Distant Star: Revenant Fleet on PC
For about as long as there have been video games, there have been those that explore the vast unknown reaches of space. Distant Star: Revenant Fleet brings a real-time strategy flair with elements of “rogue-lite” gaming to this great void. Players must guide their fleet from one end of a war-torn galaxy to the other on a desperate mission to destroy the enemy’s ultimate weapon of planetary destruction. As always, the journey is just as important as the destination.
Distant Star: Revenant Fleet opens with a betrayal. Turned upon by allies, players must survive through a tutorial battle that won’t hesitate to end your attempt before it even begins. Make it through, and you’ve earned the right to cobble together what ships and supplies remain to form your fleet. Broken, betrayed, and surrounded by enemy forces, the ragtag group of ships must struggle to reach their goal before life as they know it is snuffed out of existence.
If this depiction of Revenant Fleet’s opening sounds dramatic, it’s with a purpose. The constant theme of the game as players work their way across the stars is one of desperate hope and shrinking chances of survival or success. Carefully plotting a way to reach your destination is as important as your skill in battle, and players will have to be both strategic and quick-thinking to have any chance at making it across the vast oblivion of space.
Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is comprised of two major styles of gameplay. Real-time strategic combat, cushioned with a “tactical mode” that allows players to pause the action and review or issue orders, is the more straightforward. Taking direct control of your fleet’s ships, players must destroy their foes, capture points of interest, and more during these segments. Well-executed, this fast-paced action is difficult but fair, and changes to adapt to your own fleet’s strength and size.
The other side of Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is the two-level map phase. Broken into a high-level galaxy view made up of several different sectors that form the overall area, a more granular sector map is the main means of navigation. After any action in the real-time strategic phase, players must choose which area to ‘jump’ to next, with each jump costing the fleet one unit of supply and risking the discovery of something terrible, or something great, at their destination.
Moving through Revenant Fleet’s map reveals the “rogue-lite” qualities of the game. Random events unfold with each jump, including the discovery of unaware enemy forces, supply depots, traders, and much more. Since each jump is a roll of the die, paying attention to the map’s brief description of each new sector is important. Will you keep your fleet to the quickest possible route, and stay in the relative safety of areas under allied control, or strike into enemy territory and leave your bloody mark across their fleets and supply lines?
While the random-encounter style of map movement works very well, the real excitement of Distant Star: Revenant Fleet remains the RTS phase. While the tactical mode gives plenty of breathing room for inexperienced players, the action is quick and players will have to keep an eye on each ship within their fleet. Battle, of course, also awards experience and money, allowing players to beef up their fleet by purchasing upgrades, ships, and more if sellers can be found.
Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is likely not for everyone. With a difficulty that scales to the size and strength of your own fleet, it has no problem seeing your force crushed and your desperate mission ended. The coldness of space is unforgiving, resources are incredibly rare, and your chance of survival is low. Still, if you’re looking for an all-around solid RTS-plus for a palatable $9.99 on Steam, the smooth and addicting gameplay is easily worth the buy. Getting the hang of this one can be a frustrating learning experience, but hey – it’s easy to start over, and carve a new path across the stars.