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IndieRPGs.com Checks Out Halfway

Robotality was good enough to provide me with a copy of Halfway, its sci-fi strategy RPG, and so I have undertaken the task of playing it for a while and formulating an impression. You can witness this, as ever, below:

My thoughts?

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Back to back: indie RPGs to fund

Back to Back is back once more, as we take a lil’ peek at how the world of indie RPG crowdfunding is getting on. Of the games we looked at last time, InSomnia, Midora and TimeSpinner were successful; FranknJohn and The Legend of Sonia fell short.

So what’s new?

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New release: Unrest

UnrestPyrodactyl Games has now released Unrest, a sort of wRPG-ish chat-em-up set in a fantastical variant of an ancient Indian city.

The premise:

Set in a fantasy interpretation of ancient India, Unrest is an adventure RPG focused on story and choices. Play as five ordinary people who are struggling to get by in the in the famine-stricken city-state of Bhimra.

Brave poverty, disease, treason, political and social upheaval. Face unique burdens and gripping dilemmas as you struggle to survive in each chapter…but choices made to help one character may well make life harder for another.

In Unrest, there are no heroes of legend, there is no mystical quest, and fate has not chosen you. You’re on your own.

The game makes very sparse use of combat, instead giving you access to a number of branching dialog trees that affect the way you get through the game. Reportedly, Unrest adapts to reflect characters deaths and dialog choices you’ve made. In fact, your character can straight-up die and the story will continue on without them.

I played the first hour or so, and offered my preliminary thoughts on the game here. For a shorter snapshot of the game, here is a trailer:

Unrest reportedly comes with mod support, which is quite interesting; I haven’t seen much in the way of details about what can be edited and what tools come with the game to effectuate said editing, however.

One bit of housekeeping before I get to the details on how to buy it: it has come to my attention that Unrest has a publisher, “Kiss” (not the glam rock band, presumably, although that would be amazing if it were). I spoke to Pyrodactyl, and luckily, it seems this was purely a “come in at the end of development and help with distribution” arrangement–thus, Unrest qualifies as an indie title under my rubric.

Unrest runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It costs $14.99, with a launch discount on many platforms. You can purchase Unrest direct from the developer, on Steam, on GOG, on the Humble Store, on Gamers Gate, and on Green Man Gaming. Or, if you’re on the fence, go download a free demo from the game’s Steam page.

New release: The Wizard

The WizardAs was foretold by the great sage Yourstruly, turn-based dungeon crawler The Wizard has now been released by developer Hypnotic Owl!

The premise:

You are the most handsome wizard of the academy. Except your face just got stolen. Can you make it through monster-filled mazes to catch the mysterious thief? Learn arcane gestures to cast magic spells and gather experience to make them more powerful! Position yourself strategically and outwit your enemies. Play this amazing turn-based dungeon crawler to prove that you are not just a pretty face!

You’ll have an ever-expanding spellbook at your disposal, from which you’ll cast particular spells by drawing their patterns around yourself. The Wizard appears to play like a roguelike, but it lacks the “procedurally generated world” aspect necessary to the designation, instead featuring fixed levels with hand-designed puzzles.

Here’s the trailer again:

The Wizard is 100% free, though the developers have helpfully placed a Paypal donation widget on the game’s page in case you want to help them out financially.

As an HTML5 browser game, The Wizard is playable on any computer or device with a working browser. (The developers recommend using Chrome.) Play The Wizard here.

New release: Halfway

HalfwayFolks: Halfway has now gone all the way–which is to say, the 2D tactical RPG is now out!

Halfway is set several hundred years in the future, and has a decidedly Alien / System Shock 2 thing going on:

In Halfway you take control of a small team of survivors faced with a violent invasion onboard the colonial vessel Goliath. As their leader you will guide them through the dark and cramped corridors of the ship to slowly take back the control.

If you have any hope of surviving, you’ll have to fight, face your fears and outsmart the enemy!

Halfway uses a turn-based, cover-based combat system reminiscent of what we saw in the Firaxis’s 2012 XCOM remake. Characters are each unique and skill-based; progression occurs via packs and special suits that improve your characters’ abilities.

Here’s the trailer:

The devs state that Halfway will eventually be given mod support and a campaign editor, though that isn’t out just yet. (Word is that it will be released “soon.”)

Halfway is available for Windows, Mac and Linux on Steam; it costs $12.99, with a 10% release discount. (The game will be available on the Humble Store as well later today.)

New release: Dragon’s Dungeon

Word reaches me that there’s a new Android roguelike out by the name of Dragon’s Dungeon.

