Visual Novel / Sunrider

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sunrider_tvtropes_8905.jpg
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. The first 2 chapters are also on Steam here. The the 3rd chapter, Liberation Day, was released on March 4, 2016 and is available here. Sunrider Academy, a Dating Sim set in an Alternate Universe where the main cast are still in high school, was released on April 15, 2015.


Sunrider contains examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Aliens are never seen or mentioned outside the occasional reference to Space Whales, despite the first game starting with an exposition dump about how humans have “subjugated” all life and become the dominant species in the galaxy. A scene in Chigara’s route in Sunrider Academy suggests that this is because humans exterminated aliens rather than subjugated them in the distant past.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Inverted in Academy on Ava's route. It is revealed that no student council in the past 30 years has managed to even get a club budget passed, and that most student council presidents just use the position to get dates.
  • Abusive Precursors: The ancient Ryuvians were not nice people. Their empire ruled the entire galaxy for tens of thousands of years, their emperors were worshipped as gods because of their nearly-magical technology, and their royal court was a snake pit of intrigues and plots. They also had fleets of dreadnoughts whose main weapons could destroy everything within half a lightyear, and conceivably destroy reality itself if they all fired at once. Fortunately, they’ve long since forgotten the secrets of their technology and become a Vestigial Empire. Unfortunately, a time-travelling Ryuvian warlord has become trapped in the present day and plans to rebuild the Empire by conquering the galaxy.
  • Action Girl: Most of the girls fit this, as they pilot Mecha into battle.
  • All There in the Manual: The official website has three lore articles covering topics that are important to the setting’s history but are discussed only briefly in-game.
  • 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.
  • Antagonist Title: Mask of Arcadius refers to the masked main antagonist Veniczar Arcadius.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Parodied. The second half of Mask of Arcadius begins with Ava dictating a log entry about how the Sunrider's crew has been stranded for months on a desolate planet, how the chain of command is breaking down and how she's the only one left who can restore order... only for Asaga to interrupt, revealing that they're just on shore leave at a beach resort.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: The Vanguard Cannon has a maximum range of 7 tiles. It will strike everything in its path and then stop once it reaches the space you targeted, even if it should logically keep going to hit more enemies. Averted in Liberation Day, where the Vanguard Cannon now has unlimited range.
  • Armour Is Useless: Played with. All units have an Armor stat that mitigates damage taken from attacks, and the higher your Armor is the less damage you take. However, every time a unit gets hit their Armor stat goes down slightly, making it less and less effective as the fight drags on. Kinetic weapons in particular will tear through Armor like tissue paper. Deflector Shields work the same way, with the added bonus that they get stronger when multiple shields overlap, but they’ll only protect you from laser and pulse weapons.
  • 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.
    • Master of None: However Sunrider has space only for 20 Ryders. The dialogue states that standard PACT carrier can launch a hundred of them.
  • Beach Episode: The second act of Mask of Arcadius begins with the Sunrider's crew taking some much-needed shore leave on a beach resort space station, with all of the hijinks that entails.
  • Beam Spam: The general tendency of enemy fleets in most battles (especially ryder-heavy ones). With the appropriate upgrades and a full complement of mercenary units, the player can also use this to good effect.
  • Berserk Button: Don't comment of Cosette's apparent age. It will not end well.
  • 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 Black Jack 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.
  • Black and Gray Morality: PACT were originally heroic rebels but have since become no different from the Empire they overthrew. The Alliance, however, is developing into a military dictatorship, and their ruthless Admiral Grey is willing to murder Alliance diplomats simply to manufacture a casus belli. Even Kayto often has to make hard choices between what's right and what will defeat PACT.
  • Boss In Mooks Clothing: Nightmares are the toughest non-boss enemies in the series. These ancient Ryuvian Ryders have more health than the toughest PACT capital ships, maxed-out armour, maxed-out shields, and very high evasion, making them not only tough as nails but hard to hit as well. All of their attacks are highly accurate and highly damaging, and they usually come in groups of at least three, with Ryuvian cruisers to back them up. Fortunately, they can only be encountered in skippable side missions.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: The crew is forced to split up following the Liberation Day Massacre. Sola and Kayto are in hiding on Tydaria. Ava and Asaga have gone to Ryuvia Prime to gather military support and look for Lost Technology. Icari is getting in touch with her black market contacts to recruit mercenary backup. Kryska has returned to the Solar Alliance to explain how the Alliance military tried to destroy Cera and hopefully regain Alliance support for their cause. Chigara is dead. And Claude is doing who knows what.
