Latest Publications

New release: Halcyon 6

Ken Seto from Canadian indie developer Massive Damage, Inc. writes in to announce the release of Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, which they describe as a sci-fi RPG which blends base-building and exploration at both the starship and away-team levels.

Here’s the premise:

[A]n unknown alien force is carving a path of destruction towards Earth and you, as the Commander of an immensely powerful, newly discovered derelict starbase left behind by a precursor alien race, are the best chance for the New Terran Federation to stop the impending invasion.

The devs state that the game features “deep tactical combat,” but then go on to describe it as a “JRPG style combat system,” which…I can only assume the developers have a very different notion of what constitutes a deeply tactical system than I do.

Anyway! Here’s the release trailer, where you can see for yourself some snippets of the game in action:

And here is the official feature list, per the developers:

  • Base Building: spend resources to build station facilities (rooms) to enhance your production and technological capabilities, or build ships to help you control more territory.
  • Deep Tactical Combat: fight tactical ship or ground battles using a huge array of powers and combos to resolve hostile events, create a foothold in the sector and ultimately defeat the enemy mothership!
  • Exploration: assign your fleets to nearby star clusters, where they can handle emerging enemy threats, do missions for alien factions or secure bonus resources.
  • Crew Management: assign crew to station facilities to greatly improve their output efficiency, or to ships where they can contribute in unique ways to combat, missions and events.
  • Story Events: based on game criteria like rooms-built, alien diplomacy scores or officer traits/skills, the game will produce story events (often with multiple choice outcomes) that can lead to combat, time-related applied bonuses/negatives, officer attribute changes or any number of crazy in-game stories.
  • Replayability: Each playthrough has players dealing with a new randomly generated derelict station, surrounding galaxy, crew recruits, and alien factions

Halcyon 6 is available for Windows and Mac; you can snag it on Steam for $19.99 (less with the launch week discount). Checks Out Ara Fell

Greetings, indie RPG fans! Stephen Anthony, developer of Ara Fell, was kind enough to supply me with a code to check out the finished game, and after months of scrambling for time, I went ahead and checked it out while recording the experience. Here’s the first not-quite-an-hour of the game, with my live commentary/voice acting accompanying it:

So, what’d I think?


New release: Zombasite

Earlier this week, Soldak Entertainment announced that fantasy zombie-apocalypse action RPG Zombasite has finally been released. Think “Diablo” with a dynamic, changing fantasy world set during a zombie apocalypse scenario.

The narrative premise is rather wordy, so here is my edited-down version:

The dark elves have always played god by creating and enhancing underworld slave creatures. As they watched a horde of zombies destroy the huge demon city Kraval, the dark elves were tantalized by the devastating power of uncontrolled zombies, and desired to control and increase it. When they wove their dominating magic into a few captive zombies something went horribly wrong!

Zombasite is a nasty, voracious, all-consuming Zombie Parasite. It doesn’t just reanimate the dead into mindless zombies. It is intelligent, insatiable, and unstoppable—infecting and killing the living, spreading faster and in more ways, helping the dead utilize many of their original skills, and mutating the dead with new powers. Dark elf zombies are terrifying!

So what does this have to do with you? You are the leader of a clan trying to survive the apocalypse.

As is Soldak’s wont, Zombasite is set in a constantly evolving world with different factions and events driven largely by their interactions with one another.

Steven Peeler writes that food is rare in this game, as are vendors and supplies, and you’ll have to compete with rival clans for the few resources that remain. What’s more, the stresses of survival can affect your own clan members, and any that die can’t be brought back.

Here is the official list of features:

  • Survive the zombie apocalypse in a fantasy world
  • Experience uniquely created worlds for every game, with different areas, monsters, items, and quests
  • Explore a dynamic, evolving, living world
  • Lead a clan of followers who have their own personalities and skills
  • Navigate relationships with rival clans using diplomacy, trade, war, and raids
  • Many hybrid classes to experience – 8 full classes, 24 specialties, 260 total combinations
  • Adventure with your friends with co-op multiplayer
  • Your choices truly impact the game!
  • Customize your experience with many character and world options including turning off zombies and clans.

You can snag Zombasite for $19.99 (though there is a 25% launch week discount in effect) direct from the developer, on Steam, on the Humble Store, and on Gamers Gate. There’s also a free demo available so you can try it out. Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Avadon 3 announced, gets release date

Avadon 3
Word reaches me that Jeff Vogel’s Avadon wRPG series is nearing completion, with the third and final chapter–Avadon 3: The Warborn–to release on September 14, 2016, nearly 3 years after the release of its predecessor.

Here’s the premise:

You are a Hand of Avadon, the Black Fortress. You are a warrior and spy, judge and executioner, with nearly unlimited power to fight the enemies of your homeland. Your word is Law.

