The past year in indie RPGs

Hello, friends! It has now been a year since IndieRPGs.com went on hiatus.

Part of me regrets having gone on hiatus, but I cannot deny that it has proved very fruitful for me as a developer. All of that reclaimed time has been put to good use, producing a successful Kickstarter for my strategy board game and loads of work done on my next (as-yet-unannounced) RPG.

Even so, I’ve started to get increasing numbers of people emailing me asking me if and when posts will resume, and I’ve been feeling the urge to post an update. One year in the world of indie games is a very long time, after all–surely I can post a big run-down of titles that released since last October, yeah?

So that, then, is what this post is for: a giant summary of indie RPG releases from this past year (one that will necessarily be incomplete by virtue of that fact that titles release pretty much every single weekday). Hit the jump for the list!

  • 7th Deep — a party-based, overhead perspective dungeon crawl with multiple endings that depend on who is in your party. Made in RPG Maker, out on Steam.
  • All Walls Must Fall — we covered the announcement for this isometric infiltration and tactics title last year, and now it is out on Steam.
  • Arakion: Book One — we last wrote about this ambitious party-based first-person dungeon crawler a whopping six years ago, and as of May 2018, it’s finally out!…on Early Access, that is. Give it a look on Steam.
  • Ash of Gods: Redemption — a thinly veiled clone of The Banner Saga that adds in some CCG mechanics. Available on Steam.
  • The Banner Saga 3 — you know what this is already, right? It’s the final chapter in the sRPG/King of Dragon Pass-alike with Sleeping Beauty-style rotoscoped animations and a fully orchestrated score by Austin Wintory. It’s on Steam, as well as basically every other platform known to man.
  • Chasm — I’ve been drooling over this roguelike-like/Metroidvania hybrid with amazing pixel art for quite some time–and it finally, finally dropped while I was on hiatus! (Of course.) It’s available on Steam, PS4, and Switch.
  • Choice of Magics — “Is that a…” Yup–it’s a “Choice Of” game. They’re still at it! A number of these released over this past year, but I’ll keep it to this one in order to avoid clogging up the list with ’em. Available on Steam, as well as for Android and iOS.
  • City of the Shroud — we covered this one back when it was on Kickstarter, and now it’s out! As before, it remains a 3D sRPG with combo-based attacks. It is apparently no longer turn-based, however, if the Steam reviews are anything to go by. Now available on Steam.
  • Cultist Simulator — this bills itself as a simulator first and foremost, and as an RPG second. Your misadventures are largely abstracted through cards and lots of text, so I’m not sure how much this will really appeal to most RPG players, but it’s a fascinating experiment. Available on Steam.
  • Cursed Lands — the latest Winter Wolves title, Cursed Lands takes place in the world of Aravorn (you know, like Seasons of the Wolf), albeit with new tactics for nonviolent conflict resolution and…uh, interspecies dating. Ahem. This one is available through itch.io.
  • Dark Quest II — a turn-based, party-based RPG inspired by the old Hero Quest board game. Features some quite nice 2D isometric graphics and mechanics centered around rolling dice. Available on Steam.
  • Depth of Extinction — just how deep is extinction, anyway? Alphabetically, the answer is apparently “not very”–but this sci-fi tactical RPG will presumably yield a different sort of answer when you play it. I’ve seen this one described as a sort of 2D pixel-art XCOM (which of course immediately makes me think of Halfway), but with emergent storylines. Available on Steam, GOG, and itch.io.
  • Din’s Legacy — if you’ve been reading IndieRPGs.com for any length of time, that name should sound familiar to you–and that’s because Din’s Legacy is the sequel to Soldak Entertainment’s innovative aRPG Din’s Curse! Featuring a wild new mutation system and proc gen worlds with their own unique conditions and internal politics, Din’s Legacy is available on Steam Early Access.
  • Dungeons of Tal’Doria — a sandbox exploration game with some light RPG elements, support for co-op, and an infinite procedurally generated world reminiscent of Minecraft. Available on Steam in Early Access.
  • Earthlock — remember back when this 3D jRPG was called Festival of Magic? Well now it’s called Earthlock, and it’s out on Steam!
  • Edge of Eternity — remember this one? This ludicrously high-res 3D jRPG found itself not one, but two publishers–but given its no doubt sky-high art costs, I’m gonna throw it the benefit of the doubt and say it’s still indie. Edge of Eternity is now available on Steam Early Access, with a full release slated for next month.
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark — this sRPG from 6 Eyes Studio (previously covered here) finally saw its release a few months back. It is now available on Steam, where the reviews seem to be quite positive.
  • Fort Triumph — we’ve been covering this 3D sRPG-with-an-overworld-layer since 2015. They seem to have distilled their original (wildly ambitious) goal of having entire proc gen plotlines down into more manageable, bite-sized contextually generated scenarios, but it all still sounds pretty darn cool to me. Now on Steam in Early Access.
  • Ghost of a Tale — a charming and visually stunning 3D action RPG in which you play an anthropomorphized mouse in a universe that inevitably reminds one of the Redwall books. Available on Steam.
  • The Great Gaias — remember back when we covered the Kickstarter for this jRPG back in 2014? Me neither. Well, now it’s out on Steam!
  • Hero of the Kingdom III — I hadn’t heard of this series before, but apparently it’s now on its third entry! Billed as a relaxing, casual experience, you’re asked to balance crafting, trading, and combat to progress through a world rendered in lovely 2D isometric detail. Available on Steam.
