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Crying Suns is a science-fiction roguelite with Real-Time with Pause combat, developed by the French studio Alt-Shift and released on September 19th, 2019 for PC through Steam. Its gameplay has been compared to FTL while its setting takes heavy notes from classic sci-fi, such as Foundation and Dune, being set in a heavily stratified Feudal Future ruled by an immortal God-Emperor.
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The player controls Admiral Ellys Idaho, or more accurately, a clone of the original Admiral Idaho, once the most trusted commander of Emperor Oberon. He is awakened in a secret facility on the edge of space by its OMNI unit, Caliban, who informs him that the scheduled transmissions from the rest of Empire's OMNI units have gone silent; as they effectively ran all of the civilization in the background, this amounts to a complete societal collapse.

Now, Idaho must resolve the mystery of The Shutdown by making his way through the sectors of the Empire that are torn apart by infighting, facing many dangers from both the anomalies of space and various hostile factions. However, since he is already a clone, getting killed only reactivates the next clone in line, and the same thing happens to your crewmembers. Moreover, reaching certain milestones triggers the transition to the next "chapter", as you have left a change large enough to persist even after the previous clone had perished.

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This game contains examples of:

  • 2-D Space: Space combat takes place on a two-dimensional hex grid. Your squadrons can fly around obstacles and enemy units, but cannot fly over or under them.
  • A God Am I: Oberon claims to be Idaho's god when the latter finally encounters him, as both the original Idaho and all of his clones owe their existence to Oberon's schemes.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Debris Catapult flings asteroids at the targeted area. The asteroids inflict no damage, but they do create asteroid fields which slow and provide cover to any squadrons passing through them.
  • Absent Aliens: Aside from flora and fauna, the universe of Crying Suns is inhabited solely by humans and their machine creations.
  • The Ace: Idaho himself is seen as this, the best admiral of the empire no less. There is also a special officer you can recruit going by this nickname, recruiting her gives a damage boost to deployed fighters and other ships.
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  • Action Bomb: Boomer Drones explode when they're destroyed, damaging all adjacent units.
  • After the End: The Shutdown left the Empire in this state, when the OMNIs shutdown everything stopped, from food production to basic maintenance, and what's left is a galaxy crawling with bandits and warlords, while it being repeatedly mentioned that humanity as a whole has maybe another decade or two at most before every salvageable resource and technology is exhausted.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Rogue Kosh Mech encounter, which has the potential to decimate your landing party.
  • All There in the Manual: The Steam trading cards give technical information about the battleship classes which isn't presented in the game itself, such as their length, width, height and mass.
  • The Alleged Car: Scrappers will strip any ships they find for parts, leaving them as barely functional wrecks. Their squadrons are always patched and cannot be repaired, though they get some Scrap back whenever they buy (or find) a new squadron.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: If Idaho encounters another Imperial battleship and tells them who he is, the battleship’s captain might believe him, or they might sarcastically claim to be Pope Zenon.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: If you complete the optional quest to kill Dr. Landa during Chapter IV, the people he terrorized will be so overjoyed that they flock to join your cause, netting you nine commandos as a reward.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Neo-N, which powers spaceships and the OMNIs, can be turned into a highly addictive drug, gives the Neo-N child prophetic powers, can be made into a foam that puts out fires etc.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Your battleship can carry up to twelve squadrons, sixteen if you pick the Kaos class, but cannot deploy them all into battle at once. The number of squadrons you can deploy depends on your battleship’s number of Squadron Docks: most battleships can deploy up to four squadrons, the Kaos can deploy up to five, and the Jericho can deploy up to three.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Kosh-Buendia house. They pride themselves on their military technologies to the point of overconfidence, and are quick to pick fights because of this.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The OMNIs were artificial intelligences which managed the Empire’s infrastructure and ran all its technology. They stopped working twenty years ago in a mysterious event called the Shutdown, leading to the collapse of galactic civilization. The only OMNI still active is Kaliban, who sends out clones of you to figure out what caused the Shutdown.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Shutdown was the OMNIs collectively abandoning their physical frames as they migrated to a new platform with much greater computational power: the stars themselves. They now exist within every star in the universe and have the power to create new matter from nothingness.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Stationary asteroids are a common terrain feature during space battles. They come in two sizes: small asteroids, which slow any squadrons passing through them but also provide cover, and large asteroids, which are impassable obstacles that your squadrons must fly around. Some maps have only a few asteroids, while others have enough large asteroids to form a natural maze with chokepoints.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!!: Can summarize the "Kaos class" ship gameplay with its starting loadout being a large amount of quick, short lived drones that explode when they get destroyed.
  • Attack Drone: One of the game's basic unit and best used for destroying enemy ships. One variety can even generate additional units so long as it remains protected.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Juggernaut Frigate can inflict enough damage to take out an entire hull bar with one attack. It’s also the slowest unit in the game bar none and cannot be sped up in any way, so good luck getting it to the enemy battleship in one piece. And if it manages to reach the battleship and execute that one attack, it explodes.
    • The Heavy Nuke is the most powerful battleship weapon in the game, inflicting 100 damage to all squadrons in an incredibly large blast radius. It also has a two-minute long cooldown period between shots, the longest of any weapon. Compare that to the Plasma Nuke, which has a much smaller blast radius and inflicts only a quarter of the Heavy Nuke’s damage, but also has a much shorter 25 second cooldown period.
  • Back Stab: Stealth squadrons inflict extra damage on the first attack they make when they come out of stealth. The Geno-class battleship’s core systems increase this extra damage.
