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Video Game / Star Renegades

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Resist. Reclaim. Revive. Repeat.

Star Renegades is a sci-fi roguelite tactical RPG developed by Canadian independent studio Massive Damage, Inc., the creators of Halcyon 6 Starbase Commander, and published by Raw Fury. The game focuses on a ragtag group of rebels from the Armada fighting an evil multiversal empire named The Imperium, outsmarting AI-driven adversaries, forging friendships, and toppling galactic empires over multiple generations. It was released in September 8, 2020 for PC via Steam and GOG, and consoles on a later date.

Star Renegades contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Most sprites in Star Renegades are simply mirrored when facing the opposite direction, such as during dialogue or when facing the Overseer, an Evil Counterpart of one of your heroes.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Even after the demise of their Overseer and destruction of their ship, the ISS Eternal, the Imperium itself is still active and at large, and gets a new Overseer soon after. There's also an infinite number of alternate timelines and evil Star Renegades, which means that J5T-1N's work will never be truly over.
  • Big Bad: MOTHER, the AI that runs the Imperium's neural network.
  • Black Comedy: Much is made of the galaxy's Skewed Priorities when you inevitably lose a timeline, like a newscaster wondering what the new flag of the Imperium's vassal state will be. This is along with the camp banter where, for example, Wynn casually verifies Jens' knowledge about a religious cult of spider people who feed off the brain matter of other people and keep women frozen except for reproduction.
  • Bonus Dungeon: With the Prime Dimension expansion, once you beat the game enough times, you get the option to eventually invade the Imperium's home dimension and put an end to their threat for good. It's even more difficult than the main campaign, though.
  • Booze-Based Buff: The Food Stations you can come across dispense consumable cards you can use for a boost while camping. Several cards are different types of alcohol, which generally grant some resistance to a particular element.
  • Combatant Cooldown System: Features one.
    • All combatants' attacks take a certain amount of time; striking before a target completes their action results in a Critical Hit, which often applies bonus damage and/or Status Effects.
    • It's possible to manipulate when enemies can attack by using attacks that stagger them — a light, fast attack can slow an enemy down enough for a slow, heavy attack to strike them for massive damage.
    • If you stagger an enemy so far back that they go off the edge of the Visual Initiative Queue, they are "Broken", delaying their action until the next round. Not only does this allow the rest of your team a full turn to whale on them with your strongest attacks, but it also generates more Fury than usual, which can be spent on powerful moves. To prevent you from truly Stun Locking enemies, however, each enemy has a limited number of times they can be staggered, and no enemy can by staggered beyond the next turn.
  • Combination Attack: Upon any two units reaching the second level of Relationship Values, they will gain the ability to use one, at the cost of some Fury meter and using up both of their actions in a turn. Each Combo can also only be used once per fight.
  • Continuing is Painful: So long as at least a few of your Renegades survive to the end of a battle, you won't get a game over, but fallen Renegades come back at 1 HP and with a lingering weakness, making it all the more likely that they'll go down again in later fights unless and until you get a chance to heal them.
  • Crapsack World: While the Imperium invading is a problem, the galaxy is already an unpleasant place even without them. Every known reality faces rampant corruption, and assorted religious zealots and mercenaries can be found willingly working for the Imperium in the optional dungeons.
  • Damage Reduction: Armor serves this purpose in Star Renegades; any damage that makes it through a unit's shields is reduced by that unit's armor. Certain attacks allow combatants to bypass armor or destroy it outright.
  • Deflector Shields: Standard-issue on most heroes and enemies. Shields generally take damage before you can touch a target's health bar and will block several kinds of Status Effects. They're also subject to Regenerating Shields, Static Health; your shields regenerate after each fight, but your health must be actively refilled, such as while camping or with a single-use medkit station.
  • Developer Room: Clearing a run will lead to the Cantina at the base being filled with avatars of the development team, each with their own portrait and lines.
  • Double Unlock: In order to use most units from the start of a run (instead of randomly recruiting them midway through), the player needs to purchase them from the base with Intel. This includes Progeny, who aren't available for purchase until specific pairs of units reach maximum Relationship Values in a run.
  • Downer Beginning: It starts with a fleet of ships attacking the Imperium's mothership, the ISS Eternal, only for it to annihilate everyone but Wynn. The tutorial then ends with Wynn and Davion facing a Hopeless Boss Fight that ends in Davion's death. J5T-1N is then sent to the next timeline while their home base is under siege by the Imperium.
  • The Dragon: The Herald, such as the one that Wynn and Davion encounter in the tutorial, is a very large unit type that's only ever killable right before the Final Boss.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: The Overseer, who is the supreme leader of the Imperium and the final boss of a run.
  • Elite Mook: Most of the Imperium's officers are stronger versions of their rank-and-file soldiers, with assorted bonuses and weaknesses.
