Latest Publications

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.

New release: Chesslike

Word reaches me that there’s a new game out by the name of Chesslike. Developed by Moore Interactive, Chesslike doesn’t qualify as an RPG–it’s a fantasy strategy game, and even then only just barely. The gist is that you progress through a series of dungeons, and both your forces and those of the dungeon inhabitants are chess pieces.

The trailer showcases it well enough:

Chesslike features the following things:

-Pick up swords and shields to upgrade your piece.
-Keys, Locked Doors, Warp tiles, Maps.
-Pawns move and kill in four directions, but will only kill diagonally.
-Level Editor – play everyone’s custom levels!
-Registering will save your progress and allow use of the Level Editor to create new puzzle levels

It’s a cool idea, really, though I found it a lot less compelling than I expected I would. I attribute this to the fact that it features no items or equipment, no persistent characters, not even a storyline. It’s just a series of challenge levels; and not even a series, really, because (at least in the browser version) you can play them in any order. Weirdly, this results in it feeling more like a casual puzzle game than a fantasy strategy title despite the fact that it employs chess boards and chess pieces.

Chesslike is available to play online for free in your browser right here. If you want to play it on your Android or iPhone, on the other hand, you can purchase it for $1.99.

New Release: Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea
Word reaches me that there’s a new top-down, real-time roguelike-like in town by the name of Sunless Sea, influenced by such titles as Elite and FTL.

Developed by Failbetter Games, Sunless Sea gives you a ship, lets you hire a crew, and sets you off to explore a procedurally generated, pitch-black underground ocean where you must manage your resources to survive:

The Unterzee is a realm of sombre beauty. It is always night – where that light off your starboard bow might be a friendly port or the glowing teeth of a zee-beast. Turn up your lights to see farthest, let them sink low to escape detection… or to become the hunter.

Like everything else in Sunless Sea, light has its cost, and not just in the fuel it takes to power your glim-lamps. If you can see your enemy, they can see you, and you’ll risk leaving yourself adrift at the mercy of the tideless black.

Improve and customise your ship as you prowess on the black waters improves. Begin with a Splinter-Salvo and Evasive Manoeuvres: aspire to the Rarefaction Cannon and the terrifying Unclear Bomb…

And if that isn’t enough to intrigue you, perhaps this launch trailer will change your mind:

Sunless Sea is available for Windows and Mac on GOG, on Steam, and via the Humble Store. $18.99.

Darkest Dungeon released on early access

Darkest Dungeon
Remember Darkest Dungeon? Not quite a year after achieving smashing success on Kickstarter, the dark, psychologically fraught dungeon delver has now been made available for us to play via Steam Early Access.

Here’s an early access trailer that developer Red Hook Studios just put out:

Mac and Windows; $19.99.