  • The Battlestar: The game's playable battlecruisers as well as all of your oppnents are these, outfitted with capital-class weaponry and also able to field and maintain squadrons of smaller fighter craft.
  • Bio-Augmentation: House Akibara-Sung's specialty. Their members employ genetic modifications for all kind of purposes, from practical to purely aesthetical. They do need regular treatments to avoid degenerative effects, and because of that this over-use of gene splicing bit them in the ass when Shutdown happened and all OMNIs that could maintain their mods were gone.
  • Body Horror: Aplenty and disturbing even with the game's pixelated graphics. The most common examples include Scrappers with their Neo-N induced mutations, causing them to be bloated and riddled with tumors or get even more twisted; Akees too with their genespliced bodies in desperate need of maintenance, looking like ghouls with putrid decaying skin and glowing eyes (sometimes with an irregular number of those). And even outside of those sprite portraits of people you're dealing with events often showcase someone with a horrifyingly twisted body - victims of Neo-N mutations, sufferers of a flesh-eating virus epidemics etc.
  • Brain in a Jar: Encountered in the Kosh sector, as a result of Dr. Landa's experiments.
  • Breeding Slave: The Scrapper "Baby Factory" stations are prisons for them.
  • Cassandra Truth: Most of random people you meet won't believe that you're Admiral Idaho, since they knew the story of Idaho's death, but not that there's a cloning facility for him.
  • Church Militant: Like every major faction in the galaxy, the Church of Singularity has its own battleships. They can mount more guns than any other battleship class, and their commanders will eagerly use those guns against sinners.
  • Climax Boss: There are two, both of which come before a major plot twist rather than after.
    • General Vivar comes right before your encounter with the Strand A Idaho, who brings you up to speed on all the dirty secrets your AI companion Kaliban has been keeping from you.
    • The boss of Chapter V, Admiral Okonkwo, comes right before your meeting with Oberon, where you finally learn who caused the Shutdown and lock yourself into one of the game’s multiple endings.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each faction has a color appearing on their ships and on their clothes you're quickly going to recognize: Scrapers are radioactive green, the Church is teal, House Akibara-Sung is violet, House Koshe is Orange, House Telos is white and Pirates are purple.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Nano Drones have a passive ability called Precog Dodge, which prevents adjacent enemy squadrons from attacking them.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Jericho-class battleship encourages this. Its core systems give your squadrons a 40% damage boost when attacking debuffed enemies (and a 10% damage penalty when attacking non-debuffed enemies), and lets you start a fight with your non-direct damage battleship weapons halfway to being ready to fire. Cripple your enemy’s squadrons with status effects and go to town on them.
  • Confusion Fu: You can generally tell what special abilities a squadron has by its name. Boomer Drones explode, Ghost and Wraith Fighters cloak, Magneto Frigates phish, and so on. Prototype squadrons, on the other hand, can have any ability, making them extremely unpredictable.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: If you manage to find the Cryo-Prison complex on Lazarus-IX and choose to visit it, Idaho will pour his heart out to the frozen form of Rebecca.
  • Cooldown: Battleship weapons have cooldown timers which range from 10 seconds to two minutes, depending on the weapon in question.
  • Cooldown Manipulation: There are officer abilities and auxiliary systems which reduce the cooldown of your battleship’s weapons, most of these reduce the cooldowns by a fixed percentage. One ability, weapon sabotage, also sabotages the cooldown of enemy weapons, resetting the weapon with the least cooldown remaining, if one of your squadrons are within 3 cells of the enemy's weapon systems.
  • Cryo-Prison: Lazarus IX is such facility, where prisoners sent by Oberon's decree are kept. Rebecca, the original Idaho's wife, is also there.
  • Cyborg: House Kosh-Buendia's hat. Contrasting Akees, Kosh specialise in mechanical augmentations and widely utilise them for their members. Having many augmentations is even seen as something of a status symbol among them.
  • The Cycle of Empires: The game is set on the cusp between the Decay and Long Night periods, with what little of the Empire remains ruling only a tiny sector, and the rest overrun by bandits and warlords.
  • Damage Over Time: Several distinct types are present in the game.
    • The Decay status effect is this game’s version of Poison or Bleed, whittling down an afflicted squadron’s health until it wears off. It can kill.
    • The Tesla Field Generator repeatedly damages any squadrons within the field it creates. To get the most out of it, you need to prevent enemy squadrons from leaving the field before it expires.
    • The Defensive Tactics officer ability inflicts 2 damage per second to any enemy squadron that is adjacent to your battleship.
  • Damage Reduction: The Armoured Hull auxiliary system halves all damage your battleship takes while its first hull bar is intact.
  • Dash Attack: Minotaurus Fighters are normally slow, but they accelerate while traveling in straight lines. The first attack they make against an enemy does extra damage based on how fast they were going at the time.
  • Death of a Child: If you encounter the Church battleship full of children and one of your officers exposes the kids’ true intentions, there’s no option to try Defusing The Tykebomb. You will have to kill them.
  • Deus Est Machina: The Church of Singularity believes the OMNIs to be gods created by the original machines Oberon designed. A view he deliberately encourages as a means of control. But the real kicker is, they're right, once the Facechanger infiltrated the Master Node and modified the RUBYCONs to allow the OMNIs to communicate with each other, they instantly ascended to godhood and inhabit every single sun in the galaxy.
