Latest Publications

New release: It’s Killing Time

Its Killing Time
Eric Bonholtzer writes in to announce the release of It’s Killing Time. (It was released in mid-June. What can I say? I’m late on this one.)

A new text-based hybrid RPG / Choose-Your-Own-Adventure that weighs in at 140,000 words, It’s Killing Time puts you in the shoes of a killer for hire.

The premise:

Ever dream of what it’s like to be an assassin, travel the world driving an exotic car with outlandish weapons in the trunk and live a life of high-intrigue, action, and suspense? Well, now you have the chance to fulfill that fantasy.

Select your characteristics and set off on a tense thrill-ride where you won’t know who to trust or just who wants to put a target on your back.

IKT features character creation with “a multitude of options,” and multiple styles of play. Bonholtzer writes: “Build a career as a ruthless assassin or be a spiritual hitman or hitwoman who avoids collateral damage and everything in between.”

Sound like a way you’d kill time? It’s Killing Time is available for Android on Google Play or iOS on the Apple App Store for $3.99. It’s also available for Kindle and on the Chrome Store. As with all Choice of Games titles, there’s also a free web demo available here.

New release: Fantasy Dimension

Fantasy Dimension
Piotr Dziki writes in to announce that Fantasy Dimension (first mentioned in Back to Back here) has been released, unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign notwithstanding.

Fantasy Dimension is a tactical RPG with turn-based combat and a rather evocative ink-and-paper visual style. The premise is a bit light on story specifics:

Fantasy Dimension is an alternate world, created by dreams of humankind. Unfortunately, within human nature exists a duality – a good side and a dark side. This brings neverending warfare.

This description of the game’s overarching structure, likewise, makes things seem pretty open-ended: “Complete tasks for town residents, take part in arena tournaments, play mini games, increase your fame rank, and discover the many ways of acquiring coins.”

Luckily, the developer has provided a gameplay video giving the gist of how combat works, so we do have that:

(Note that this is a pre-alpha video; the developer informs me that the game’s sound and interface have been improved since this video was made.)

Fantasy Dimension’s features include character creation “allowing any combination of traits, skills and spells to create your own classes”; customizable difficulty; and experience point-based character development with customized traits, skills and spells.

Fantasy Dimension is a completely free game, playable in-browser. If you like what you’ve seen so far, you can give it a go right here and right now.

Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

Greetings backers, would-be backers, and silent gawkers!

News out of the crowdfunding dimension is unusually good this week: since we last visited, CivCraft: Legends of Ellaria, Exoplanet: First Contact, Overfall, Pauldron: Shield of the King, and Trial By Viking have all succeeded; none have failed!

Will this trend continue? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh…probably not. There are a lot of projects that look like they’re going to succeed, but as we’ll see, a 100% success rate probably isn’t in the cards:


Jotun release date announced

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Bruno Tiburcio writes in to announce that Jotun, the Norse mythological Zelda-alike we last covered here, is getting released in just over a week.

The finished game will be dropping on Steam on September 29, 2015 at a $14.99 price point.

As a bit of a bonus, the developers have also included a trailer teasing one of the game’s bosses, the fire jotun. Enjoy:

Voidspire Tactics announced

Voidspire Tactics
Sean Hayden writes in to announce Voidspire Tactics, a turn-based tactical RPG from one-man indie studio Rad Codex. Hayden has labored on Voidspire Tactics for the past 2 years; he describes the game as an indie tactics RPG with a focus on exploration, party creation and character development.

The premise:

Just after stepping off the boat from a long voyage, the player is mistakenly abducted – along with the entire dock of Solport – into the Spire, a towering fortress comprised of chunks from other realms. Now they must fight to survive and discover the secret of the Spire.

