Latest Publications

Severed announced

Severed Large
So! I was poking around the internets, as I often do, when I discovered that DrinkBox Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed Guacamelee, have been working on a first-person dungeon delver. It’s called Severed, and it has you playing as a young woman with a fantastical (and fantastically literal) sword arm.

The premise:

In Severed you play as a distraught warrior, who is lost in a fantastical world. She is tasked with the challenge of knitting together pieces of her story from both the past and the future. Our heroine will embark on a journey through a surreal non-linear world using a gesture based combat mechanic to defeat enemies in this first person adventure. Unlock new abilities, discover secrets of the land, and grow in power as you master both offensive and defensive techniques. Let Severed be your mystery to unravel.

The trailer shows off tile-based exploration of an incredibly colorful, borderline-psychadelic world, as well as combat that appears to use player gestures to direct sword slashes against specific portions of your enemies’ anatomy:

The planned features include

  • Use touch-based combat mechanics with offensive & defensive techniques against a variety of enemies
  • Have autonomy over upgrade paths
  • Gain abilities from Totems—magic armor created from the remains of defeated bosses
  • Force enemies into vulnerable states, then sever their body parts to upgrade equipment and abilities
  • Choose how to progress through branching routes as you avoid hazards and solve puzzles

Severed is planned for release in Summer 2015 for the Playstation Vita. (The developers have declined to comment on whether it’ll be getting ported to other platforms, though given the touch-based combat system, porting to smart phones strikes me as an obvious choice if the game does well enough.)

New release: Forward to the Sky

Forward to the Sky
Wei Chen of Taiwanese developer Animugame writes in to inform me of the release of Forward to the Sky, the 3D Zelda-alike we last discussed here.

The premise:

Once upon a time, there was a great tower in the sky. People were mining crystal with delight during the prosperous days. Until that disaster happened…… Time past, the history had been forgotten. And now, it emerged from the clouds again – the sky tower.

Reveal the story of the sky tower.  … You are going to collect all the crystal pieces to connect the story and everything will be revealed once Princess reaches the top level.

So there you have it–nice and straightforward. Wei states that game involves a mixture of combat, puzzles, and platforming, though you could probably gather as much by watching the trailer:

Though the game takes place in a single location (the sky tower), there are 6 different areas to traverse as you ascend.

Forward to the Sky is available on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux–$7.99.

MyRPG Master announced, in paid alpha

MyRPG Master
It’s been a while since I last posted about an RPG creation tool, but it looks like we have a new one on the horizon. In development by French indie Dragon Head Studio, MyRPG Master is designed to let you create 3D RPGs without any coding.

Dragon Head Studio provides a powerful 3D engine, with simple editors, that will give the users the unique opportunity to build nice and rich 3D worlds.

MyRPG Master includes a terrain editor, a river editor, the ability to edit characters and objects, and so on. It also lets you test out what you’ve made in-editor, which–speaking as an RPG developer–is a pretty darn handy thing to have. This trailer shows a few of the program’s editors in action:

The developers state that MyRPG Master is planned to have two other notable features:

  • a large built-in object library the user can use to build their own worlds and adventures. This library is updated on weekly basis with new assets and will offer thousands of flora, fauna, buildings, creatures and many more items. And for even more creativity, users can add any 3D object of their choice through the collada files importer.
  • another feature widely expected by RPG creators: the opportunity to choose their own rule system. They can choose between dice systems, like in classic pen and paper games, or formulas like in most MMORPGs. They can also work on their full own rule system or import those of their favorite pen and paper RPG.

MyRPG Master is currently in alpha, with only some of its editors currently implemented. According to the developers, the program’s “Rules and Universe editors will be progressively released over the next months.”

Just as importantly, you can’t actually release the games you make with it yet. The devs note that games made with MyRPG Master will be playable by people using a free but yet-to-be-released client called “MyRPG Player.” As for creating standalone executables, “[a] special program called ‘MyRPG Indie’ will also be available later for ambitious projects wishing to plan a stand alone release.”

Even so, if you want to get in on it early, you can snag MyRPG Master for $39.99 on Steam Early Access. Windows only.

The developers state that they plan for a beta release this summer, and final release by the end of 2015.

New release: Elendia Ceus

Elendia Ceus
The ever-prolific Aldorlea Games writes in to announce the release of Elendia Ceus, a new jRPG they’ve developed.

The premise:

What lies beneath the skies?
This is a question nobody in the cloud world of Elendia wants answered -
nobody but one man, LaCaster, who lost his wife as she passed to the other side.
And because the prophecies say Elendia will collapse if a breach is made through to the other world, you have to stop LaCaster from trying to revive his wife. But he is a general of the Kingdom and you are only a pirate. He has the power and you are barely legal. In such impossible adversity, do you have what it takes to stop the imminent disaster from happening?

Well? Do you? Do you?!

Here are some of the game’s features, per the developer:

  • Mouse control
  • 3 modes of difficulty
  • 20+ Hours of epic and rich gameplay
  • Choose whether your characters are “astrology-aligned” for more depth and strategy
  • 50+ secret rooms to discover (and even mega secret rooms!)
  • 6 Relics, 8 Artifacts, 7 Legends, 4 Dragons etc.
  • Colyseum with 3 Leagues for you to test your skills

There’s a free demo available here; you can nab the full game for $19.99. Windows only.

Chasm announced

I covered Chasm a few times in Back to Back entries from last year, but it occurred to me today that I never actually gave the game its own announcement. Well, let’s fix that!

Chasm is a Metroidvania being developed by Discord Games. Aside from the game’s really impressive pixel art, the main appeal here is the fact that the game will use procedurally generated areas, officially pushing this into the realm of the roguelike-like.

