Latest Publications

Elysis demo released

Word has it that indie Zelda-alike Elysis (previously known as “Spooky Quest”) has an updated demo.

As you may recall, Elysis is a Zelda-alike with lots of dungeons, highly frenetic combat, and a combinatorial weapons system that lets you modify your armaments.

The new Elysis demo reportedly features:

2.7 dungeons with puzzles and treasures.
2 Boss fights.
20+ Weapons / Usable items
30+ Addons
20+ Monsters
Customizable controls

You can nab the demo for free, although developer Fervir gives you the option to donate him some money in the process. Checks Out Lords of Xulima

I had the pleasure of being offered a copy of the Lords of Xulima beta a week or two ago–and so, of course, I took it upon myself to give it a go, recording video all the way. The results:

So, what’d I think?


Jotun announced

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Will Dube writes in to announce Jotun, a Norse mythological Zelda-alike in development by Montreal indie studio Thunder Lotus Games.

The premise:

In Jotun, you play Thora, a Norse warrior who has died an inglorious death and must face the challenges of Viking purgatory to prove herself to the Gods and enter Valhalla.

Simple enough. The developers have stated that Jotun will focus on alternating between exploration and combat against huge foes in a structure reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. As they put it: “Jotun‘s core loop revolves around collecting Runes to summon and fight the jotun, gigantic Norse elementals.” The jotun boss fights are 2D and top-down, though, so perhaps Zelda is the better analog here.

Jotun’s character progression scheme sounds somewhat reminiscent of Zelda as well, with the player gaining new powers as they reach specific locations in the world:

Our progression system is all based on Shrines to the Norse Gods. These Shrines are scattered throughout the world and each one represents a specific God. Each God gives a specific buff to the character.
Although it is clearly quite early in development, that hasn’t stopped the developers from releasing an early teaser trailer showing off Jotun’s art and animation style:
Jotun is being developed for Windows and Mac. Now that its Kickstarter has met its funding goal, the developers estimate that Jotun will be released sometime around September 2015 for Windows and Mac.

Dex hits paid beta, on Early Access

You may recall our past coverage of side-scrolling cyberpunk action RPG Dex. Well, developer Dreadlocks Ltd. has written in to announce that Dex is now available as part of Steam Early Access; you can purchase access to the game for $15.99 right here.

There’s even a new early access trailer for the game, in case you want to see what state it’s in before throwing money at it:

The current early access build is for Windows and Mac only; final release is planned for late 2014 / early 2015 for Windows, Mac, Linux, OUYA and WiiU.

Caravaneer 2 gets free open beta

Caravaneer 2
Word reaches me that Carvaneer 2, an open-world party-based post-apocalyptic wRPG with some really detailed economic simulation (announced here in late 2012) has hit open beta.

For those who’ve been following this site for a while, you may recall that the original Caravaneer was my second-ever review. I still think very fondly of that game, and I’m genuinely looking forward to trying out the sequel.

The beta is free to play in-browser over at the developer’s website. Did I mention that it costs nothing?

Swords of Anima announced

Swords of Anima
It has been brought to my attention that there is a new 3D indie strategy RPG in development for mobile devices by indie devs 4Hands Games. The game: Swords of Anima.

The official narrative summary for Swords of Anima could do with a little editing from a native English-speaker, but I think it gets the point across:

In the Old Night times, Maelstorm was born. Its voracious magic expanded all over the world, bringing war and darkness. Althought the nations returns to peace, a terrible evil grows stronger. Whole populations perish at night leaving a dead trace in the morning. This has become to been known as the Curse of the Eclipse.

Guide Dolian and Laocorn, Captain of the XII Squad, in a journey to unmask the true enemy of the Empire as they find new allies to join their ranks. From Adastrea to the Islands of Fog, you will face relentless pirate Berserkers, spooky Custodians from Khoda and the savage Gerspent battlemaidens.

In presentation, this game reminds me quite a bit of the Gamecube classic Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, albeit with battle cutscenes turned off and somewhat more rigid character animations:

Planned features include:

- 8 playable classes and more than 30 unique characters.
– Deep combat system: skills, auras, magic, battle stances…
– Optional challenges to unlock secrets.
– Upgrade your weapons and armors in the Forge.
– A compelling story.
– No in-app purchases.

Swords of Anima is planned for initial release on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in September of this year, with an Android release to follow.

New release: Deja Vu Chronicles

Deja Vu Chronicles
Billed as “an epic adventure in reverse,” Deja Vu Chronicles is a short jRPG (approximately one hour in length), created in RPG Maker by a small team under the name “NebelSoft.”