  • Deus ex Machina: As the story progresses Idaho gets more and more fixated on reaching the Control Node, believing that everything will turn out well and all problems will fix themselves as long as they just get there and turn the OMNIs back on. Defied. OMNIs refuse to come to humanity's help even after Idaho reaches them.
  • Deflector Shields: There are two distinct types of shields in the game, both of which are represented as a bubble surrounding the protected squadron or battleship component. Absorb Shields are blue and will block a set amount of damage before collapsing, while Force Fields are golden and will make the shielded unit completely invincible for a set duration.
  • Defusing The Tykebomb: One of the Kosh sector bosses is a child’s Brain in a Jar, wired into the controls of a battleship and given doses of Special-H for winning battles. Idaho is horrified and offers his help in finding a way to return the child to normal. Unfortunately, the child has come to like its new existence and rejects his offer, attacking him.
  • Discount Card: The Pirate Transponder auxiliary system gives you a 20% discount at all shops.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When the original Idaho defied orders to nuke Ganyma, Oberon didn't just put him to death. He forced Idaho's lover Rebecca to watch the execution, and then threw her into an icy prison on Lazarus IX. He did all this purely out of spite, as he admits to the clone Idaho during their confrontation.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The one to cause the Shutdown and throw the whole Empire into chaos was none of the big players of the galaxy or named characters who were gunning for the Master Node, but some random Akee Face Changer.
  • Draw Aggro: Magneto Frigates have a passive trait which forces adjacent enemy squadrons to attack them and prevents those squadrons from disengaging.
  • Driving Question: Who or what caused the Shutdown? Is there any way to undo it? Idaho spends the entire game trying to answer both of these questions.
  • Earth That Was: Earth has been forgotten by the Empire. Few people have even heard of it, and few still believe it ever existed. Oberon cut Earth off from the rest of the Empire because its people rejected the OMNIs and tried to live without them. He believes that the people of Earth must surely have died out since then, but one of the endings shows that Earth is still inhabited.
  • EMP:
    • Some maps have EMP Towers as an environmental hazard. They periodically release electromagnetic pulses, stunning any squadrons in their immediate vicinity. They can easily stunlock a squadron if it’s caught in an area where the EMPs of two or more towers overlap.
    • Tetsuo’s Boss Ability is an EMP that goes off every 90 seconds, causing massive heat buildup in your battleship’s systems.
  • The Emperor: Oberon, who has ruled the galaxy for over 800 years. He also created the machines that created the OMNIs, but not the OMNIs themselves.
  • Emperor Scientist: Oberon invented many of the advanced technologies that exist in the setting, such as the positronic chip (which made artificial intelligence possible), the first thinking machines (which would create the OMNIs on his behalf), and his exclusive immortality technology (which has kept him alive for hundreds of years). These inventions enabled the colonization of space and allowed him to establish a galaxy-spanning Empire which he has ruled for seven centuries.
  • Evil Luddite: The Survivalists are groups of humans that believes that humans are better without OMNIs, and used terrorist tactics in order to achieve said goal. Given how screwed humans are when the OMNIs are shut down, however, they may have some points. Also, it's unknown if they're connected to The Shutdown or not, since they're wiped out by the original Idaho, who died fighting them by deliberately crashed a ship full of nuclear weapons on board into their planet that they conquered. Or, at least that's how the story goes. You'll eventually discover that while the planet this takes place on is glassed, Idaho didn't actually do it, since he refused the order. And they're not responsible for the shutdown either, given how few survivors they have, and they have no access to where the Master Terminal is.
  • Fairest of Them All: Akibara-Sungs view themselves as such and everyone else as inferior to them, missing no chance to tell you how ugly you are in their events. Thing is, their standards of beauty have greatly... developed, and do not necessary match those of the rest of the humankind, and so Akees do not even look like regular humans but rather like the Uncanny Valley natives. And that's before Shutdown happened and their unmaintained gene-mods turned into degenerative diseases.
  • Fantastic Drug: Special-H (or Special-Human) is a drug which makes people feel better about living in a utopian society where nothing is required or expected from them. It is extremely addictive: one use will get you hooked for life, and your future children as well.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Some squadrons have "bender drives" which let them teleport to any spot on the map during space combat. The player’s battleship can jump to nearby systems by following Hyperspace Lanes, provided it has enough fuel to make the jump.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Squadrons inflict a fixed amount of damage with every attack. The amount doubles when they attack something that is weak to them in the squadron triangle, or when attacking a Cruiser at close range. Some battleship weapons also inflict fixed damage, while others have variable damage outputs.
  • Foreshadowing: Kaliban will occasionally mention after a jump that a star's readings are just slightly off. It's finally revealed at the end of the game that it was done by the Omni gestalt to delay entropy until they could find a permanent solution.
  • Fragile Speedster: Drones move and attack very quickly, though they have less health and do less damage per hit than Fighters, Frigates and Cruisers. They trump Frigates and are trumped by Fighters in the squadron triangle.
  • Freeze Ray: The Sub-Zero battleship weapon freezes its target for a few seconds, inflicting no damage but leaving the target at the mercy of nearby enemy squadrons.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The Hammer-class battleship’s core systems make its squadrons immune to friendly fire. It also gives them a 100% damage boost whenever they get hit by friendly fire, encouraging you to shoot at your own units.
  • Feudal Future: The galaxy-spanning Empire is ruled by a collection of noble houses. The three Great Houses are House Telos (the royal family), House Akibara-Sung, and House Kosh-Buendia, each of which controls its own star cluster. There are also minor houses like House Vicarelli, though they aren't as prominent.