  • Broken Pedestal: Averted. Fontana turns on Arcadius not for this trope, but because the Prototypes who took up the name disgraced everything his idol stood for PACT.
  • Captain's Log: Several scenes begin with Kayto dictating an entry for his log, usually to show that some time has passed since the previous scene and to bring the player up to speed on what’s happened since then. He even prefaces them with the words “Captain’s log”, in a Shout-Out to Star Trek.
  • Chainsaw Good: Cossete's ryder, the Havoc, mounts a chainsaw half as long as it is tall.
  • Cold Sniper: Sola is this, both inside and outside her ryder. The only difference is that the Seraphim uses a sniper rifle so large it can threaten capital ships.
  • Crapsack World: Ongress is an immensely valuable planet due to ongressite, a rare resource found only there that can be refined into high-grade fuel and munitions. Unsurprisingly, the planet has changed hands a LOT throughout history, first by the ancient Ryuvians, then by the New Empire, then by PACT and finally by the Alliance, but regardless of who holds it, the poor schmucks living there have been underpaid and over-exploited at best, and outright enslaved at worst. Thus you have millions of people living in habitats designed for tens of thousands, the air is noxious due to malfunctioning or outright absent air purifiers and most drinkable water is polluted with industrial runoff which causes many to sport deformities, mutations and severe health problems. It comes to no surprise that it's also a breeding ground for pirates, cutthroats, and slavers.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Kayto holds this opinion of the plan Ava comes up with the finally take down the Legion.
    Kayto: So in other words, the only way to kill that thing is to fly right in front of its primary weapon and shove a Vanguard down its maw, huh. Absolutely insane. I approve of this plan.
  • 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.
  • Darkest Hour: By the end of Liberation Day, Admiral Grey is dead, Chigara is (physically) dead, the Sunrider has been destroyed, any hope of peace between the Alliance and PACT has been torn to shreds, the party is scattered across the galaxy and forced to go to ground, Chigara's spirit may or may not be going insane as she battles Alice for control of the Prototypes' mind stream, and to top it all off a time-displaced Ryuvian fleet has suddenly appeared in the Mnemosyne Abyss, ready to take over the galaxy and rebuild the Holy Ryuvian Empire.
  • David Vs Goliath: If the player makes the right choices, the Sunrider can bring down the much larger Legion by firing the Vanguard Cannon straight down the barrel of the Legion’s own Wave Motion Gun at point-blank range.
  • 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. Even Totally Not a Ghost Maray can't stand Asaga's siscon tendencies, however.
  • Death of a Child: When Alliance marines rescue Kayto and Kryska from Cosette's forces on Ongess, a little girl that they met earlier named Kyoko picks up a knife to defend herself and is promptly gunned down by the marines.
  • Decadent Court: Sola describes the Ryuvian Empire of her time as this, with courtly intrigues more frightening to her than any battlefield where accidentally saying the wrong thing or snubbing the wrong person could get you marked for death.
    Sola: The Ryuvian court of my era was… a snake pit. Betrayals. Assassinations. Machinations. They were a part of the palace culture.
  • Decapitated Army: How Kayto defeats a PACT invasion force that outnumbers him six to one.
  • 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.
  • Doomsday Device: Project Paradox is a huge installation capable of crushing an entire solar system into an artificial black hole.
    • The Sharr'lac is an ancient Ryuvian superweapon capable of obliterating entire fleets and, if used en masse, plunge the universe into a singularity. How did the ancient Ryuvians limit it's use? They designed it so that it was powered by the life force of Ryuvian female royalty so, if the king wants to use his awesome superweapon, he has to sacrifice his daughter in the process. Unfortunately, Sola proves there are ways of cheating the system.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The PACT flagship Legion is a three-kilometre long dreadnought that dwarfs every other ship in the setting, has enough firepower to take on entire fleets singlehandedly, and is so heavily armoured and shielded as to be almost invincible. When it first appears during the Battle of Cera, the Ceran admiralty knows right away that they’re outmatched and urges the civilian government to issue an immediate surrender, not that it does them any good.
    • The Nightmare Ascendant, an ancient Ryuvian Ryder. Sola reacts with fear at its unexpected arrival during the Battle of Cera, and for good reason as it promptly devastates an Alliance fleet and No Sells a direct hit from the Vanguard Cannon. She mentions that in her time it was powerful enough to destroy a thousand strong Ryuvian fleet singlehandedly, and Alice gleefully talks it up as being much more powerful than even the Paradox Core.