The premise:

When a small mining community falls silent, a young soldier named Daltyn is sent to investigate. Upon arriving in the remote mountain town of Karthas, he discovers that paranormal forces have sealed the town off from the outside world. Now trapped, he’s left with no option but to explore below the town and uncover the source of the disturbances.

Chasm has a (very) short teaser trailer out that should give us a taste of how it looks in motion:

Meanwhile, here is the game’s planned list of features:

  • Explore six massive areas procedurally-assembled from hand-crafted rooms
  • Enjoy challenging retro gameplay and authentic pixel art (384×216 native res.)
  • Battle massive bosses and discover new abilities to reach previously inaccessible areas
  • Customize your character by equipping armor to your body and weapons, shields, or spells to either hand
  • Includes Normal, Arena, Time Trial & Hardcore Modes
  • Leaderboards for Hardcore playthroughs featuring quickest time and more
  • Windows, Mac, & Linux versions with Gamepad support

Chasm just hit its final alpha release yesterday, and is due for a full release this summer; Windows, Mac, Linux, and Playstation 4.

Legends of Pixelia announced

Legends of Pixelia
Florian Siemer writes in to announce Legends of Pixelia, an action roguelike-like being developed by himself under the name SimaGames. Legends of Pixelia features distinctly lo-fi graphics and combat mechanics that remind me more than a little of brawlers like Final Fight or Streets of Rage.

The premise:

Legends of Pixelia is an action role-playing game that combines retro pixelart with modern gameplay mechanics. Tired of left-clicking through hordes of brainless one-hit-KO enemies? Random dungeons, precise controls via gamepad (or keyboard) and a strong fighting game AI provide challenging encounters. Be prepared!

Now then, about those brawler-y combat mechanics; the developer boasts of strong enemy AI “that knows how to block and when to use skills.” Take a gander at this:

According to Siemer, the game gives you a choice of character classes when you start, and you can then shape your character by assigning stat points. The dungeons are procedurally generated, and permadeath is optional.

LoP will also reportedly include support for co-op multiplayer and PvP for up to 4 players; there’s gamepad support, and local matches are supported.

Regrettably, I forgot to include this in my last Back to Back; LoP is currently on IndieGoGo, where it needs about $2,300 more to get funded. Siemer informs me that the money would allow him a few much-needed months to work on the game full-time, but that he’ll still develop the game without it–he’ll just need to rely on selling a content-starved version on Steam Early Access to try to fund it. If you want to help him out, you can throw a few dollars his way here.

Legends of Pixelia is being developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is no release date planned yet.

Catacomb Kids now in paid alpha

Catacomb Kids
We first posted about Catacomb Kids back in October 2013; and now, nearly a year and a half later, the current alpha build of this side-scrolling action roguelike-like has now been made available through the Humble store and Steam Early Access.

But before we get to the nitty gritty of buying in to this thing, how about we take a look at the latest Catacomb Kids trailer? This makes me think of what Spelunky might be like without digging/bombs, and with a stronger focus on stats and abilities:

The combat mechanics, especially, look rather promising to me. There’s actually another recent trailer showing off the game’s combat, which seems to have developed a surprising amount of depth since we last looked. Frankly, if I weren’t provably terrible at platformers, I would be all over this game.

You can get immediate access to the current build of Catacomb Kids for $15.99–Windows, Mac, or Linux–via the Humble store widget or Steam Early Access.

Back to Back: Indie RPGs to fund

After a long absence, Back to Back has returned, prompted by a resurgence of emails about new indie RPG Kickstarter projects!

Of those games we glimpsed when we last peered into the depths of the crowdfunding well, Hollow Knight, Infinite Legacy, Wayward Terran Frontier, and Yes, Your Grace each made their goals; Americana Dawn, Cube and Me, Lord of the Dark Castle, Sellswords, and Story of the Eternity One fell short.

Since then, a few new projects have cropped up:


Vaporum announced

Word reaches me that Slovakian indie team FatBot Studio is working on a steampunk, first-person dungeon delver. The name of the game: Vaporum.

The premise is a little skimpy at present, though I’m sure the developers will plump it up a bit as development continues:

Cast away on a piece of rock in the middle of the ocean next to a gigantic metallic structure, the hero decides to delve into the unknown.

In the meantime, there’s a pre-alpha teaser video out that shows how the game’s mechanics are shaping up. Movement is grid-based and combat is real-time, meaning that this is going to be in the Dungeon Master style:

The game is being developed for Windows and Mac; no release date just yet. For now, you can vote for Vaporum on Steam Greenlight if it’s the sort of thing that tickles your fancy.

New release: Crystal Story II

Crystal Story II - Mercenary
Word reaches me that there’s a new indie jRPG on the scene called Crystal Story II. Developed by Emmanuel Salva Cruz, Crystal Story II reportedly features a whole bunch of minigames in addition to its jRPG core.

The premise:

Crystal Story II is a turn-based RPG that follows the story of a young Dragon on his quest to defeat an evil witch. He must seek allies to aid him on his journey and save the world from the oncoming invasion.

Crystal Story II, like many indie RPGs of the past 10 years, is clearly inspired by the Final Fantasy series. Unlike most of those games, this one isn’t made in RPG Maker, and features entirely original graphics in an anime style. You can see for yourself in the official trailer:

Crystal Story II is available for a piddling $2.99 on Steam for Windows and Mac. You can also pick up a mobile version of the game for Android over on Google Play, priced at $1.99. The original, browser release (which lacks certain quests and mini-games available in the paid versions) is playable for free on Kongregate.