Here’s a trailer:

Planned features include:

  • Open-ended exploration – traverse a nonlinear world full of secrets
  • Refined tactical combat fit for beginners and veterans alike – easy to learn, hard to master
  • Destructible terrain and elemental interactions – flood the battlefield, then shock everyone with lightning!
  • Abilities are good for more than just combat – freeze a river to cross it, or grow seeds into vines to scale mountains!
  • Choose from 4 playable races, unlock up to 17 classes, learn & upgrade 100+ abilities, and equip your choice of 50+ passive abilities
  • Atypical fantasy setting – not one elf, orc or goblin in sight!

The graphics may look a wee bit rough, but VT’s feature set sounds quite appealing–I find myself looking forward to checking this one out.

Voidspire Tactics is being developed for Windows, and that’s actually mostly done; according to Hayden, the game should be out in the next month or so at a price yet to be determined.

New release: Skyshine’s Bedlam

Skyshines Bedlam
Word reaches me that Skyshine’s Bedlam (previously known merely as Bedlam) has now been released into the world! Developed by 3-person studio Skyshine, Skyshine’s Bedlam is a squad-based roguelike set in the post-apocalypse.

The narrative premise:

As the technological marvel of Bysantine falls victim to overcrowding, class distinction, corporate conflict and organized crime, there comes word of a hopeful place beyond Bedlam, somehow unblemished by the Barren Age: a distant utopia called Aztec City!

You are the mysterious Mechanic, last of a once-thriving guild of intrepid explorers dedicated to charting the blasted wastes in their Dozers — massive metal titans specifically designed to traverse the hellscape. With the reconstructed Dozer called Boneshaker, it is now possible for people to travel from Bysantine… through the savage lands of Bedlam toward a new future!

This game looks a bit like what I would expect if Mad Max: Fury Road and Wasteland 2 got married, then produced a child by way of The Banner Saga. “The Banner Saga?” you ask. Yeah–this game actually uses The Banner Saga’s engine, and as you can see below, they’ve mostly stuck to the whole 2D rotoscoped animation paradigm (at least for the combat):

Speaking of combat: combat in Bedlam is chess-like, in the sense that it is both turn-based and lacking a set turn order–you and your opponent trade off making moves, but any unit can move at any time.

The game is a roguelike, so you can expect a procedurally generated world, random encounters, and (of course) permadeath. There are four enemy factions to contend with in the game world: marauders, cyborgs, mutants, and AI. (If this page is to be believed, it is possible to make allies of some of these groups, or at least individuals who come from them.)

You can snag Skyshine’s Bedlam on Steam (and seemingly nowhere else) for $19.99; Windows only.

New release: UnderTale

Word has it that surreal jRPG UnderTale (previously covered here) has now been released. Created by solo developer Toby Fox, UnderTale is a bit of an odd bird, with loads of minigames governing various mechanics and the ability to eschew combat entirely, instead making friends with your enemies.

The narrative premise is pretty short:

In this RPG, you control a human who falls underground into the world of monsters. Now you must find your way out… or stay trapped forever.

The release trailer, however, is decidedly more informative:

According to the developer, UnderTale includes the following features:

  • Killing is unnecessary: negotiate out of danger using the unique battle system.
  • Time your attacks for extra damage, then dodge enemy attacks in a style reminiscent of top-down shooters.
  • Original art and soundtrack brimming with personality.
  • Soulful, character-rich story with an emphasis on humor.
  • Created mostly by one person.
  • Become friends with all of the bosses!
  • At least 5 dogs.
  • You can date a skeleton.

You can get UnderTale for $9.99 direct from the developer or on Steam; Windows and Mac. There’s also a free demo available if you want to try it out before purchasing.

Overfall announced

Ibrahim Yildirim writes in to announce Overfall, an RPG with turn-based, hex-based combat and ocean-going exploration of a procedurally generated overworld. In development by Turkish indie studio Pera Games, Overfall takes place in the vast ocean world of Dys.

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of plot premise as of yet, but this comes close:

You will lead two heroes on a journey across the high seas in search of their lost king. You will encounter people of all breeds and all creeds; ally with them or crush them without mercy. You will face many dangers; survive them and you may unlock new characters, weapons and skills. In a world where death is permanent, you must return to the beginning and make a fresh start. The heroes you choose, the weapons you unlock and a world that is randomized mean that no two adventures will ever be the same.