  • Enemy Civil War: PACT splits into two factions after Fontana exposes Arcadius' true nature and shoots her in the face at the end of Mask of Arcadius. One stays loyal to Arcadius, the other sides with Fontana.
  • Enemy Mine: Fontana's faction of PACT allies itself with Kayto and the Alliance in order to bring down Arcadius and the Prototypes once and for all.
  • Escort Mission: Two levels (though both are technically optional), which generally require knowledge of the obscure "hate" mechanic to beat and are quite hard even then. The second one has a number of conversations with heavy Lampshade Hanging, especially if the first has been played.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Cossette refuses to take part in human trafficking considering how she was used as a slave herself. She limits her piracy activities to aim against the wealthy, merchants and military ships.
    • Fontana is shaken over Grey's threat to nuke an impoverished planet of 40 billion people. He points this out as a good reason why PACT are more of good guys than the Alliance thinks.
      • Moreover, he has great concern over Arcadius when he become more and more unstable. He is also disheartened over PACT's willingness to slaughter civilians and inherited decadence by recruiting former Imperial Officers.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Kayto Shields is a trained Captain by the beginning of the story.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Depending on the player’s choices, Ava can be severely injured by an exploding console toward the end of Mask of Arcadius.
  • 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.
  • Final Exchange: After Fontana exposes the Prototypes controlling humanity from the shadows, the People's Alliance.
    Prototype!Arcadius: You Are Too Late...We already own everything.
    Fontana: No. (fires point blank in the head) You do not own PACT.
  • Final Speech: Kayto gives a lengthy one as he prepares to ram the Sunrider into the Machievelli Actual. Subverted, as he ends up surviving.
    Kayto: All hands, this is Captain Kayto Shields of the assault carrier Sunrider. Last surviving vessel of the Cera Space Force. We travelled the stars, finding allies across the galaxy, with the hope of liberating our home world. It was a long journey, filled with adventure. At times, we felt sorrow. At times, we celebrated our triumphs. Throughout, we were hopelessly outnumbered. Our mission was nothing but a long shot, a gamble against impossible odds. Finally, we are here, at our home’s doorsteps. Let it be remembered. On this day, we did not abandon Cera to fend for herself! [Kayto begins crying] On this day, the Sunrider stood her ground! We did not run, but protected all those we hold dear until we fell into the black night! We did not falter in our defense of our family! Today, we perished to save our home! [an apparition of his dead sister Maray appears before him] THE SUNRIDER… AS HER FINAL ACT… WILL SAVE EVERYONE!!!! MARAY…!!!! I’M COMING HOME…!!!!
  • Five Girl Band: Though the six ryders (and to an extent their pilots) are Charlie's Angels to the Sunrider, they each cover a role within the squadron:
    • The Hero: Asaga goes so far as to call herself a "hero of justice" and, with the Black Jack armed to the teeth for almost any situation, she'll most likely be at the vanguard of your formation. Bonus point for her being the queen of Ryuvia.
    • The Lancer: Sola is the complete opposite of Asaga, mainly due to her rather unique circumstances, but she acts as her counterbalance and eventual mentor when it's revealed that they're both Ryuvian royalty. Similarly, while the Black Jack is in the thick of the fray, the Seraphim stays in the back lines sniping enemy ships.
    • The Big Girl: Lieutenant Kryska is a career soldier, a spec ops operative, and a lot stronger than she looks, and her ryder, the Paladin, has the health, armor and ordnance of a full sized cruiser but it's by far the slowest ryder in the game.
    • The Smart Girl: Though technically suspended for malpractice, Claude IS a doctor (and even gets her license back during the game) although she's a bit of a a ditz and extremely aggressive in pursuing her crush on the captain. Bianca is more straightforward in the role, being a support ryder capable of buffing your ships damage, lowering enemy accuracy or removing enemy debuffs. She also has a gravity gun to mess with enemy formations and a giant shotgun for good measure, as well as a shield projector that can cover several ships at once.
    • The Chick: Being a genius scientist and engineer and the creator of both hers and Asaga's ryders, Chigara overlaps with the Smart Girl, but she is also the heart of the team, caring and considerate and ends up as a crucial emotional anchor for Kayto. Her ryder, the Liberty, is armed only with a light laser cannon, but it can repair other ships on the field, improve their accuracy, or mess with the enemy by disabling their flak, their shields or shutting down a single ship altogether, all of which make her pretty much essential to any battleplan. Like Bianca, it also has a shield projector that actually stacks with Bianca's and the Sunrider's, which can make an almost impenetrable anti-laser cover.