The narrative premise:

The four adventurous heroines Miruka, Hanako, Edelweiss and Aquamarin came a long way. They fought their way up to lv 99 and finally stand before the world’s worst nightmare, the “evil warlock”, who’s evil plans contain nothing but malice! But, can they stop him? Can they stop the evil warlock from summoning the bringer of apocalypse, Pyramid Golem, in time? And will their adventure really be crowned with victory over him? Or, will this pinpoint only the beginning of a whole different kind of journey… a challenge of courage and friendship throughout mysterious time-leaps.

The game is free to download; Windows only. You can nab it here.

Elysian Shadows announced


Elysian Shadows
Connor Linning writes in to announce Elysian Shadows, an action RPG being developed by a group calling themselves simply “Team ES.”

The premise:

Elysian Shadows takes place in a world caught in constant conflict between magic and technology. The gift of magic is bestowed upon loyal followers of The Creator, while the nonreligious sects of society are forced to rely upon technological advances in their daily lives. Upon uncovering a mysterious artifact deep within one of the ancient ruins scattered throughout the land, Julien and friends find themselves thrust into the middle of this mounting conflict, and they must now solve the mystery of the ancient civilizations to prevent the destruction of their own.

The main selling point of Elysian Shadows seems to be the technology powering the game, which employs real-time dynamic lighting and shadows, with a sort of normal mapping on the game’s sprites a la Legend of Dungeon. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the game turns into something like a 3D pop-up version of itself whenever the player ventures indoors.

Combat is real-time, and looks somewhat reminiscent of Crystalis to my eyes (minus the “charging up the sword” mechanic). You can see this for yourself in this early trailer:

You may remember that we discussed Elysian Shadows in our last Back to Back; it remains on Kickstarter, where it is more than halfway funded with 23 days remaining. (The devs assure me that development will continue whether or not it hits its funding goal.)

Elysian Shadows is planned for release on Windows, Mac and Linux, with Watermelon Co. (creators of Pier Solar) publishing a physical release for the Sega Dreamcast.

That Which Sleeps announced

That Which Sleeps
Joseph Vivolo of Boston indie studio King Dinosaur Games has written in to announce the development of That Which Sleeps, a turn-based fantasy strategy game in which you play an ancient evil plotting to take over the world.

The premise:

[T]he player takes on the role of an awakened evil from the world’s past and must manipulate a living, reactive world from the shadows using a variety of corrupted agents as well as what armies he can muster to his cause. Players must balance an aggressive approach utilizing his considerable powers with the need for secrecy – heroes are constantly examining clues left behind by the actions of the player and eagerly hunting the player’s agents.

The main game takes place on the world map, where you can dispatch agents to villages, cities, ruins, and other places of interest to complete a variety of dynamically generated challenges. Certain agents will be better suited to certain challenges, affecting how many turns it takes for them to successfully complete the task. In the meantime, your agents and their minions may be attacked by meddling parties of heroes.

Combat occurs in the style of a Final Fantasy boss battle, except that you control the boss: “the Agent leverages and often sacrifices his minions to distract or overwhelm key members of the adventuring party while he himself utilizes his unique powers to overcome the heroes, and, as may often be the case, escape. Early combat will seldom lead to outright death, but every time a Hero loses a certain amount of health he will gain an injury, and if his willpower lowers he may gain a neurosis – both of which can be much more useful for you than a corpse.”

Damage is high on both sides, making fights quick and deadly. The developers state that the venue of a fight matters as well:

Fighting in a city may draw out guards, guildmates, or cabal mages depending on what features exist in the city. Who they fight for is up in the air, if you are “welcome at court” in the nation then they will side with you against the pesky adventurers, but if you are wanted, or a Champion of the nation is on their side, they will battle against you.  Battle locations can also have traits, if you were discovered while skulking about in the catacombs the battle will be “Cramped” – and heroes won’t be able to attack you if you have a living minion, but also a single hero can guard his entire team.  Fight in the swamps and the heroes may find themselves poisoned, in a Holy City you may find your “Imbued” powers significantly weakened.

The game seems to be still be fairly early in development, as there isn’t any video footage or screenshots of combat yet, but the developers have compensated by providing a really lengthy, detailed description of the game’s mechanics. All in all, it seems like you will have a few approaches available to you: brute force, subterfuge, a sort of insidious diplomacy, and various paths in-between. I’ll be copy-pasting the full description below the break.


Back to Back: Indie RPGs to fund

It has been less than a week since our last Back to Back, but so many new campaigns started right after that last post that I feel I would be remiss not to update you all!

Every game that was in the last edition is still seeking funding except for Legena, which sadly fell short of its goal. Here’s the current roster of games, old and new: