the challenge / hassle of combat.
  • Straight for the Commander: Encouraged strategy. Enemy units that yield in this situation used to grant more money than destroyed, until a recent patch made them yield half of the regular amount instead.
  • The Internet Is for Porn:
    Claude(When debuffing an enemy):"Oh! I accidentally downloaded his entire porn collection!..."Space Whales"?"
  • Their First Time: Before Ava leaves for the military, she invites Kayto over to her apartment where they spend the night together.
  • Trust Me, I'm a Doctor: Claude when she asks captain to take off his underwear during "medical exam".
    Claude:"Now, now captain... Don't be shy. I'm just a trained professional doing her job."
  • Vestigial Empire: Ryuvia used to rule a mighty empire that controlled most of known space, and has such a long history that many speculate that it's humanity's cradle. Now, thousands of years later, they only control their former capital planet.
  • Wave Motion Gun
    • The Sunrider's Vanguard Cannon, a spinal mount anti-capital weapon that can be fired only using special orders tab.
    • Veniczar Arcadius' flagship, the Legion, comes equipped with even bigger one.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Each character has a number of different lines, a few for each of various circumstances. These circumstances include selecting the character's Ryder or ship, ordering them to attack with a given weapon, hitting with anything, missing with anything, being hit, and various types of special abilities. They only have a few for each, however, and given the length of typical battles it's not uncommon for some phrases to be repeated a couple dozen times over the course of a single battle, let alone the entire game.
    • It gets worse for the damage messages, since there appears to only be one per unit for each "tier" of damage. For Ryders, it might not be obvious, but the Sunrider's high hit points means that you might be hearing that sections 32, 16, and 2 have been heavily damaged several times in a row.