    • The Sixth Ranger: Icari is a cold and calculating assassin and, depending on your choices, can actually start out as an antagonist. Her ryder, the Phoenix is by far the fastest ryder but it's only effective against other ryders or unarmored ships, so she'll probably skirt the formation taking out targets of opportunity.
  • Freeware Game: The first game in the series, Mask of Arcadius, can be downloaded for free. Sunrider Academy and Sunrider Liberation Day are not free and must be bought.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Most of the mecha and ships seem to have some form of laser-based attack. Also see Shout-Out.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: PACT may have started out as a populist revolution against the oppressive New Empire, but by the start of the game they’ve become just as bad as the government they overthrew. If nothing else the Empire was content to sit within its own borders, while PACT is aggressively expanding into the Neutral Rim and forcing planets to join by nuking their cities from orbit.
  • 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.
  • Happy Ending Override
  • Hard Light: The ancient Ryuvians possessed such tech. When encountered as a boss, the Seraphim creates two (actually three) holograms of itself which all prove to be just as solid and deadly as the real thing. Arcadius also possesses such tech, as his holographic projection was able to shoot and kill the King of Ryuvia.
  • <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.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: When the Bianca shoots, Claude may shout "Dang it, Captain! I'm a doctor, not a fighter!" Based on the accuracy of her ryder's only weapon, she's telling the truth.
  • Immediate Sequel: Liberation Day picks up right after the end of Mask of Arcadius, with Fontana having just unmasked Arcadius as one of the Prototypes and Chigara freaking out upon realizing that the Prototypes look just like her.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Asaga shows this by partially awakening her Ryuvian royalty abilities and flying across to Chigara to deflect a sniper shot.
    Icari: A-are you kidding me? T-that bullet was travelling at 150 percent the speed of light!
  • The Juggernaut: The Legion is a three-kilometre long dreadnought with enough firepower to destroy a planet’s entire space fleet in one salvo, without using its Wave Motion Gun. When fought as a boss it has maxed-out shields, maxed-out flak, extremely thick armor, and almost twice as many hit points as its entire escort fleet combined. Even the Sunrider’s Vanguard Cannon will barely scratch it, and it takes Alliance battleships armed with powerful railguns to do any real damage to the Legion.
    • The Nightmare Ascendant is an ancient Ryuvian Ryder with just as much firepower as the Legion and even more health. Its first act is to devastate an Alliance fleet with a swarm of Attack Drones, and it No Sells a direct hit from the Vanguard Cannon. It ultimately takes the combined firepower of several Alliance and PACT fleets, plus another shot from the Vanguard Cannon, to bring the Nightmare Ascendant down.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The Phoenix and the Nightmares are mounted with gigantic katanas to slice enemy ryders in melee. The Phoenix even mounts a giant wakizashi on the left arm for authenticity.
  • 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: The Blackjack can dive into melee with one of these, as well as a conventional (for a giant robot anyways) blade on the other arm for good measure.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Liberation Day’s opening cinematic gives away the fact that Asaga Oakrun’s real name is Asaga di Ryuvia, and the fact that Chigara looks a lot like those two women standing in a sinister cloning facility. For that matter, the game’s official website also spoils the fact that Asaga is a princess and that Veniczar Arcadius is a persona shared by hive-minded clones called the Prototypes.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the story does have its lighthearted moments and silly harem antics, at its core Sunrider is about a galactic war between two interstellar superpowers, and Kayto has to make hard decisions about whether to be moral or pragmatic in the course of liberating his home planet from PACT. Academy, meanwhile, is a Highschool AU Dating Sim where Kayto’s two biggest concerns are keeping three of the school’s clubs from being disbanded, and getting himself a girlfriend before the end of the year.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Sola is the only survivor of a battle that happened two thousand years ago. Everyone she ever knew and loved is long dead, buried and forgotten, so it's only apt that her name means "alone" in Spanish.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The Pact super dreadnought Legion, which is three kilometers long.
  • Morton's Fork: At one point the Sunrider comes out of warp to find itself surrounded by a PACT fleet led by Veniczar Cullen, who demands that Kayto hand over the Crown Jewel of Ryuvia. If Kayto refuses, Cullen’s fleet will open fire. If Kayto agrees in order to protect his crew, Cullen still opens fire once he has the jewel. The only reason the Sunrider isn’t destroyed then and there is because Asaga admits that she’s the Princess of Ryuvia and gives herself up to Cullen.
