Latest Publications

New release: Bludgeons & Krakens

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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

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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 itch.io. 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
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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

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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

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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, itch.io, and Humble Store; Windows only.

Ebony Spire: Heresy announced, in paid beta

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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 itch.io for a suggested price of $1.00 (you can pay what you want). Windows and Linux.

New release: The Lost Kingdoms

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Konstantinos “Savatar” Kantas writes in to announce the recent release of The Lost Kingdoms, a mobile RPG. Kantas states that this is his first game and it has some weaknesses, but it’s free and it’s short (a few hours in length).

The premise:

At the game you play as an unknown character that woke up inside a dark prison with no memory. Player must escape and try to recover back the his memory and find out who and why imprisoned him.

There you have it. The feature list:

* Retro pixel art graphics and aesthetic with tile based movement and exploration.

* A time phased combat system that requires fast thinking at real time.

* Increase your strengths by learning and upgrading 12 different skills and by discovering powerful equipment and useful consumables.

* Live and read the progress of your story through the Journal Entries at four chapters.

The Lost Kingdoms is entirely free with no IAP or ads. You can snag it for Android on Google Play, or if you prefer, download the .apk file directly from itch.io.

New release: Void Pyramid

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A. Hagen, developer of Ramble Planet (previously covered here), writes in to announce the release of a new post-apocalyptic, sci-fi Egyptian dungeon crawler set in “the spacefaring Egyptian empire”. The name: Void Pyramid.

In case that little summary didn’t blow your mind enough, here’s the narrative premise:

In the far future, the maniacal Prime Pharaoh rules the wastelands of Earth. Any who oppose him are exiled to the Void Pyramid. This outer space prison is populated bycriminals, beasts, and mutants. No one has ever escaped, but you must try…

Void Pyramid apparently took 2 years to develop in collaboration with one artist and one musician. Genre-wise, it looks a lot like a throwback wRPG; like something from the late 1980s or early 1990s. Despite the resurgence of the wRPG over the past few years, you still don’t see games in this particular mold much anymore:

Here’s the feature list:

*Choose to be a soldier, slave, or scribe. Overcome challenges with your unique skills.

*Explore the intricately designed pyramid. Each chamber is packed with foes, puzzles, traps, treasures, and other interesting stuff.

*Develop your character however you want with an unusual but intuitive advancement system.

*Use your brawn, wits, and agility stats to kick down doors, bend bars, hack computers, haggle with merchants, dodge traps, scale walls, and more.

*Find numerous solutions to every problem. Explore multiple paths through the pyramid. Experience alternate endings. Fight optional bosses. Discover hidden treasures.

*Experience a unique vision of the future. In the spacefaring future, the Egyptian empire has risen again. The Prime Pharaoh’s mutant armies oppress mankind…

Void Pyramid is entirely free. You can download it for Windows or Mac direct from the developer, for Android from Google Play, or for OUYA right here.

New release: YOU… and who else?

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We truly are living in The Age of the Strategy RPG, folks! Aldorlea Games reaches out to announce that they recently released their first-ever sRPG, YOU… and who else?

The premise:

Compose a party of 9 Generals (among a total of 20) and conquer the mysterious locations around you to achieve the ultimate goal of restoring peace in a world at the brink of collapsing. Face (and defeat) legendary creatures such as Ogre, Cerberuses, Gargoyles and Lamias as your power grows and your army gets bigger.

Will you be remembered as the Hero (or Heroine) who saved the world, or miserably failed trying to do so?

I am deeply curious to know how this thing actually plays–there’s no trailer, unfortunately, and the actual website is pretty light on details regarding the game’s mechanics, but the screenshots lead me to believe that YOU… and who else? is a cousin to Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner, with battles resolved in jRPG fashion. Luckily, there is a free demo available, so you don’t have to rely on my guesswork!

In the meantime, here is the official feature list:

* Unique blend of Strategy and RPG
* 20 Hours of Addictive Gameplay
* Play up to 82 characters
* Mouse control
* Auto-saving
* 4 modes of difficulty
* Tons of Relics and Artifacts to discover
* Great-looking enemies, beautiful environments and charming music
* 144-page strategy guide available

You can get YOU… and who else? for $12.99 direct from the developer. Windows only.

New release: Knights of Aira

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Word reaches me that there’s a new strategy RPG on the scene entitled Knights of Aira.

Developed by “mirkwoodfalcon,” Knights of Aira comes with two distinct campaigns, each with its own narrative premise: The Company of Sir Oswell, and Grushnak’s Goblins.

The Company of Sir Oswell: Discover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly-peaceful world of Aira. Befriend humans and beasts alike on your quest to save the world from impending doom!

Grushnak’s Goblins: Join the goblin warlord Grushnak on a lighthearted quest to raze a village to the ground. Along the way, you’ll meet talking trees, pit beasts, angry mobs, and crazy old ladies.

Between the two campaigns, there seem to be 21 scenarios available in total. As for how it actually looks and plays, this trailer should hopefully shed some light on things:

The list of features:

  • Strategic combat
  • Challenging mechanics reward thoughtful playing and punish rash decisions
  • A compelling story line with memorable characters and epic combat
  • Includes two full campaigns: The Company of Sir Oswell and Grushnakh’s Goblins!
  • Beautiful retro pixel graphics by Oryx Design Lab

You can snag Knights of Aira on itch.io for Windows for a suggested $2.99 (it’s distributed using a “name your own price” system). It’s also available for Android on Google Play free of charge, albeit with in-app-purchases.