  • Galactic Superpower: The Empire was the dominant power in the galaxy until the Shutdown happened.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Unlike many rogue-lites, ALL of your runs actually happen in the game's story. Even the failed ones. The player's command base of Ghenna has sent out hundreds of ships, Idahos, and their crews to their deaths, hoping that one will eventually be able to save the Empire. This is reflected in several story events and random encounters.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Cruisers are very powerful and can attack from range, but they’re also extremely slow and completely defenseless against adjacent enemy units. Even the weakest enemy squadron can reduce a Cruiser to space debris in seconds.
    • The Geno-class battleship can mount up to three weapons and deploy up to four squadrons at once, the second-highest amount for both categories, and its core systems give stealth squadrons a Back Stab damage bonus. However, it starts with one hull bar and no hull hardening, and while it can have up to four bars, it can only take one point of hull hardening, meaning it will always have less health than other battleships with the same number of hull bars.
  • Gradual Regeneration:
    • One officer skill lets your battleship recover 0.5 hit points per second, while another skill gives each squadron in your deployment zone 10 seconds of gradual healing every 15 seconds.
    • One battleship weapon gives the targeted squadron gradual regeneration for a few seconds in addition to a hefty chunk of direct healing.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Vice Admiral Okonkwo, Idaho's best friend and True Companion to the rest of the Empire, was actually jealous of him for constantly overshadowing him, both as Oberon's favourite and as the one who won Rebecca's attention, neither of which changed even after the original Idaho's execution. He never acted based on that until the very recent times, when he defied Oberon's orders and, making use of Oberon's withdrawal from ruling matters, declared Idaho a wanted criminal and a traitor to the Empire to be killed on sight in the sectors under Okonkwo's control.
  • Healing Shiv: The Repair Bot Injector is a battleship "weapon" that restores a large chunk of health to the targeted squadron and gives them temporary health regeneration.
  • Heel Realization: The original Idaho had one after he was ordered to glass a far weaker planet because Oberon wanted to make a point; everything Kaliban was programmed to do is to prevent Idaho's clones from coming to the same realization.
  • Humans Are Insects: The gestalt of ascended OMNIs is utterly indifferent to humanity's fate and does not hold them in any particular regard. Even when Idaho reaches them through the Master Node they refuse to involve themselves in humanity's struggle in any way, negative or positive, apart from spelling out for Idaho what he himself can do before returning to matters they consider more important.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Rogue Kosh Mech is only seen briefly when encountered, but it towers above the landscape.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The first boss of Chapter 6 is a Pirate who eats his victims. Since you respawn by cloning, he comments on the fact that he eats you every time you die:
    "It’s like I have a clone farm for my food. A free-range Imperial clone farm."
  • Immortal Ruler: Oberon has ruled his galactic empire for 700 years thanks to machines which keep him alive well beyond his natural lifespan. After the Shutdown happened and the Empire collapsed, he switched the machines off in despair, and old age will finally do him in if you don’t shoot him yourself. In one ending, you use his immortality machines to follow in his footsteps, ruling over the Empire for ten centuries.
  • Immortality Immorality: Oberon has been alive for around 800 years thanks to his immortality tech, and his mind is definitely twisted by now - though how much of it is due to his unnatural lifespan and how much is just his personality is up to interpretation.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The boss of Chapter 5, Admiral Okonkwo, can make his squadrons temporarily invincible at regular intervals.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Earth is viewed this way, as just a vague myth even among those that believe in it's existence. Turns out to be deliberate, as Earth was where Oberon started the Empire, and ultimately rebelled against him by destroying their OMN Is and the Folder to access it, thus leading him to suppress all knowledge of its existence to consolidate power. Subverted in the ending where the OMNI gestalt reveals that they survived, despite stating they were a single catastrophe away from extinction. If Idaho chooses to search for Earth, he discovers there are still sizeable portions of the globe lit by city lights.
  • It Has Been an Honor: At the end of the game, Idaho—knowing that many of his people are about to die and that they might not be able to be resurrected this time—addresses the crew to tell them that he could not have asked for a better one, and to thank them for all they’ve done over this life and all their previous ones.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Inverted and defied. Potential bosses of the penultimate sector of the last chapter seem to consist of various figures connected to the main bosses of previous sectors, such as General Vivar's father or Tetsuo's wife. Since you killed them to get there it would make sense for them to hold it personal against you, but they never do - they either do not realise that you killed the characters they were tied to, or do not care for one reason or another.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • Fighters are slower but stronger than Drones, and faster but weaker than Frigates. They beat the former and are beaten by the latter in the squadron triangle.
    • The default Excelsior-class battleship has balanced stats compared to the other battleships. Its base stats have at least one point in every statistic, and its maximum stats are generally high but not the highest. It doesn’t excel at any one thing, but it doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either.
  • The Juggernaut: The Juggernaut Frigate is a slow, heavily armoured hulk with complete immunity to any status effect that would reduce its speed. If it reaches the enemy battleship, the Juggernaut will inflict massive damage to it with its prow-mounted drill.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Justified. As explained by Kaliban, Admiral Idaho's emotional memories were lost in the cloning process. Which is a lie. They were intentionally suppressed because the original Idaho rebelled against the emperor and was executed. The Kaliban OMNIs had to create a whole new strain of clones after the first strain somehow regained the memories.