  • Multiple Endings: Liberation Day's [RE]turn mode has eighteen: seven bad endings, one "worst" ending, three normal endings, two "alternative" endings, four happy endings and one secret ending. The happy endings are effectively interchangeable, as they play out the same way and the only difference between them is which Love Interest Kayto ends up with.
  • Nintendo Hard: Especially later in the game. Their spin-off game even opens with some jokes about it.
    • Liberation Day does not pull punches on difficulty, either. The game will punish bad decisions at the default difficulty.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Nightmare Ascendant
  • 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.
  • Older Than She Looks: Cosette is the leader of the pirate gang hounding the Sunrider throughout much of the game. She's murderous, ruthless, borderline psychotic and looks like a little kid. Kayto at first thinks she's a child soldier, but it turns out the ongressite runoff polluting her planet stunted her growth past eleven and, according to her, she's one of the lucky ones.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Lining up the Vanguard Cannon well can take down a considerable portion of an enemy fleet before you've even had to move.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Operation Wedding Crash
  • Overnight Conquest: The PACT invasion of Cera along with other worlds in the Neutral Rim.
  • Peace Conference: Liberation Day sees Kayto sitting in on a session of peace talks between the Alliance and a moderate faction of PACT. While both sides sincerely want peace, neither side is willing to budge on their respective demands and so the talks don’t go anywhere. Much later on, the titular Liberation Day ceremony is meant to serve as one of these. It fails horribly, leading into the Darkest Hour described above.
  • 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.
  • Railroading: A common criticism of Liberation Day is that the story quickly went this way, stripping out player choices in favor of predetermined events. Somewhat infamously, this took the form of forcing a romantic relationship with Chigara and Asaga's resulting violent jealous breakdown, regardless of decisions made in previous games. A later patch extended the ending slightly to mitigate some of these criticisms, though without fully altering any existing content.
    • Hilariously lampshaded by Kayto in [RE]turn while trying to distract Claude’s past self:
    “Where’s my input, doc?! Lately I feel like I’m being railroaded down a certain path without any say in what I want! It’s like all my choices have just up and vanished! Before this… I used to be a free man. I used to be able to make command decisions! I used to be able to rip up rulebooks! But right now… I just feel like I’ve been chained to the doghouse.”
  • Ramming Always Works: With the Sunrider having just taken a crippling hit that knocked out all its weapons and the Alliance flagship Machiavelli Actual poised to obliterate his home planet Cera with a weapon of mass destruction, Kayto Shields gives his crew the order to abandon ship and rams the Sunrider into the Machiavelli. He lives, but both ships are destroyed.
  • Real Robot Genre: Silly harem shenanigans aside, the story centers around military space-fleet actions as two galactic powers squabble over strategic and resource nodes on the frontier, with mechs largely being used in place of space-fighters during larger engagements between capital ships. Furthermore, while the player's Ace Custom mecha are generally superior to the enemy's mass-produced models, it's still advisable to have juggled your resources well by the mid-game, or being overwhelmed by superior numbers will wreck all of them.
  • Roboteching: Laser weapons on almost every ship, from the Sunrider's Trinities to the Legion's batteries, arc when firing for no apparent reason. The only laser weapons that fire remotely realistically are those mounted on ryders (and the pirate destroyer), which fire in a straight line.
    • Missiles work like modern real-life cruise missiles, firing in an upward angle, traversing the space to the target, and finally striking in a downward angle.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: After a good hard battle, there's nothing quite like a relaxing trip to the beach to boost morale. Kayto employs this after the successful defense of Far Port much to the delight of his (mostly) fun-loving crew.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Alice and Chigara are still battling within the midstream, while Alpha fears it slowly being corrupted.
    • Claude is revealed to a time-travelling goddess. Her failed efforts to unite humanity through the Prototypes causes her to defect.
    • Fontana reinstates Veniscar A. Kuuschana as Fleet Admiral, either controlling the Legion or Assault Carriers to prepare against the Alliance invasion.
    • The Ebon Fleet, lead by Sola's uncle Crow, appears in the uncharted regions of space. He then declares war against the galaxy to rebuild the old empire.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Liberation Days [RE]turn mode revolves around this, with Claude sending Kayto three days into the past so he can try to prevent the Liberation Day massacre.
  • 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."