Overfall is planned to contain roguelike elements, such as character permadeath and the aforementioned procedural world generation, as well as story encounters where your choices determine the outcome.

Now, about that “two heroes” bit: the developers tell me that you’ll start off with just those two characters, and while you will be able to recruit up to 36 people to fight for you, your party size in any given battle will be capped at 4 characters.

Here’s a gameplay trailer showing off the game’s cutesie, Hero Academy-ish graphic style:

Per the developers, Overfall is planned to feature all of the following:

* A huge, dynamic world to explore, ruled by a number of races in constant conflict – it’s up to you to help or betray them
* Challenging and addictive turn-based combat – careful strategy and cunning skill combinations are the key to victory against your foes!
* Permanent hero death, procedural world generation, and high replay inspired by classic roguelikes
* Interactive story encounters where the choices you make and the allies you recruit ensure no two journeys are quite the same
* Unlock new classes, weapons, trinkets and skills as you progress in the game
* Beautiful hand-drawn art of of 9 player characters, 36 combat companions, 80+ enemies, 80+ NPCs, and 100+ locations.
Note that while Overfall remains on Kickstarter, the developers have assured me that it will be released whether the campaign succeeds or not–the money is going towards more content and greater polish.
The game’s initial release is planned for December 2015 for Windows, Mac and Linux, to be followed by ports to tablets, PS4, and Xbox One.

The Age of Decadence release date announced

Iron Tower Studio has just announced a final release date for the long-awaited indie wRPG The Age of Decadence: October 14, 2015.

AoD Tweet

If you’d like to know more about the game, you should have a look at our Checks Out episode from last November.

Per the developers, The Age of Decadence will released on Steam, GOG, and Gamers Gate.

CivCraft: Legends of Ellaria announced

You may recall our prior coverage of CivCraft: Legends of Ellaria in Back to Back; now that it’s far surpassed its funding goal, this seems a good time to give CivCraft a proper announcement.

Arik Helman of developer Larkon Studio writes that CivCraft is a hybrid RTS / open-world action RPG; which is to say, you’re a sovereign in charge of building cities, raising armies, and fighting battles on behalf of your country, but you can always slip off and experience your country on foot as an adventurer.

The plot premise:

You are the king of a clan, that once belonged to a powerful empire… An old clan, who came from the decaying world of Marra in search for RiftStone, a special resource that is the base of all magic. For centuries, kingdoms on Marra have waged endless wars with each other for the rare and precious RiftStone. Ironically, the wars for that ultimate power have left the once glorious world of Marra as nothing but an empty, barren land. With the last RiftStone available and the finest wizards and researchers in Marra, you are determined to build a portal and travel through the rift to the source of the RiftStone, a world that is in the center of other worlds rift, a world which has more magical and rich resources that you could imagine: Ellaria.

Now, while you are a king and thus technically in charge of a whole country, you can choose to be a Bad King and run off on larks while off-loading your royal duties to a long-suffering adviser like a less sex-crazed version of Robert Baratheon. The developers state that your royal adviser will manage and expand your kingdom on your behalf while you run around going on quests, killing monsters and haphazardly looting–good to know.

I’m just going to quote the developers here:

Ellaria spans for over 450 square Km, containing many locations, houses and ancient dungeons. Each one – existing or built by you – has a complete interior, as well as items you can take and crafting areas you can use.
Your kingdom and its citizens are not just mindless workers. Each citizen in your kingdom has a name and a character. Your citizen will react to you, join you, give you quests and are a part of your story.

Pretty crazy! The developers have provided a lengthy (though clearly heavily edited) video showing the game in its current, pre-alpha state:

It’s all pretty absurdly ambitious–this should be interesting to watch, at a minimum.

CivCraft is still live on Kickstarter for a short period, where the “get the game” tier is $20. It will be getting a Windows / Mac Steam Early Access release in a few months (note that the game is reportedly 3 years into development already), with console ports to follow whenever CivCraft gets its final release.