  • Infinite Adventures — a first-person dungeon delver with proc gen 3D environments and very anime character art. As luck would have it, I actually played this one in the Indie Megabooth at PAX East last year, and I quite enjoyed it. I recall the turn-based menu combat being quite well-executed. Anyway, this literally just released on Steam and XBox One today, so maybe check it out?
  • IronBorn — an RPG Maker jRPG from Valkyria Games with some, uh…risque…custom character portraits. Available on Steam and Aldorlea Games.
  • Lawless Lands — one of the more ambitious-looking RPG Maker titles I’ve seen to date, particularly with respect to its open-ended character customization system. In Early Access on Steam.
  • Legion’s Crawl — a graphical roguelike with cartoony 3D graphics and what appear to be anthropomorphized animal characters. It makes me think of what a roguelike in the Sonic universe might look like. Available on Steam.
  • Legrand Legacy — since we covered the announcement of this 3D jRPG last year, it has evidently picked up a publisher that works exclusively with indie devs–this sounds like it’s probably okay (and frankly, I don’t really have the time to investigate further). It’s now out on Steam, GOG, and Humble.
  • Majula Frontier — a sort of a weird post-apocalyptic fantasy jRPG with 2.5D presentation, town management, and turn-based party-based combat. Available on Steam.
  • Mana Spark — an action RPG set in proc gen dungeons with…sigh…”Souls-like” combat. The pixel art looks quite nice. Available on Steam.
  • Master of Rogues — a small graphical roguelike with pixel-art character animations. Available on Steam and Itch.io.
  • Metal Brigade Tactics — an sRPG featuring giant mechs with some cool time-delayed artillery mechanics. It might be worth looking into for those hoping to scratch the Super Robot Wars itch! Available on Steam.
  • Mysterious Realms RPG — a wRPG with an unusual turn-based combat system centered around management of different types of mana. Available on Steam.
  • Niffelheim —  a side-scrolling aRPG set in Norse mythology with potion crafting, online co-op, and quite a nice visual aesthetic. Available on Steam.
  • Noahmund — I admit that this is a really shallow reason to be intrigued by a game, but: this is a jRPG with an isometric perspective. I honestly don’t think that I have ever seen that before! Anyway, it’s on Steam and it looks fairly polished.
  • Pocket Rogues — a top-down, aRPG roguelike for Android and iPhone that is also currently in early access on Steam.
  • POSTWORLD — a 3D post-apocalyptic action RPG clearly modeled on the more recent Bethesda Fallout games–and regrettably, not actually about a planet full of mailmen. Available on Steam.
  • Pylon: Rogue — a Diablo-alike with an overworld map and controls better-suited to an action game (e.g. direct control over character movement, combos and charge attacks, etc.) Technically this launched a month before we went on hiatus, but they did  email me so I’m including it here. Available on Steam.
  • Siralim 3 — a monster-training RPG with more than 700 creature types and proc gen dungeons. (We covered the first one a few years back.) Available on Steam.
  • Slay the Spire — a roguelikelike where you play a single adventurer. In battle, you draw a hand of 5 cards that provide your combat actions; you build your deck as you go, encountering narrative events and relics that grant persistent buffs. I understand this game to be very popular right now. Available on Steam in Early Access, as well as on Humble.
  • Star Traders: Frontiers — the latest epic from the Trese Brothers, Star Traders is an open-universe sci-fi RPG with a customizable ship and crew, as well as varied factions. It’s available on Steam.
  • Tactics Rogue — the latest attempt at blending the sRPG and roguelike genres, this party-based top-down RPG has you exploring proc gen labyrinths. In Early Access on Steam.
  • Timespinner — a really lovely-looking pixel art Metroidvania with time manipulation mechanics. I’ve been following this one through its development, and can confirm that the late publishing agreement with Chucklefish hasn’t altered its development meaningfully enough to take it out of the indie realm. Available on Steam.
  • Unleashedfunded earlier this year, this one strikes me as a sort of French-indie take on Shin Megami Tensei, one featuring what looks to be row-and-column combat and a painterly art style. It’s now available on Steam.
  • Vaporum — a first-person dungeon crawler with grid-based movement and a steampunk theme. This is another one that launched just prior to the hiatus, but they emailed me and the game does look worthy, so here it is. You can find it on Steam and GOG.
  • Warbanners — a turn-based fantasy strategy game utilizing hex-based battlefields. Technically this one released just before we went on hiatus, but I don’t want to screw the developer here, so it makes the list anyway! Available on Steam.
  • Zombasite: Orc Schism — an expansion for Soldak’s Zombasite that enables control over the defense of your town, adds 3 new factions, adds many new quests, and brings the game’s total number of possible class combination up 333 (wait, what?) Available on Steam.

Honorable mention to Soul Saga. Developer Disastercake (Michael Gale) is totally still at it more than 5 years after its successful Kickstarter; he recently delayed putting it into Early Access until he can polish it some more, which I super respect. I know how hard holding something back for more coats of polish can be after so many years of work. Here’s hoping it’s ready soon!

Second honorable mention: Wandersong. This new game by Greg Lobanov is absolutely not an RPG, but it contains all manner of references to his earlier work (as well as a number of moments that I can only interpret as tongue-in-cheek self-critique). I found it to be pretty awesome to play as someone familiar with his old RPGs. Also, it’s just a lovely, charming game overall (and not too difficult for people who suck at platformers, as evidenced by my success in playing it).

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