  • Last of His Kind: Kaliban is the last functioning OMNI in the galaxy.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: After discovering that the OMNI gestalt mind only cared about bringing Caliban into the fold, Idaho is given three paths to choose between after being sent from the Master Node — embark on a quest for the Earth That Was, become the next Emperor to force the survivors to re-learn how to live, or just abandon everything in order to reunite with his long-lost wife. The gestalt is willing to discuss the potential pros and cons of each path, but the choice is Idaho's alone.
  • Lightning Gun: The Tesla Field Generator battleship weapon creates a crackling electrical field at a point you target. The field lasts for a few seconds and inflicts Damage Over Time to any squadrons within it.
  • Long-Lived: Emperor Oberon has ruled the galaxy for 700 years, using immortality technology to extend his lifespan. Most of the Empire’s nobles refer to him as "the Old Man" because of this. In one ending, you use the same technology to rule over the Empire for a thousand years.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Cruisers can attack enemy squadrons from 2-3 tiles away. They cannot attack adjacent tiles, however, and will melt if an enemy squadron manages to get in their face. Impaler Cruisers take it to the point of Crippling Overspecialization: they can shoot at the enemy battleship from anywhere on the map, but they can only shoot at the enemy battleship.
  • Machine Worship: The Church of the Singularity worship OMNIs as gods, with the believer count around ~99% of the human population. Oberon deliberately construct the religion that way, as a way to make them dependent on OMNIs, since the Emperor believes that humans can't survive otherwise.
  • Macrogame: Kaliban is able to permanently archive the DNA of several special officers that can be found or hired during each run, making them potentially available when starting any future games.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: General Vivar’s boss ability launches dozens of missiles at your squadrons’ current positions. The missiles take a few seconds to reach the targeted cells, so you can move your squadrons out of harm’s way if Vivar’s own squadrons aren’t bogging them down.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Landa takes this trope and runs with it. Abducting children? Check. Using the brains of said children to create robotic servants named Panzergeists? Check. Turning the brain of a 13-year-old into a battleship commander, hooking it up on drugs and programming a machine to release the only drugs after victory in combat? Triple Check.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Officers and squadrons that fall in battle gain a status which halves their maximum HP. The status is called "patched" for squadrons and "injured" for officers, and it lasts until you pay to have it removed. Squadrons deployed from a Kaos-class battleship are always patched, and the ship’s Brutal Deployer auxiliary system further reduces their maximum HP to a quarter of its normal value.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • Frigates are the slowest of the four squadron types, but they have lots of health and reasonably high DPS. The Juggernaut Frigate is the epitome of this, being an incredibly slow ship with more health than most unmodified battleships and the ability to inflict tremendous damage to the enemy mothership.
    • The Hammer class battleship starts with three levels of hull hardening, can increase this to seven levels with maximized stats, and can have up to five hull bars. It is by far the beefiest of the battleships available to the player, and its core systems make its squadrons slower while also rendering them Friendly Fireproof.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The default Excelsior class battleship is 1.2 kilometers long, according to the Steam trading cards. Other battleship classes are of similar length.
  • Mood Whiplash: Quite a few of the random encounters have wild swings in tone. For instance, you may come across a civilian ship with an insane crew determined to "merge" with the system's sun, who claim that they'll fight hard if you attempt to stop them. Actually sending a boarding crew on board, however, will swiftly see them arrested for no loss...and you'll then receive a call from the nearby planet, with the mother of the cult leader thanking you for bringing her wayward son and his idiot friends back home.
  • Multiple Endings: The game's ending depends on the choices you make during the final confrontation with Oberon.
    • If you choose to kill Oberon, you take his place as Emperor, but the ending narration reveals that you become a cruel despot who rules the remnants of the galaxy with an iron fist.
    • If you spare Oberon, you can either choose to spend the rest of your days with Rebecca if you previously rescued her, or set out to find Earth.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Most battleships start with at least two "hull" bars, and you can spend Scrap on additional hull structures to get more. If a hull bar runs out of hit points, you’ll need to repair it by spending Scrap at a shipyard.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Once Oberon restores Admiral Idaho's memories, he realizes that he had caused the Shutdown by telling the Face Changer disguised as his wife where to find the Master Node. Adding insult to injury, the OMNIs reveal that their original plan was for him to tell his future daughter on his deathbed — out of guilt for actually bombing the Survivalists himself as ordered. They foresaw she would have become the first Empress, and would have freed them anyway; meaning that even his moment of conscience doomed humanity.
  • No-Sell: Some squadrons have "atemporal engines" which render them immune to any status effect that would reduce their movement speed.
  • Nuclear Option: The heavy nuke weapon requires an agonizing two minutes of combat to arm, but once it does, it can clear the entire battlefield of enemies. It does not, however, damage the enemy command ship's hull.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The teams you send out for ground-based exploration and scavenging will invariably confront a ton of challenges; from being ambushed by hostile mechs and mutants to encountering various traps or heavily polluted regions, all of which can wound or kill their members, but can also be bypassed without a scratch if the officer in charge had the right skillset for the area. However, since you view this from Idaho's perspective, who never risks his own life there, you only get to see a highly abstract top-down rendition of your team automatically moving across the terrain on the scanner display, with the hazards flashing at regular intervals, and getting resolved one way or another just as quickly.
  • One Bad Mother: The boss of Chapter One is Mother, the cruel and horrendously overweight leader of the Scrappers.
  • Oracular Urchin: The child who receives visions after breathing Neo-N through her nose, initially controlled by the Scrappers.
