Tag Archives: strategy RPG

Star Renegades Hits PC September 8th

Star Renegades mixes strategy, rogue-like, and RPG to create a wickedly cool looking sci-fi game that hits PC this September. Console players will have to wait until the somewhat nebulous ‘later this year’ to try their hands at the turn-based battles.

I love turn-based battle systems, and I’m really curious how the procedurally generate campaigns are going to work. Past games to try procedural generation with campaigns have shown it’s a tough thing to get right, so I’m hoping Massive Damage Games can nail it.

I’m also a sucker for games that have unlockable alternate or advanced classes, so the progeny system also caught my eye. “Dozens” of alternate characters, you say?

Star Renegade launches first on PC via Steam and GOG.com on September 8th, with ports coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One later this year.

Here’s the press release:


Star Renegades Launches September 8 on PC

Massive Damage & Raw Fury’s Highly Anticipated Strategy RPG Comes to Consoles This Fall Following its PC Debut

STOCKHOLM – July 22, 2020 – Rebellion has waged for generations to stop the Imperium’s control of the galaxy — now it’s up to you to lead the way. Star Renegades, the tactical rogue-like RPG from Massive Damage Games (Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander) and Raw Fury, is coming to PC via Steam and GOG.com on Sept. 8, 2020, for $24.99. The game is expected to come to Playstation®4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One later this year.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsNyxppFzao

Star Renegades fuses a reactive, turn-based battle system with a procedurally generated campaign to ensure that every playthrough is unique and challenging. Lead a ragtag squad of rebels through richly detailed sci-fi landscapes, ruins and more on a mission to overthrow the overwhelming might of the Imperium. Your enemies are more than just trash to farm — they’re unique adversaries that evolve after each fight and move up the ranks as you play, forcing you to develop new strategies to survive.

Features:

  • Reactive Time Battle System: Outsmart foes with interrupts, counters and combos in fast-paced, turn-based, power armor combat.
  • Intelligent Adversary System: Survive the relentless onslaught of unique enemies that evolve as you play, forcing you to adapt your tactics to win.
  • Unlock dozens of alternate characters as your surviving squad members form bonds and create progeny.
  • Battle into the heart of the EmpireStar Renegades’s Rebellion Engine creates a unique experience with each playthrough via emergent gameplay and events, procedurally generated missions, shifting priorities, and tons of upgrades for your squad.

To learn more, visit http://starrenegades.com.


About Massive Damage Games
Founded by mobile app pioneers Ken Seto and Garry Seto in 2010, Massive Damage is a proudly independent Toronto games studio that focuses on delivering compelling experiences that lean towards mashing up game genres in unexpected ways. Their first game, Please Stay Calm, released in late 2011 and was one of the most successful location-based massively multiplayer games on iOS. Shifting away from mobile, they raised $187K on Kickstarter for Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, their space strategy RPG mashup that released to commercial and critical success in 2016 for Steam, Nintendo Switch and iOS. They are currently hard at work on Star Renegades, set to release in 2020.

About Raw Fury
Raw Fury is a boutique indie (un)publisher founded in 2015 by Jonas Antonsson, Gordon Van Dyke and David Martinez. We don’t care about genres or mechanics. We care about experiences and emotions. We want to help developers make magic.

Review – Tower of Time

Tower of Time is a classic-style roleplaying game (RPG) blended with more modern real-time combat that emphasizes tactics and positioning. It hit PC in 2018 and finally made the jump over to PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One recently.

Players spend the tutorial level as a child, exploring a bit of a ruined tower that has been inverted and smashed into the ground and ends with the player discovering you’re not yet ready to harness the power available here. The game proper opens with you returning years later with some friends to explore it in earnest and try to use that power to save the world, but in an interesting twist it takes you out of the gameplay and places you in an oversight role in control of your partners, Kane and Maeve.

At the game’s outset only those two are in the party, which allows players to have the innovative combat introduced at a bit of a slower pace. Exploration is in the classic three-quarter overhead isometric viewpoint familiar to fans of past RPGs like Baldur’s Gate or Diablo, with combat maintaining that perspective.

What changes is the passage of time, with real-time control over each of your party members augmented by the ability to slow time to a crawl to queue up commands when things get hectic. This is unnecessary early on with only a pair of party members to control, but you quickly gain a third and eventually have a roster of seven, of which four can be in the party at once.

