Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

Hey guys! Back to Back has returned for one last round-up in the year 2015, before we enter the end-of-year Valley of Death from which virtually no Kickstarters return!

Of those games we checked in on last time, the successful games were Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan; Battle Chasers: Nightwar; Divinity: Original Sin 2; For the King; and A House of Many Doors. Crossfate suffered a worse fate, as did MegaMagic: Wizards of the Neon Age; Omnis – The Erias Line; Psypher; Severed Winds; and Tears of Avia.

So! What’s new in the Land of Crowdfundia?

It seems that the impending Valley of Death has already scared away most high-profile comers, leaving a selection of hardscrabble contenders and a few gems:

Aderyn’s Cradle – a 3D first-person action RPG being created in Unity 4 that seeks to make first-person melee combat more enjoyable. Beware–this is a flexible funding campaign. The developers have raised about $5,500 out of their $40,000 goal, with 12 days left to go.

Blacksea Odyssey – the developer has emailed me a few times now, so I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt that this 2D shooter “with RPG and rogue-like elements” is RPG enough to merit inclusion here. (They have an alpha demo up, so you can investigate this for yourself.) It’s 50% funded, with 18 days left to hit its $10,000 goal.

Cycle of Tyrfing – a 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania with a procedurally generated world. The author calls it “roguelike,” but there is no permadeath–or, from what I can tell, any relationship to roguelikes at all aside from the procedural generation aspect. It has 34 days to raise about $15,000.

Dark Flame – a 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania with graphics that remind me more than a little of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Will there be enough interest in this coming on the heels of Bloodstained? We have 11 days to find out–but given that it’s only 10% funded at this point, the devs face a tough road to make that answer “yes.”

The Dark Unknown: A Quest for Art – this oddly titled game is inspired by the older Ultima games. Indeed, at first glance, you could be forgiven for mixing it up with Ultima V; it has that same look, down to the “black box” lack of transparency in its sprites. The developer says that the game is shaping up to be larger than Ultima IV, and that he’ll release it for free in 2017. So why the Kickstarter? To…commission art for an art book, apparently. Yeah, I dunno. Anyway, the art looks nice, and he’s raised over $4,000 so far, nearly doubling his goal. This one has 20 days left.

The Great Whale Road – at first glance, this looks like The Banner Saga by way of Battle Brothers. Although they show hex-based, turn-based tactical fights, the devs take pains to note that cards are important in combat as well. It isn’t immediately clear whether you deploy your characters from a deck, whether commands to your units are card-based, or whether you’re mostly just playing an ordinary turn-based tactics fight and the deck is filled with special abilities. The answers, I expect, reside within this combat demo the devs have made available. The Great Whale Road has raised about $5,500 out of $53,000; 27 days remain for it to raise the difference.

Indivisible – a 2D side-scrolling action RPG from the makers of Skullgirls featuring platforming exploration, combat that expands on the template created by Valkyrie Profile, and the same style of gorgeous cel-shaded art and animation they’ve come to be known for. There’s a free prototype available to download and play. Indivisible has a slightly ludicrous $1,500,000 funding goal, but given that they’ve topped $1 million raised with 11 days left, I think they might actually make it.

Realms of Magic – a Terraria clone, albeit with a traditional, Tolkein-y setting and Elder Scrolls-ish, skill-based character development. The devs name drop Dwarf Fortress, but they don’t mention any features that suggest the sort of intense, detailed simulation that Dwarf Fortress is known for. RoM has raised roughly $4,000 out of its $60,000 goal, and has 23 days left on the clock.

Seafarers of Oceanus – this is a fantasy strategy game with a procedurally generated overworld, random events, turn-based tactical battles, and a mythological ancient Greek setting. The visual presentation is a little harsh on the eyes, but that combination of features sounds pretty appealing to me. It’s raised only $600 so far, but with a goal of only $6,800, perhaps it can pull things out of the lurch within the next 10 days.

Stories of Eternia – an RPG Maker jRPG. I’m not sure if the developer is deliberately trying to get sued by Namco for trademark infringement, but she’s off to a pretty good start. This one has raised $6.11 out of its $1,528 goal, with 27 days left on the clock.

Trabel – the earth of soul – an RPG Maker jRPG. I’m not sure if the developers meant to use something that sounds kind of like a really drunk person saying “terrible” as the title of their game, but…yeah. Not much else to say here. This one has 11 days left, and $175 raised out of its obviously pointless $11 funding goal.


Note: there is also The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. It’s a licensed game, and thus officially not indie, but some of you might want to check it out anyway.

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