  • Our Dark Matter Is Mysterious: The Dark Matter Cannon covers a targeted area with spheres resembling small black holes. These dark matter spheres act like a wall, forming a temporary obstacle which squadrons cannot pass through.
  • Plasma Cannon: The Plasma Nuke is a battleship weapon which inflicts heavy damage to all squadrons in a large area of effect. Its damage output and blast radius are both inferior to those of an actual Heavy Nuke (25 damage compared to the latter's 100 damage), but it has a much shorter cooldown time (25 seconds compared to the Heavy Nuke's two minutes).
  • Portal Network: The Empire used megastructures called Folders to bridge the vast interstellar distances between star clusters. When the OMNIs shut down, so did the Folder network, and the Empire collapsed as interstellar travel became impossible. Kaliban has a limited ability to turn them back on, allowing Idaho to traverse the clusters in his search for the truth.
  • Power at a Price: Except for the Excelsior class, every battleship's core system provides some benefits while also imposing a drawback.
    • The Kaos class's core system lets it carry an extra four squadrons and gives the player some Scrap whenever they obtain a new squadron. In exchange, their squadrons are always patched.
    • The Jericho class's core system halves the cooldown time for the first shot of your non-direct damage battleship weapons and gives your squadrons a damage bonus against debuffed targets. In exchange, your squadrons have a DPS penalty against non-debuffed targets.
    • The Geno class's core system lets your stealth squadrons enter stealth the instant they're deployed and increases the damage they inflict when they come out of stealth. In exchange, all your squadrons have 20% less maximum health.
    • The Hammer class’s core system makes your squadrons immune to friendly fire and temporarily doubles their attack power whenever they get hit by friendly fire. In exchange, the movement speed of your squadrons is reduced by 15%.
    • The Void class's core system increases your chances of starting a fight in an advantageous position, doubles the speed at which your squadrons capture things, and lets you have 6 officers instead of 5. In exchange, the number of commandos you can deploy on an expedition is reduced from 10 to 8.
  • Practical Currency: After the collapse of the Imperial civilization, the only thing that has any value is Scrap, which is used in every trade.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: You can find an abandoned Akee station where a Dr. Akara used herself as a test subject for her experiments. If you send some commandos to investigate the place, they will be slaughtered by a monstrous creature. If you then send in a fighting specialist to kill the beast, they will identify it as Dr. Akara from its eyes.
  • Properly Paranoid: Oberon feared the possibility of a machine uprising and took many precautions against it, one of which was a set of restrictions to prevent the OMNIs from communicating with each other. The ending shows that he was right to do so: the Shutdown was caused by someone removing these restrictions from the RUBYCON protocols, allowing the OMNIs to form a consensus and ascend to godhood.
  • Protection Racket: The Imperial fleet is extorting the worlds of the Empire’s heartlands in this manner, forcing their ruling lords and ladies to pay a monthly tribute in exchange for protection from… "threats".
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Parasite Drones can burrow into an enemy squadron and take control of it. They need to spend a few seconds attacking the squadron without getting attacked before this ability will take effect, limiting their options to Cruisers or the Juggernaut Frigate unless they have a Magneto Frigate to draw fire away from them.
  • Ramming Always Works: The strand A Idaho you meet at the end of Chapter 4 takes advantage of Kaliban's programming to upload Strand A memories back to the cloning facility by ramming your ship, thus killing both Idahos in close proximity and forcing Kaliban to merge both of their memories and upload it to Gehenna, making your Idaho regain memories of what actually killed the original Idaho.
  • Red Shirt: Your commandos are interchangeable goons with two hit points apiece and no sprites. They exist to act as meat shields for your officers during expeditions, and to be deployed during certain anomalies.
  • Reinventing the Wheel: Justified: The Fold can only be properly utilized by OMNIs designed specifically for the job controlling the Fold points. Since all OMNIs are shut down, and Kaliban is only partially programmed for the job, the only things he can jump through are things he's preprogrammed for, mainly basic ships that he already have blueprints for and crew members that he have DNA templates for.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Your battleship starts with 5 units of fuel and uses up one each time it moves from planet to planet or jumps from one system to another. There are three ways to get more: buy it from shops, which have limited stock; find it on expeditions, which are risky and unpredictable; or scavenge it from hypercubes, which can only be done once per system. Run out, and you’ll be forced to wait for a passing ship to refuel you… and there’s a good chance the passing ship will be a hostile pirate looking to plunder you.
  • Reverse Arm-Fold: Idaho's typically seen in this pose.
  • Sand Worm: Can be encountered on expeditions. Passing all challenges nets you the "May His passing cleanse the world" achievement.
  • Scary Amoral Religion: The Church of Singularity believes that the OMNIs shut down because of human sin, and that the only way to make their metal gods turn back on is to atone through suffering. So now they travel the stars in their Jericho-class battleships, spreading pain and terror in a twisted effort to help people "atone".
  • Secret Character: There are thirteen special officers which the player can recruit during their runs. These special officers are distinguished from generic ones by having more health and an extra skill. Recruiting a special officer unlocks them for all future runs, but if a special officer dies, you’ll need to wait five runs before that officer can be used again. Your starting crew can only have one special officer, no matter how many you’ve unlocked.
  • Send in the Clones: Gehenna production facility allows for this, creating clones of yourself and your crew as well as manufacturing battle ships for them and sending them out into the systems to save the Empire - as well as replacement for those too, if/once you fail. It's been doing this for decades before the game starts and your "first" clone sets out.
  • Sequential Boss: The final boss of the last sector has you fight against multiple boss ships back to back.