Combat is intensely strategic, with the need to use each character’s skills not only to kill enemies but also to slow and harass them prior to engaging in direct combat. In most battles, enemies will spawn at set points around the map, often two or three at a time, and your group is not strong enough to handle them all at once so you’ll need to use skills to slow them down. One character can create temporary stone walls that can close off chokepoints, forcing enemies to backtrack, while another character drops traps to slow enemies down, and another can summon a tree-like guardian that’s surprisingly durable. Each skill is tied to a cooldown, so you can’t simply go all Bob the Builder and wall in enemies until it’s convenient to deal with them.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also need to constantly manage your group’s positioning – not only to move them out of the ‘bad things are about to happen here’ giant red dots that indicate an incoming attack, but also to break line of sight with enemies or make them choose alternate routes through the environment. If the battle hasn’t gone your way and a few party members have fallen, you can even use the environment to keep enemies pursuing you while you whittle away their health – a tactic from real-time strategy and massively multiplayer games called kiting.

The game isn’t all spent in the depths of the tower, however, with a hub area that contains buildings like a blacksmith and barracks. Along with the typical equipment crafting and enchantment, this area also allows you to manage your party upgrades – each skill has a skill tree associated with it to let you tweak them to how you want to play. The stone wall, for example, can be modified to be a longer half-wall that no longer blocks line of sight or ranged attacks, or to have a magical slowing effect added.

I had a blast fighting my way through the tower, running into difficulty spikes that forced me to learn new combat tactics, and winding my way through a storyline – told in a combination of in-game books and encounters with the Tower Avatar that often left me with more questions than answers.

What I Loved:

  • Great combat system with tons of strategy
  • Skill system adds depth and variety
  • Solid story

What I Liked:

  • Graphics are serviceable, with some high points to balance out the lows
  • Town management adds some ‘out of combat’ depth
  • Good character management/development
  • Well-done port to controller-based controls

What I Disliked:

  • Some minor performance issues

What I Hated:

  • Nothing

Tower of Time reviewed on Xbox One X using code provided by the publisher.

1C Entertainment Breaks Fresh Ground In King's Bounty Sequel

King’s Bounty II is the sequel to 2008’s King’s Bounty: The Legend, which was itself a sequel – though a spiritual one only – to the classic 1990 turn-based fantasy game that started on PC.
I didn’t get a chance to play it until slightly later, and in a slightly altered form, when it arrived on the Sega Genesis. It was one of the first-ever strategy games I’d played, so I’m glad to see its lineage continuing with King’s Bounty II by 1C Entertainment.
The new games breaks fresh ground for the series, adding in new RPG and narrative elements that include a branching storyline. Give the first Dev Diary a watch, and see if you don’t also come away from it impressed with the direction they’re taking.

Here’s the press release:


Explore core elements of King’s Bounty II in its first Developer Diary!

Branching narrative and open world exploration comes in the next installment of this popular RPG series!

Prague, Czech Republic –February 4, 2020 — 1C Entertainment is pulling back the veil behind the development of the upcoming fantasy strategy RPG King’s Bounty II with a new series of developer diary videos. With a 2020 launch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on the horizon, this is the first look at core changes coming  to the franchise that are sure to excite longtime fans and newcomers to the series.
The first in the multi-part series of dev diaries explores the 3 core aspects that form King’s Bounty II’s gameplay: exploration, hero management, and tactical combat.
This new entry in the series adds core RPG elements and a fully branching narrative adventure to the strategic combat King’s Bounty is known for. The developer team say that players can expect roughly one third of the experience to be combat with exploration, puzzles, and new characters expanding greatly on the world introduced in past installments of this in the series.
The dev diary also explores the 4 main ideals Order, Power, Finesse, and Anarchy. Players can put talent points into each of these ideals, granting different bonuses and changing how characters in the world interact with your hero. Player’s choices and quests throughout their journey shape who they are and what people think of them. A character’s disposition will directly affect how they are perceived by people in the world of Antara, leading to different outcomes throughout the entirety of the game. A bandit, for example, will respond more favorably to a follower of Anarchy than someone who upholds Order.
King’s Bounty II combat stays true to that of past games, however players can expect advancements to match modern tactics based encounters with some unique additions that are completely new to the series. Hex-based battles will play out across a 3 dimensional battlefield in the games open world setting, creating seamless transitions from exploration to combat and add purpose to placement in terrain. Army composition has also changed in King’s Bounty II, with units limits encouraging players to change their army based on the task at hand.
Following dev diary episodes will provide more details on story, combat systems, and playable characters in King’s Bounty II. For more information, head to the Steam store page or the official website KingsBounty2.com
About 1C Entertainment:
1C Entertainment is an international group with offices located in Warsaw, Gdansk, Prague, Budapest and Moscow and operating in the segments of game production, distribution and services for video game developers. The company releases video games for all platforms through its global network of partners digitally and in retail.
1C Entertainment has successfully launched over 100 game titles including critically acclaimed series – IL-2 Sturmovik, King’s Bounty, Men of War, and Space Rangers. Recent releases include such games as Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones and Fell Seal. For more information about 1C Entertainment and their games, please visit the official 1C Entertainment website.