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Though she's not talking to the villain in Liberation Day, Claude catches a kill shot to her ryder while protecting Chigara from Asaga. Due to being a Physical God, she gets better, though.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: An example where the hero can do this. In an early mission, you take down a band of pirates engaged in selling kidnapped girls into slavery. After defeating them, you can either bind their survivors over for trial on a planet with an underfunded justice system, or you can jam their distress beacon and leave them to die.
  • Smart People Build Robots: Chigara, who tells Kayto that she built the Black Jack and the Liberty from scratch. Also applies to all the other ryders and the Sunrider itself, as she is in charge of the R&D department. She also finds herself building small machines without thinking at times.
    Chigara: Ummm... I actually made this little contraption in my sleep yesterday night...I was really confused when I woke up and saw a power converter on my bed, but I think it should work perfectly for your ship.
    Kayto: Well, I'll be damned. Not only does it work, but the efficiency's been increased by 20 percent.
  • 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.
  • Space Opera: The plot involves the crew of a single ship getting embroiled in a galactic war between two interstellar superpowers as they try to liberate their home planet from a Galactic Conqueror. The only thing missing is the presence of aliens.
  • Space Pirates: Cosette and her gang.
  • Space Whale: Space Whales, which are never actually encountered in-game but are mentioned several times. Sunrider Academy has Kayto and Chigara walk into a holographic exhibit on the creatures during her route, where they learn more than they ever wanted to know about space whale mating habits.
  • Standard Scifi Fleet: The Solar Alliance and Pact have frigates, destroyers, cruisers, carriers, and extremely rare (and gigantic) super-dreadnoughts. Traditional space fighters are replaced by Humongous Mecha called Ryders which fulfill many of the same roles. The Sunrider itself is The Battlestar, and was a unique kind of ship at time of its creation, but by the end of Mask of Arcadius the PACT has begun mass-producing their own version of assault carriers. Liberation Day adds gunboats and fast cruisers to the mix.
  • 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.
  • Succession Crisis: One of these took place in the backstory. When the Ryuvian Infinite Emperor and his eldest son were assassinated, his two remaining sons—Sola’s father and Crow Harbor, either of whom could have been behind the assassinations—went to war over the throne. Since that war happened two thousand years ago and the Ryuvian Empire has long since crumbled, nobody remembers who won.
  • The Internet is for Porn:
    Claude(When debuffing an enemy):"Oh! I accidentally downloaded his entire porn collection!..."Space Whales"?"
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: PACT started as a liberation group to overthrow the tyrannical New Empire, but by the time the game starts they're "liberating" neutral planets by aggressively ordering them to join or, should they refuse, blowing them up until they surrender unconditionally. The game's opening shows PACT's flagship, the Legion, warping in and blowing out Cera's capital city without a word.
  • Their First Time: Before Ava leaves for the military, she invites Kayto over to her apartment where they spend the night together.
  • The Stinger: The Ebon Fleet, the armada of the Holy Ryuvian Empire, appears in the present time from five thousand years into the future. Officers report that their time device malfunctioned and are unable to return to their timeline. The leader, Crow Harbor, then declares he'll rebuild the Holy Ryuvian Empire.
  • 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.
  • Villain Has a Point: Fontana points out that the Alliance is no better than past Empires and PACT as they are willing to use underhanded and morally questionable methods to get what they want. Examples are how the Alliance broke their treaty with Ryuvian over handing Far Port back for the sake of establishing a strategic point and taking advantage of Fontana's virtues by threatening to blow up a 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.
  • Wedding Smashers: After Veniczar Cullen kidnaps Asaga and takes her off to Ryuvia Prime to be married to Arcadius, the Sunrider’s crew launches Operation Wedding Crash—in which they use the Sunrider’s modified warp engine to bypass the PACT fleet surrounding Ryuvia and come out of warp right above the space station where the wedding takes place—to get her back. They also try to assassinate Arcadius for good measure, but that part doesn’t go so well.
  • 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.
  • Wham Episode: The Liberation Day massacre, where Chigara dies and everything the protagonists have been fighting for goes up in smoke.
  • Your Other Left: Subverted. In one particular instance of Sunrider being fired upon following the wedding crash and rescue of Asaga, Shields shouts "Hard to port!", but the ship instead veers starboard.
  • Zerg Rush: PACT kicks off the Second Battle of Cera by throwing hundreds of thousands of ryders at the Alliance fleet in order to take out the shield cruisers protecting said fleet from PACT’s long-range lasers.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VisualNovel/Sunrider