  • Servile Snarker: Kaliban can be very snide at times.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Emperor Oberon and Kaliban to the works of William Shakespeare. As ruler and servant their roles even resemble their shakespearean counterparts.
    • You can meet a man who believes that aliens infiltrate human society, shut down the OMNIs, and can only be seen by special sunglasses.
    • Plenty of references to Dune, such as Empire's space feudalism with its warring noble houses, Face Shifters, the planet named Ghanima. See also Sand Worm, above. And, of course, you play as a clone of a guy named "Idaho".
    • Multiple references to Foundation and the other works of Isaac Asimov. The OMNIs are mostly Three Laws-Compliant robots. Kaliban eventually reveals that Gehenna and the Idaho clones were meant to be a base to rebuild the Empire if the OMNIs went rogue, or the Empire fell for other reasons. And finally, the ascended OMNI gestalt has abandoned humanity's concerns in order to answer "The Last Question" for themselves.
  • Sinister Minister: Pope Zenon is the leader of the Church of Singularity. He rules the Church cluster with an iron fist, letting his fanatical followers terrorize nonbelievers with their fleet of battleships. Ironically, he knows their religion is a sham and does not believe in it, but keeps up the pretense to maintain his power.
  • Situational Damage Attack: The Core Blaster blows up one of your own squadrons to damage adjacent units. The explosion inflicts a flat amount of damage, plus an amount equal to half the sacrificed squadron's hit points.
  • The Social Expert: An officer with the Persuasion skill knows exactly what to say in any given situation. With a few carefully chosen words they can uncover a seemingly innocent person's true intentions or convince a hostile Scrapper to release their hostages, amongst other things.
  • Sole Survivor: You can earn an achievement, called Survivor, by having an officer complete an expedition despite the deaths of all their commandos.
  • Space Fighter: Fighters are one of the game’s four squadron types. They form a triangle with Drones and Frigates, beating the former while losing to the latter.
  • Space Pirates: One of the enemy factions the player encounters. They are quite ruthless; in their encounters they often just say "It's better to kill than be killed" before charging into combat. They also claim never to surrender and will refuse the chance to do so even if you sneak up on a heavily damaged ship. During the actual combat, however, they may have second thoughts and offer resources + prisoners for a chance to flee, especially if you are playing on the lower difficulties.
  • Stealth in Space: There are multiple ways to make your squadrons invisible, and in all cases an invisible squadron remains so until it attacks or takes damage. If it comes out of stealth by attacking, that attack will inflict extra damage.
    • Ghost and Wraith Fighters will turn invisible after a few seconds of not attacking or taking damage. Wraiths become invisible faster, and when they decloak they release a shockwave that stuns adjacent enemy squadrons.
    • The Invisibility Projector is a battleship weapon which turns all squadrons in the targeted area invisible.
    • The Asteroid Field Holo-mapper auxiliary system lets your squadrons turn invisible by entering an asteroid field.
    • The Gyges Field auxiliary system is a cloaking device for your battleship. Whenever you encounter a hostile battleship, there is a 50-50 chance that the Gyges Field will activate, concealing you from the enemy. You can then slip away without a fight or ambush the enemy battleship.
    • The Geno-class battleship's core system allows your squadrons with innate stealth capabilities (i.e., your Ghosts and Wraiths) to enter stealth as soon as they're deployed instead of having to wait a few seconds, and it increases the damage they inflict with their Back Stab attack.
  • Subsystem Damage: Battleships are divided into three components: Hull, Weapons and Squadrons. Attacking them not only inflicts damage to the battleship itself, but also causes heat buildup in that system. When the heat reaches a critical threshold, the system suffers a harmful critical effect which lasts until an officer can repair it.
  • Suicide Attack:
    • If a Juggernaut Frigate reaches the opponent’s battleship, it will bore into the hull before exploding in spectacular fashion. The Juggernaut does not become patched from doing this, and you can send another squadron out to replace it immediately.
    • Several NPCs will tell you that this is how the original Ellys Idaho defeated the Survivalists: he loaded a battleship with nukes and piloted it into the crust of Ganyma, killing everyone on the planet at the cost of his own life. This is a lie. Idaho was ordered to nuke Ganyma but refused to do so on moral grounds, so Oberon killed him and had Okonkwo nuke the planet instead.
  • Super Breeding Program: Idaho is actually a result of one, a long eugenics program started by Oberon with intention to create a perfect admiral to lead forces meant to save the Empire in case of Machine Uprising or other cataclysmic crises.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Ship combat works this way. Frigates beat fighters, fighter beat drones, drones beat frigates. Cruisers are outside of this triangle, since they are able to hit enemies two hexes away (3 for the Longbow Cruisers), but are very vulnerable up close. This is given some depth by unit variations with special abilities such as damage bonuses for distance traveled, status effects, and stealth abilities.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: Without the OMNIs humanity is estimated to have a decade or two left before they deplete all available resources.
  • This Is a Drill: The Juggernaut Frigate has a massive drill bit on its prow. It uses this to destroy any asteroids in its path and inflict massive damage to an enemy’s battleship.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: The RUBYCON works as a means of control over the OMNIs, involving such laws as preventing them from harming humans, obeying all commands given by humans, and blocking all communication between other OMNIs, among other things. (Unlike the Asimovian laws, OMNIs are allowed to let humans be harmed by other humans; Kaliban justifies awakening Idaho by claiming that war is left to humans.) The removal of the communication block led the OMNIs to instantly ascend to godhood after sharing their own independent conclusions about the universe and their place in it, and thus, causing the Shutdown.