Review – Disgaea 4 Complete+

Disgaea is a series that you’ll either love, hate, or never have heard of and I’m sorry, but there are no options other than those three.
A hardcore-focused, turn-based strategy roleplaying game (SRPG) that started out as most similar to classic SRPG Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea’s development team have been unrelenting in adding new, more complicated gameplay mechanics to it with every release – and I love them for it. The result is Disgaea 4 Complete+, a game that’s simple enough to pick up and play, but incredibly difficult to really master every element of.
And the word ‘element’ isn’t used casually, as my favourite game mechanic are the elemental panels – called Geo Panels – that litter the battlefields. It reminds me of the elemental streams that you could divert and then purify to create giant chains and do incredible damage to enemies in La Pucelle: Tactics, another Nippon Ichi game, though this mechanic is a little less interactive.
Each terrain square’s element grants a boost – exp gain, invulnerability, damage boost – to units on them, and can be changed by destroying colour change cubes on them. This necessitates picking up and throwing cubes to key locations, and on some levels this can mean a chain of characters getting into exactly the right position to heave a block halfway across the map in a single turn just so one final character can destroy it and chain reaction the entirety of the map in one glorious action.
It adds a huge tactical element to the combat, and it’s something I really enjoyed even if its usefulness did get outstripped by other gameplay mechanics later in the game.

Those mechanics? Magichange, the ability to turn monster companions into weapons that you can use, Monster Fusion, where you combine multiple monsters into one giant version of them, and leveling up your items using the Item World. Each item contains its own Item World, and venturing into it and advancing through levels within the item will greatly boost its stats. Think that’s cool? Then you’re going to love Chara World, as each character ALSO has a world within them that can be explored to boost their stats.
If you’re a fan of grinding, and I mean the fun kind of ‘I wonder how far I can take this’ grinding, then you’re going to LOVE Disgaea 4 Complete+.
Character creation, Magichange, Monster Fusion, Item World, Chara World, and even a touch of government with the Cam-Paign HQ (a place in your base in Hades where you can distribute and power up units), and the ability to pass bills in the Assembly – using bribery or violence to swing the vote – in order to influence the world…there are a ton of game systems to use and abuse on your way to the final confrontation. There’s just so much to do in Disgaea 4 Complete+ that it can feel a little overwhelming…
And that’s when I go back to farming older levels a bit, trying to perfect my cube placements and character movements!

The campaign is about as weird as you’d expect from the series, with some pretty ridiculous sardine jokes and an overuse of the word ‘d00d’ that will take some time for me to recover from, but it has a number of twists I didn’t see coming and don’t want to spoil. I think that even if you’re not necessarily a longtime Disgaea fan you can come into this game and still enjoy it, just don’t expect to take it too seriously. I mean you’re an evil vampire named Valvatorez who’s fighting the Corrupternment (government) because they interfered with his promise to train Prinnies (human souls damned to Hades that look like penguins and say ‘d00d’ constantly) – and that’s the part of the story that’s the most sane…
Disgaea 4 Complete+ release October 29, 2019 on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch – Switch version reviewed using code provided by the publisher.
PLEASE NOTE: There are some online features promised for shortly after launch that aren’t currently able to be tested like building your own maps and letting people play them or sending your minions into other people’s Item Worlds. If I get a chance, I’ll circle back to amend the review with how well those are implemented at that time.