Created by Russian developer LunarPixel, Dragon’s Dungeon is distinguishable from most graphical roguelikes by the inclusion of an optional “easy mode,” which permits a slain character to respawn with all of his / her loot.

The game also includes merchants, the ability to gamble for gold in a card mini-game, a full-fledged crafting system, and a non-standard leveling mechanic that sounds like something of a combination between the mushroom houses from Mario 3 and Final Fantasy X’s sphere grid:

Non-standard character leveling is formed randomly, too, and is represented by a field with 120 cells, each of them hiding a skill or a stat point. Skill cell is marked with gold. Learning an available cell opens its neighboring cells to be learned later.

Here is the official trailer:

The developers have provided a gameplay video as well. (It’s in Russian, but you should be able to follow along with what’s happening fairly easily.)

Dragon’s Dungeon is exclusive to Android, and comes in “lite” and “full” varieties. The lite version is limited to two character classes and a single 25-level dungeon location; the full version offers a choice of all six character classes and three 25-levels dungeons. You can pick up the lite version for free here, or the full version for $1.99 right here.

Legena: Union Tides announced

LegenaJeremy Beare of Grandpa Pixel writes in to announce Legena: Union Tides, an SNES-style jRPG he’s developing.

The narrative premise: “It is a time of discord, and the creatures of the sea have decided to organize against the oppression of their employer, Poseidon–to form a sort of…Union Tide.”

…ahhhhh, just kidding! Here is the actual narrative summary:

Legena, n.  A legend that spans an era: the legend of the Narrator

Have you seen the red sky? And the green lightning? Rumour has it whenever the sky turns red and the land is struck by green, the Narrator appears. A time traveller I hear. You best be a good boy. You best be a good girl. Otherwise the legend will come true. The Narrator will get you.

Take the role of Tetiro Aceus and Atesan Turwin to explore the open seas, stop the pirate lords and discover the dark side of the Legena universe. And how their roles turn the gears of a legena that spans countless eras.

I’ve spent a little time with an early demo version, and the main thing that stuck out to me during my brief time with it is how utterly weird the story is. This comes through a bit in Legena’s debut trailer:

Legena is presently on Kickstarter, where it needs to raise about $7,500 more. If successful, it will release next December for Windows, Android, OUYA and GameStick with improved graphics; if it fails, they will press on with development, but it will take longer to release, and not to the level of quality the developers wish.

Halfway release date announced

HalfwayDeveloper Robotality, the team behind upcoming sci-fi sRPG Halfway (last covered here), have announced that they will be releasing the game on July 22, 2014. That puts them exactly one day ahead of the other two releases I’ve posted about here recently. I don’t know why the middle of next week is so darn popular, but there you have it!

The devs state:

The game will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux for $12.99/£9.99 with a -10% launch discount. We’ll be adding modding support in the form of a campaign editor, which we’re hoping to release very soon after the game is out.

Perhaps most excitingly, they’ve released a new launch trailer. Ordinarily, those things are released at, you know, launch–but I won’t fault them for jumping the proverbial gun a bit:

Empyrios: Prophecy of Flame announced

EmpyriosJoe Woynillowicz of Toronto-based indie developer Creoterra writes in to announce a new strategy RPG in development–the name, Empyrios: Prophecy of Flame.

The narrative premise:

Discord reigns far and wide throughout the lands of Borealis. Ancient alliances have crumbled, while new pacts have been forged. Clans are locked in a battle for power and supremacy as the factions wage war over the valuable resource Crystellum, rare crystals that have been infused with the power of the Magi.

Battle through the campaign from the perspective of either faction, or take your army online to clash with enemies, vying to become the true champion. War is here. Are you ready?

Empyrios features eight different races, and will have 40 different units total. (The Math Fairy tells me that this means each race will get something like five distinct unit types to play with.)

Combat is turn-based and hex-based. Each character has 3 abilities, all with a varying ‘power’ cost, and each turn they regenerate a small amount of health/power.

Empyrios is planned to ship with two campaigns, one for each of the two factions (the “Mystic Covenant” and the “Shadowlord Pact”) in the storyline. Woynillowicz states that the campaigns each show a different side of the same narrative, and that they’ll require different strategies to succeed.

Empyrios is planned for release for iPad, Windows and Mac sometime in the latter half of this year.

Lords of Xulima hits paid beta, taking pre-orders

LOX_GameLogoWord reaches me that upcoming wRPG Lords of Xulima , previously covered here, has hit beta.

Specifically, Spanish developers Numantian Games have made the beta version available with pre-order of the game–however, at $45, it’s a bit on the pricey side. Windows only for now.