  • Emergent Narrative: In a vein similar to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War's Nemesis System, there's the Adversary System, a hierarchy within the Imperium that's always changing, with its officers having different personalities, some of which can be your former teammates from failed runs.
  • The Empire: The Imperium in this case, who seeks to control the galaxy across all timelines.
  • Escort Mission: In the final area, J5T-1N is given an explosive payload to destroy the Imperium's mothership, becoming a battle unit who cannot attack but whose defeat leads to a game over.
  • Faceā€“Heel Turn: In the game's Adversary System, if one of your teammates falls in battle, there's a chance the Imperium will assimilate them into MOTHER as one of their officers. The Imperium Overseer will always be a Star Renegade that went through this of their own volition.
  • Final Boss: The Imperium Overseer. The role will always be filled by an evil alternate Davion until your first success, upon which it will be another evil Star Renegade, following a set order.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: J5T-1N is a probe that is sent out whenever a timeline is doomed to fall to the Imperium, traveling to another timeline to warn them of the impending threat.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The game justifies its Rogue-lite progression and the return of units after death by having each run take place in a separate timeline, with J5T-1N carrying information over from one to the next. Additionally, the screen that allows you to examine the Adversary System is also the Imperium Battleship that serves as the final area.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Actually brought up in-universe; the Imperium's universe-hopping tech does not do fun things to the brains of its troops. MOTHER keeps them on track, but they still act eccentrically.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Syndicate, the Eternalists, and Warmonger Corporation all willingly join forces with the Imperium for profit/religious beliefs and serve as optional bosses the Renegades can fight for extra loot at night. However, they are often tougher than the regular Imperium foes.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: The Imperium and MOTHER seek to assimilate all timelines into their state.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: The Overseer of the Imperium cannot exist in the same dimension as their alternate self. This is the reason Davion is killed in the initial timeline(s), and why another unit (and their progeny) will be temporarily disabled after the first successful run.
  • No Indoor Voice: One Adversary personality has the Imperium officer constantly scream their lines in all caps while also comparing the Renegades to insects.
  • One Bad Mother: The AI that controls the Imperium is named MOTHER, and their troops show incredible personal devotion to her.
  • Precursors: The Titans, who lived long ago in the Titan Cluster the game takes place in. There's little left of them besides some crumbling ruins, assorted relics, and the Titan Cores the Imperium is trying to extract.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Should a party be wiped out, there's a chance that your units will be assimilated by the Imperium and made to conquer other timelines.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: Your heroes' shields will be fully recharged after each battle, but restoring lost health can generally only be done by spending some of your limited resources while camping or by using a single-use medkit found out in the field.
  • Relationship Values: The Renegades can bond with each other over campfires, patching each other's wounds or granting temporary buffs. Strong bonds can lead to unlocking a Combination Attack, and if high enough, some pairings result in progeny heroes.
  • Reptilian Conspiracy: Parodied. One of Jens Malric's theories is the presence of evil shapeshifting reptoids in the government... as in, that the shapeshifting reptoids that had been duly elected and came out as such are secretly evil.
  • The Resistance: The Armada who fights to save the galaxy from the Imperium.
  • Resurrection Sickness: If some of your heroes fall in battle, J5T-1N can revive them after you win (if everyone dies, that's a Game Over). They come back at 1 HP and with a lingering weakness of some sort. The health can be restored by camping if you have the right heroes/cards, but the weakness will only fade if you use a single-use medstation you can find while exploring, or in the full heal you get after defeating the planet's Behemoth.
  • Secret Level: You can find some while exploring planets; they open at night, and only after defeating a related enemy nearby. There's also the Imperium cruiser that occasionally appears during the day, but will leave once night falls. In all cases, such side areas feature several fights against uncommon enemies (including one that serves as an Imperium Lieutenant), but offer you some extra rewards for completing them.
  • Talking Animal: One of the characters you can meet at the base's Cantina between runs is one, labeled "Pet the Dog". He hates being petted and doesn't know/realize why people assume otherwise.
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: The Imperium forces invading each reality are initially mistaken for bandits and pirates until J5T-1N arrives to relay the message about the Imperium invasion. The Eternal is just a scouting vessel and its main goal is to extract the Titan Cores in order to properly conquer the reality. In the opening movie, Wynn's mother and members of the Armada gave their lives to prevent the Titan core from being extracted.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: Lets you track exactly when each enemy will go so you can manipulate the Combatant Cooldown System.