But your lands have been invaded. Your borders have been overrun by barbarians, monsters, and powerful armies. Cities are burning, and your people are desperate for help. You have discovered a path to ending the war, but your plan will need every scrap of power and resourcefulness to succeed.

The ending to the saga is not set in stone, though. Yes, you can defeat the enemy and save your people. You might also betray your people and bring victory to the invaders. You can even, with cunning and violence, gain great power and wealth for yourself. In the conclusion to the Avadon Saga, the choice will be up to you!

I suppose you expect to see a trailer at this point? Well, I certainly don’t want to thwart your expectations:

I’ll be posting when Avadon 3 is out, so stay tuned! In the meantime, why not gawk at some screenshots?

New release: Bludgeons & Krakens

Zaid Walter of Cannibal Cat Software writes in to announce the release of Bludgeons & Krakens, which he describes as a turn-based RPG inspired by Ultima with simple, fast-paced combat and loot.

The premise:

Welcome to Abraxas! Unfortunately, you’ve arrived at just about the worst time imaginable. As a novice sellsword just looking for a job, you signed up with a mercenary company only to sell yourself into a land plagued by war, blight, a demonic invasion, and perhaps things even worse. I hope they pay you overtime.
The developer states: “The main quest requires the player to seek out and defeat bosses across the game world. The bosses can be defeated in any order, though some will be near impossible until the player reaches a higher level. These bosses also have specific abilities and weaknesses that can be exploited through the use of artifacts hidden in various areas. The player can choose to make use of these artifacts or not.”

There doesn’t seem to be a trailer, but we do have a feature list:

  • Play Your Way. Build your character from one of five classes–Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, or Druid–and customize him or her as you wish. Master weapon skills and magic abilities, upgrade your attributes, and empower yourself with mythic loot.
  • Explore a Strange World. Unearth ancient secrets in every corner of Abraxas. Meet the curious denizens of the land, many of whom will seek your help. Or simply wander the land in search of your fortune.
  • Fight for Survival (and Loot). Take on hordes of foes in turn-based combat. Sling spells, quaff potions, rend your enemies, and loot the bodies. When your skills are honed, seek out powerful bosses who will truly challenge your abilities.

Bludgeons & Krakens is freeware, though you have the option to donate to the developer if you like; Windows only. Snag it here.

New release: Cellpop Goes Out At Night

Remember The Real Texas? Of course you do! Well developer Calvin French of Kitty Lambda Games has written in to announce that he’s released a “mini-sequel” to The Real Texas. The name? Cellpop Goes Out At Night.

Here’s the premise:

Cellpop is a small floating-eye-like alien girl who lives at a shopping mall, Kad, out on the Barlic Wastes, on the Planet of the Friendeyes.

Two years ago, communications were suddenly cut off from Kad and the rest of the planet, and the train that connects the Barlic Wastes to The City stopped running.

Since then, you’ve grown up a bit. Everyone is still trying to go about their daily business but without any customers or outside contact, things at Kad are a bit weird. Some Friendeyes have even gone missing! But don’t worry– everything will be OK now that Mom built the wall. So just play with your best friend, Sokpop, do your chores, and try to be helpful to the adults.

Sooner or later things will get back to normal! They always do.

I confess, I don’t personally recall aliens figuring prominently in the original game, but The Real Texas was just weird enough that I’m willing to believe that this is, in fact, an actual sequel to it. Here’s the trailer:

You can snag Cellpop Goes Out at Night direct from the developer, or through any of Steam, GOG, or Cellpop Goes Out at Night is $3.99, but since it’s DLC, you’ll need the original $14.99 game to play it–you can get the original game at any of those same links above.

New release: Temple of the Abyssal Winds

Temple of the Abyssal Winds
Geoff Dunbar of Merry Prankster Games writes in to announce that Temple of the Abyssal Winds (previously covered here) has been completed, with all 6 chapters now available for download. In case you’ve forgotten, Temple of the Abyssal Winds is a party based wRPG with an isometric view and real-time with pause combat.

The narrative premise is as follows:

Twenty years ago, the demoness Urgoroth rose to power from the depths of the Temple of the Abyssal Winds. She was defeated, but your parents were lost in the conflict. Your aunt and uncle have raised you in the small village of Tomm’s Crossing, where life has been mostly peaceful. Until now…

Dun-dun DUUUUNNNNNNN! So ominous!

The trailer, like the premise, remains unchanged from 2014:

TotAW’s final feature list includes:

• Single player, controlling a band of adventurers.
• Real-time pauseable combat for realism and control.
• A combination of open-ended exploration and strong story driven plot.
• Tactically challenging encounters featuring many different strategies.
• Deep, complex role-playing system, inspired by popular paper-and-pencil role playing games.
• Dozens of quests, enemies, and monsters to tackle.
• Build the character you want to – dozens of skills and powers, and hundreds of spells and items.

