Latest Publications

New release: 500 Years Act 1

500 Years Act 1Do you ever get an email, then completely forget that it exists before you have a chance to do anything with it? That evidently happened with the subject of today’s post. Poor Will Games wrote to me back in May to announce the release of their real-time space exploration RPG 500 Years Act 1 on PC; and now, roughly 500 years later, I am posting about it.

The premise:

The Earth was dying and humanity boarded ships to colonize the stars. These ships were named after the wonders of the ancient world: The Giza, The Alexandria, The Rhodes and finally, The Artemis.

The Artemis landed and set up a colony on an Earth-like moon. Then the Ants, an insectoid species, came and enslaved the colony. All hope was lost.

Years later you were born in the Artemis colony and joined the resistance against the Ants.

One day the Ants suddenly left your colony for unknown reasons. The Proctor of your colony tasked you with finding the ancient Artemis colony ship. Among the wreckage you found the captain’s yacht; and it still works! You and your crew take to the stars to find the other humans, if they are still out there. 500 years after the destruction of Earth…

If the plot seems a smidge reminiscent of Homeworld, the game’s trailer gives the strong impression that this game is in fact much more influenced by Starflight:

Per the developers, the 500 Years Act 1’s features include:

  • Story driven space adventure
  • Explore solar systems
  • Meet alien races
  • Arcade style combat
  • Equip your ship based upon the type of enemy
  • Fight huge bosses

500 Years Act 1 has apparently been available for $0.99 on Android and iOS since March, with the Windows port available for a mere $2.99.

 

Hunter’s Tale announced

Francesco Segala writes in to announce The Hunter’s Tale, a new action RPG he’s developing as part of the studio “Bad Tempered Dev.”

The premise:

You’ll face a fantasy world in which animals have taken over the world and humanity lives in small villages. You are a hunter just arrived in the village and his job is to supply food to those people wandering around the wildlands and hunting all sort of different beasts. Crafting new weapons and armors will be fundamental to go forward.

The developers describe Hunter’s Tale as an “old-fashioned action RPG,” though many of the elements they relate (a lone character trying to survive in a hostile world consisting mostly of wilderness, and crafting items to that end) are really quite modern.

There’s a trailer out, from which we can get a sense of the aesthetic and some of the basic mechanics:

The developers have not supplied any information about when they plan to release Hunter’s Tale. It is being developed for Windows.

If you want to follow progress on the development of Hunter’s Tale, Segala is documenting said progress on a developer blog. A demo is reportedly due to come out sometime this month; in the meantime, the developers are trying to drive traffic to this page.

New release: Madam Extravaganza’s Monster Emporium

Madam ExtravaganzaThere’s a new jRPG in town courtesy of John Wizard Games. The name? Madam Extravaganza’s Monster Emporium!

The premise is a little vague, but it’s all we’ve got, so here it is:

Located in Monsterville, the town in the woods…

Do you ever wish you had more? That you could leave it all behind and start over? Well thanks to Madam Extravaganza, you can!

Treasures await in the forests for any who are brave enough to seek them out. Just bring your life savings and come stay at our inn, open for all.

We welcome all guests to try to defeat the monsters in battle, then you will return safely home, richer than you ever imagined.

There is a free demo available; the full game costs $13.99. Windows only.

Divinia Chronicles: Relics of Gan-Ti announced

Divinia ChroniclesMartin Sander of Chinese German indie developer Team Monkey writes in to announce work on a 3D over-the-shoulder action RPG called Divinia Chronicles: Relics of Gan-Ti.

The premise:

A long time ago at the peak of the High Kingdom of Pandura, a group of seers looked into legends of a powerful force believed to be the origin of life; this they called ‘Gan’, though modern peoples know it as ‘Divinia’. The ancients sought to utilize Gan as a weapon; in doing so, their perverse intentions spawned the malignant ‘Gan-Ti’, or ‘anti-life’. Infusing Gan-Ti into artifacts, the godlike High Kings ruled the Panduran Archipelago with an iron fist. Eventually, rebellion arose and the Order of Archkeepers was formed of the most noble warriors to free the people. They managed to capture the relics of Gan-Ti and cast them into the fiery pits of Mt. Suvius near the shores of Oria island. With the evil power of the relics suppressed, the monsters that terrorized the countryside were slain and the old Kings overthrown. Peace had come. As of late, however, rumblings have been heard from Mt. Suvius, and the wise have come to fear an eruption. With a reckless young King having just assumed the throne of Oria, will the powers of Gan-Ti again fall into the hands of the most powerful, or can a new force arise to combat the inevitable?

Divinia Chronicles is being built in the Source engine. As you can see in the teaser trailer below, Divinia Chronicles features some lovely stylized graphics and combat reminiscent of 3D Legend of Zelda titles:

If this all looks strangely similar to another indie game, that’s most likely because up until recently, Team Monkey had been calling the game “Saga of Pandoria.” According to Sander, they switched the game’s name due to trademark concerns.

The developers state that Divinia Chronicles features proper character leveling and magic, and that the combat system features such niceties as a Zelda-style lock-on capability and the ability to block and evade attacks.

Divinia Chronicles: Relics of Gan-Ti is being developed for Windows–though there is no estimated final release date yet, the game is due to show up on Steam Early Access by the end of 2014.

New release: Subterra

SubterraIt has been a few months since I went trawling around RPG Maker game affiliate sites looking for new jRPGs, and when I did so today, I was not disappointed. Among the new releases that have flown under my radar is a Warfare Studios title known simply as Subterra.

