I’m working on a series about the games that kept me busy this year. These are my favorites, not necessarily “the best.” Also, these posts will be in no particular order. We’ll do a podcast in the near future ranking our top games of 2020.
Simple to learn, difficult to master…
That’s the target pretty much every game designer is aiming for with their combat system, and Star Renegades has one of the best, most addicting turn-based combat systems I’ve played in a long while. Dare I say, it’s possibly even the new bar for turn-based systems? It’s that good.
We know 2020 is a weird year when two rogue-lite games make my end of year favorites list – I can’t imagine what else would make 2020 a strange year…
Star Renegades is a rouge-lite game with a clever turn-based combat system and a collection of interesting characters that I couldn’t seem to stop playing.
Admittedly, I’m usually not a fan of rouge-like or rogue-lite games. I typically try them out, make some solid progress, then die, and hate the fact that I have to start over from the very beginning, having left behind all the progress and gear I’d managed to collect along the way.
But Star Renegades not only creates a story reason why it would make sense that you could fail and start over again, but it manages to make you feel somewhat rewarded for having at least tried. And those rewards make trying again that much more interesting.
There are unlockable characters, each with different personalities and ability sets that make another run that much more interesting as you try to swap characters in and out of your party to find the best possible team composition.
But there are also upgrades for characters and unlockable gear sets that you can choose to spawn as pickups during your journey.
All of these things help make your next run feel different from the first.
Star Renegades is not perfect though. There are some very humbling difficulty spikes along the way.
Some of the time you’ll be cruising along easily, knocking out every enemy encounter you come across, and compiling a bunch of good gear and a lot of level ups for your characters. So much so it’s disappointing when you get blindsided by a big difficulty spike and a captain or a behemoth annihilates your team with relative ease sending you back to the very beginning again. It leaves you to wonder what you could have possibly done differently to have overcome that challenge.
The developer, Massive Damage, did recently add an easy mode, but so far I’ve been too stubborn to admit to myself that I probably need it to be able to get through the game.
I’ve lost count of how many attempts I’ve made at the game and I’ve only made it into the third world once so far (there are 4 stages in total).
So fans of a good challenge will appreciate that not only is the normal difficulty tough, there are harder difficulties waiting for you as well.
Plus the developer recently released a roadmap of updates and add-on content coming later over the winter, so there’s plenty of reason to keep diving back into the game for an additional run.
I’ve been playing it on PC, where the pixel art style looks great, but this seems like an ideal game for the Nintendo Switch. The ease of picking up the Switch and resuming where you left off and then putting it back into rest mode after a battle or two is a perfect fit for this type of game.
My other favorite games of 2020 (in no particular order):