The first chapter of Temple of the Abyssal Winds is free for Windows and on the Apple app store (iPad only). On Windows, each subsequent chapter must be purchased separately for $3.00; on iPad, each subsequent chapter is $2.99, available solely as an in-app purchase.

Pathway announced

German indie team Robotality, creator of sci-fi tactics RPG Halfway (covered here), has announced development of a new tactical RPG set in a pulp 1930s setting. The name? Pathway.

Given the trend, I can only assume that their next game is going to be called “Graphway,” about a war between graphic design professionals; or “Laughway,” about a team of comedians who must fight to survive th…I’m getting off topic here, aren’t I?

The premise of Pathway has something of an “Indiana Jones Tactics” vibe to it:

The year is 1936.

Ancient, bewildering artefacts are materializing on black markets around the world. Rumours of a new element, which German researchers allude to as Valkyrium-500, are spreading. Hushed voices speak of an elusive “Projekt Walhalla” – the meaning of which remains obscure. Meanwhile, agents of the Reich are reportedly conducting frantic excavations around the globe.

However, these puzzling artefacts also managed to draw the attention of wealthy private collectors. As the owner of Lankford & Co, a specialised business known for recovering unique items quickly and discreetly, you welcome this.

Your responsibility is to uncover the remains of a lost civilisation, before the Germans get to it. How exactly you go about this, is up to you and your thrown-together band of eccentric adventurers!

The developers have announced that the game will be like Halfway, but with a couple of major shifts in mechanics: they’re scrapping to-hit chances in favor of a deterministic system, and they’re scrapping modules in favor of old-fashioned leveling up and learning of skills. I have yet to see determinism carried out in a line-of-sight, gun-focused combat context like this, so it should be quite interesting to see how the developers approach that.

Pathway is being developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux; ports to other platforms are speculative. Pathway is tentatively planned for release sometime in 2017.

New release: Ara Fell

Ara Fell
Stephen Anthony of Stegosoft Games, writes in to inform me that the once-abandoned freeware jRPG Ara Fell has been released in improved, commercial form.

Here’s the game’s narrative premise:

Long, long ago, the elven sorcerers cast a spell to save the floating world of Ara Fell from destruction. Instead, they doomed it to fall from the sky. By chance, the fate of the world has been placed in the hands of a young woman.

Here’s the trailer:

Annnnd here’s the feature list:

  • EXPLORATION – Ara Fell is a world meant to be explored! Jump, crawl, swim and even fly through the air to solve puzzles and discover new locations filled with hidden treasure, secrets and adventure! Every corner of Ara Fell is designed with exploration in mind.
  • OPEN WORLD – Most of the world can be traversed from the moment you leave Aloria Village, the heroine’s home town… provided, of course, you’re strong enough. A clever adventurer may be able unlock secrets and discover powerful equipment early in the game if he or she commits to taking advantage of the open nature of the game world.
  • TACTICAL COMBAT – Ara Fell may be a story-heavy game, but the world is still fraught with danger. Choose specialized equipment and statistics, customizing each character to best suit your play style, and to best thwart each boss battle’s unique mechanics.
  • CHARACTER DRIVEN – When you join Ara Fell’s unwitting heroine on a quest to save her homeland, you’ll discover a world filled with vibrant characters who laugh, cry, crack jokes, lose their tempers, and even their will to go on as the size and scope of the curse that plagues Ara Fell becomes apparent. Friends and villains alike are not who they seem as the stakes grow ever higher…

Ara Fell is now available for $9.99 on Steam,, and Humble Store; Windows only.

Ebony Spire: Heresy announced, in paid beta

Ebony Spire
Word reaches me that there’s a new graphical roguelike in development, one that has you maneuvering around in first-person in old-school “blobber” style. Created by Bacioiu Ciprian, Ebony Spire: Heresy plays like a first-person dungeon crawler (albeit one with procedurally generated levels, permadeath, and enemies that can use the same items, spells, and potions that you do).

The premise:

ES:Heresy is a first person roguelike in which the player (a berserker, night shade or scroll mage) invades the sacred tower of Dae’eria, the Ebony Spire, in an attempt to slay the fervent goddess! The player has to climb up all 10 tower levels to reach the most sacred of places. Each floor contains one or more portals to other realms that the player must visit in order to obtain equipment that can aid him in his quest.

As with the best of the old-school roguelikes, Ebony Spire: Heresy makes its source code freely available under an MIT license. The developer states that you can mod in new items and creatures fairly easily–no real coding necessary.

Ebony Spire: Heresy is available to download from for a suggested price of $1.00 (you can pay what you want). Windows and Linux.