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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
No overtly positive messages, but overarching theme is of standing up to imposing and superior odds for the sake of freedom. If you win, you move forward; if the party is wiped out, you start again.
Positive Role Models
Lead characters fighting the invading force could be viewed as heroic and positive role models, but the simple truth is that they're fighting for their freedom and are willing to kill anything to achieve their goals.
Ease of Play
The control scheme is kept simple, but the battles can be challenging and even daunting. But the game does give players a chance to get their feet wet before it tosses them into deeper waters.
Violence & Scariness
Fantasy violence. Characters can die and not come back to life (in some instances, they're reanimated as part of the enemy army). Weaponry ranges from oversized swords to lasers. Mild elements of red passes for blood, but this is easily overlooked in context of battle and while running through the storyline.
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Dialogue features contextual mild language (words like "hell") to drive home the storyline. This isn't done in a manner to shock or to insert a more adult tone into the game.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Renegades is a downloadable strategy game for Windows PCs. The game features fantasy violence and mild blood in the midst of battle with swords and lasers. There is also the possibility that a fallen comrade can be stolen by the robotic enemy and converted into an enemy warrior, which could prove frustrating for younger players. Mild language can be heard in dialogue as well. The game does ramp up in difficulty over time, and players should expect to see their party (which starts small and can grow to six characters) wiped out on occasion.
Is It Any Good?
While visually charming, the true artistry in this strategy game lies in the combat. Star Renegades has that old-school pixelated look that lets parties run across a map before leaping into side-scrolling combat for the turn-based battles. The game is big on storyline, featuring its share of emotion during key plot moments, and it increases your frustration when a party member -- one you've grown attached to -- dies in battle and is resurrected by the enemy as an officer to fight against you. It starts out slowly, explaining the mechanics of the combat system (the adventuring/exploration side is simply point-and-click) and then ramps up to present waves of enemies that get tougher and require more thought to fight.
The turn-based combat happens along a timeline, and if they're paying attention, players can see what the enemy's gearing up to do and can either interrupt or counter, which is vital to success. A successful interrupt or counter can deliver a CRIT attack that does major damage, making combat feel more thoughtful. There were some moments when commands seemed unresponsive, which was mildly annoying, but in combat, where tactics mean everything and a wrong click can force a restart, this is maddening. Taken individually, the elements are solid, but collectively -- from the graphics to the storyline and combat -- this is a challenging and enjoyable game. Losing team members to the enemy can be frustrating, and there are some fights that seemingly can't be won, but overall, Star Renegades is a solid game to jump into and explore in either small or bigger play sessions.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.