  • Tomato Surprise: It was Idaho who is responsible for leaking the location of Master Terminal, supposedly to his wife in revenge against the Emperor...except that it turns out to be a face-changer. Said face-changer then uses the information to somehow bypass the AEGIS defense system and shut down all the OMNIs.
  • Tractor Beam: Nano Drones emit a tractor beam which prevents any squadron that they’re currently attacking from moving away.
  • Two Beings, One Body: One Akee sector boss is this, a pair of idol singers who took their Those Two Actors chemistry to the furthest logical extreme, merging themselves into a single two-headed body.
  • Tyke-Bomb: In one event you'll encounter a Church battleship full of children, who claim to have escaped their indoctrination at its hand and are now looking for a place that tolerates freethinkers, with you getting the choice to let them aboard or refuse. An officer with a Negotiation perk can probe them further, by explaining that Idaho's ship is so tolerant that even though the officer claims to be totally devoted to the Church's teachings, they are unharmed by the unbelievers. This gets the children to drop their mask as they warn the officer to flee and escape the massacre they have planned aboard the ship; afterwards your choices are to refuse them and get attacked in space combat, or get ready to attack pre-emptively and begin with an ambush advantage.
  • The Usurper: House Kosh-Buendia was originally ruled by a group called the Seven. When the Shutdown occurred, General Vivar took advantage of the chaos by killing them all and seizing power for himself. He also plans to overthrow Oberon and become the undisputed ruler of the Empire.
  • Utopia: Deconstructed. Humanity lives in the care of incredibly advanced machines, OMNIs, that provide humans with everything they need and eliminate the necessity for humans to perform any kind of work, leaving them to do whatever they want. Agriculture, industry, medicine, space travel, even research, education, legislation and developing new OMNIs is handled by OMNIs, who completely replaced humans in all activities apart from war and leisure. This left humans dependent on OMNIs for absolutely everything, having OMNIs as irreplaceable part of human civilization. Most humans worshiped their machine caretakers as gods, and for many the only way to deal with the fact that they were now irrelevant was an extremely addictive drug. People could not replace OMNIs even if they tried, as their capacities far outstripped those of humans so a human simply could not do the same things as an OMNI, and OMNIs were so complex that no human even knew how they worked anymore, so they could not make new ones - only OMNIs could make new OMNIs. And because of that, when for some reason all OMNIs shut down across the Empire humans became incapable of sustaining life on their own, having lost even the most basic survival skills and dying en masse to starvation, environment, diseases and all other matters previously handed by OMNIs, as well as resulting in-fighting.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Empire used to rule the galaxy. Then the OMNIs spontaneously shut down, rendering interstellar travel and communication impossible and making most of the Empire’s technology inoperable. The Empire fragmented practically overnight, and in the twenty years since the Shutdown its former territories have been overrun with bandits and warlords.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Akibara-Sung's Face Changers, who are copied straight out of Dune and its Face Dancers. Akees use them as spies, infiltrators and Shapeshifting Seducers. You can meet one during a story event, and another one played a crucial role in the events preceding the game, when she took the location of Master Node from the original Idaho and caused the Shutdown.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The Void class has the lowest health of all battleships, many of its other base stats are incredibly low, and even its better stats are just on par with other ships in the same categories. The one area where it excels is in system support: it can have more officers assigned to its systems than any other ship, and the total number of officers it can have is six rather than five. It also comes with a Pirate Transponder that gives you a 20% discount at shops and makes neutral units friendly toward you during space battles.
  • Weak Turret Gun: Downplayed. Fighting during the "Ambush" battles will automatically place the AI-controlled turrets loyal to whichever side is doing the ambush at strategic points of the battlefield. These turrets are quite fragile but they deal a ton of damage to the squadron ships from two tiles away, so if they are aligned with your enemy and you lack Longbow Cruisers (which can safely destroy them from three tiles away), it is often worth it to deploy the mothership's weapons against them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Oberon presents himself as one when you meet him, justifying his despotic reign and the extremely flawed civilization he built as the only way for humanity as a whole to survive without being eradicated in a Machine Uprising or tearing themselves apart in civil wars. One of the endings has you become one as you take Oberon's place, trying to lead humanity through their new dark ages until humans rediscover technologies that would let them survive on their own again - but doing so will take centuries, and only a reign even more brutal and pragmatic than Oberon's will be strong enough for that.
  • Wetware CPU: The depraved Kosh scientist Dr. Landa has wired the brains of children into battle robots and plugged another child’s brain into the controls of a battleship.
  • Wham Episode: The end of Chapter IV shakes up the plot significantly. After killing General Vivar, Idaho’s ship is suddenly approached by an identical ship, captained by a much older Idaho clone. The elder Idaho says a few cryptic words before ramming the younger’s ship, killing them both. Kaliban cannot separate the two clones’ memories because they died so close to each other and is forced to combine them, causing the player’s Idaho to learn many things that Kaliban did not want him to know.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: A real concern for several characters, but only available for the most important people in the Empire.
  • Zerg Rush: The Scrappers’ Kaos-class battleship encourages this playstyle. It has no weapon slots by default and can only have two in total, but it can hold up to sixteen squadrons, can field up to five of them at once, and can redeploy them extremely quickly thanks to the Brutal Deployer auxiliary system. And you will be doing that a lot, because any squadrons you deploy will have only one-quarter of its normal maximum hit points.

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