The premise:

Earth is nothing but a distant memory to humankind now. Subterra is they place they know as home, an underground world, vicious and dangerous.

When Dian is diagnosed with a disease known as “The Pale”, Dryst, her brother and the Wielder, the only one who can use the ancient sword Mallbane to defeat the great evil Devordor who seals the entrance to Earth, will step up to his fate, to save his people and his dear sister.

Warfare Studios is hosting a free demo, which you can grab here. The full game costs $14.99; Windows only.

New release: Tactics Maiden

Tactics Maiden (Android) - 01Mangobile, the developer behind the ever-growing mobile strategy RPG franchise Kingturn, has released a brand new mobile strategy RPG by the name Tactics Maiden.

The developers have not released any sort of narrative summary, so I have no idea what the storyline is. In fact, it isn’t immediately clear to me whether this even takes place in the same universe as the Kingturn series. Perhaps that doesn’t matter much, though, as the setting and story of these games has never been particularly strong.

More important is the fact that Mangobile has finally released a new game trailer for this one (they’d just been reusing the same old trailer for their three prior releases), and it shows battles that are undeniably in the Kingturn style:

(There is also an 11-minute gameplay video showing a full battle if you want more detail.)

So what’s actually new here, aside from improved UI graphics and character sprites? According to the developers, there are a few things that make Tactics Maiden stand out from its predecessors. To my mind, the most significant of these is the addition of “flexible character builds with skill points that can be redistributed at will.” Previous titles had characters undergoing a rather rigid progression as they leveled–the ability to customize your character’s progression promises to be a big, welcome change.

Among the other new features: improved enemy AI, the ability to rename your characters, 5 difficulty settings that can be adjusted mid-game, 36 character classes, more than 70 skills, 85 battle scenarios, and more than 1000 equippable items.

Losing a battle now stings more than it did in Kingturn, as you won’t retain the experience, items and gold you gathered immediately prior to your defeat–you’ll have to win outright to avoid losing these. (You can also retreat from a battle to retain experience and enemy loot drops, but the game will fine you a certain amount of silver for your trouble.)

There is one big change that I think might end up being a step backward, however: conquering (and losing) outposts no longer affects maximum army size. This promises to reduce the strategic importance of gaining ground and holding on to enemy outposts; but more worryingly, it risks turning battles into drawn-out wars of attrition, since the enemy will have fewer constraints preventing them from reinforcing to full size even at the very end of each battle.

You can nab Tactics Maiden for iOS or for Android for $4.99. (The first 8 scenarios can be played for free if you want to try the game out before committing.)

Back to Back: Indie RPGs to fund

Oh my god, you guys! It’s been a full month since I last posted a Back to Back! What is even happening in the world of indie RPG crowdfunding right now, anyway? Let’s take a look and find out!

Of the games whose campaigns have ended since we covered them last time, only three hit their funding goals: After Reset, Elysian Shadows and Jotun. Unfortunately, this means that Braven Arts, FitRPG, Gravia Tactics, Snot, and Soul Sword RPG did not.

But that’s just an update on last month’s games–what’s new in September? The short answer: a lot. We have something of an indie RPG bumper crop on Kickstarter right now, so get ready for a long read!

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Moon Hunters announced

Moon HuntersFive-person Montreal studio Kitfox Games is working on an action RPG with local co-op support for up to 4 players. The name? Well, it’s right up there in the title: Moon Hunters.

The premise:

On one fateful summer evening, the Moon, source of all magic and spiritual power, does not rise. Your course is clear. You must set out alone or with the other chosen children of the Moon to solve the mystery and restore balance.

Without the Moon’s power, monsters rise up and chaos grows across the lands. Players must rely on one another in a dangerous, ever-changing world. As the days and nights cycle past, players use every last scrap of their wits, weapons, and magical studies to survive, craft, explore, and ultimately triumph. How you express your personality in difficult decisions shapes your reputation and, ultimately, how your tribe remembers you in the generations to come. What constellation would be your symbol?

Aside from local co-op, the thing that is perhaps most interesting about this game is that it promises a non-linear story progression. To wit: “The mythology of your character and world is determined by your actions, and the world reacts to you differently based on the mythology you build.” The process of building mythology, in turn, seems to be a combination of making dialog choices and exploring the world for landmarks with hidden myths.

Kitfox plan to release Moon Hunters to Steam Early Access sometime late this year; the estimated final release date is July 2015 (which means the developers have given less than a year to build the game–an unlikely feat). Moon Hunters is planned to be Windows-only.

The game is currently on Kickstarter, where it is already fully funded with 28 days left to go.

 

Elysis demo released

ElysisWord has it that indie Zelda-alike Elysis (previously known as “Spooky Quest”) has an updated demo.

As you may recall, Elysis is a Zelda-alike with lots of dungeons, highly frenetic combat, and a combinatorial weapons system that lets you modify your armaments.

The new Elysis demo reportedly features:

2.7 dungeons with puzzles and treasures.
2 Boss fights.
20+ Weapons / Usable items
30+ Addons
20+ Monsters
Customizable controls

You can nab the demo for free, although developer Fervir gives you the option to donate him some money in the process.

IndieRPGs.com Checks Out Lords of Xulima

I had the pleasure of being offered a copy of the Lords of Xulima beta a week or two ago–and so, of course, I took it upon myself to give it a go, recording video all the way. The results:

So, what’d I think?

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