Latest Publications

Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

Welcome back to Back to Back, would-be backers!

Looking back at the campaigns that ended since our last Back to Back, only You Are a Dark God: Desolation Road was adequately backed, while Fantasy Dimension, Mooncrest, The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Groves, Wind and Tide, and World Cubed were sent back to the drawing board.

But hark–what now hacks its way through the undergrowth in search of visibility and the life-giving, monetary essence of crowdfunding?


New release: A Timely Intervention

A Timely Intervention
Word reaches me that Aldorlea Games has recently released a follow-up to their popular RPG Maker jRPG The Tale of a Common Man (previously covered here). The name? A Timely Intervention.

Here’s the narrative premise:

“Those who control the present, control the past. And those who control the past control the future.”
That’s what they say, anyway, but maybe they are wrong. Who knows?
If you were able to go back in time and take the risk of changing everything you know, would you do it?

For the first part of the game, play as 2 separate parties, as the story goes back and forth between them. Each party has its own hopes and goals; when they meet can those be reconciled as they join forces? And how can they know what their choices will bring? Delve into a brand new world full of characters, secrets and possibilities.

A Timely Intervention features redundant mouse and keyboard controls, customizable enemy visibility, customizable encounter rate, and customizable difficulty. In addition, the developers list the following features:

  • 10 characters
  • Five characters in the active party to add strategic depth
  • Many skills level up with use – how strong they are depends on you
  • 8-direction movement with mouse or keyboard
  • 17 side quests
  • 30 secret rooms to discover
  • 30+ hours of addictive gameplay


You can buy A Timely Intervention for $19.99 direct from the developer here. Windows only.

New release: Star-Box

Michael Flynn writes in to announce Star-Box, which sounds like “Star Fox” but is actually a sandbox RPG set in space (see what they did there?) Star-Box was developed by FlynnFour Games, the developer behind Fortune’s Tavern.

The premise:

Fly around an infinite universe exploring alien worlds, abandoned cities, overrun space-stations, derelict ships, and parallel dimensions with little more than your trusty laser and inept, mechanical bodyguards. Collect and equip hundreds of items, weapons, and armours to help you on your journey. Get swept along in the politics of the year 4135 and lead a rebellion against a corrupt government and powerful corporations. Fight and capture 19 enemy vessels in tactical, bridge-based combat, and hire crew members to boost your fighting skills. Fall foul of strange spatial anomalies, giant space-fish, and human-hating AI programs through dynamic events that can strike at any time. Chose to work for Oberon Bounties and hunt down the scum and villains of the universe, for the Collector’s Guild, Earth Military, or for the mysterious Cicero recently awoken from a 2000 year cryo-nap. And if you fancy a challenge: play the game in ‘Ironman Mode’ where you only get a single chance at making it big.

According to the Flynn, the game features both real-time away missions and ship-to-ship combat:

At its core is an ARPG where the player explores procedurally generated worlds, space stations, and derelict ships full of aliens, pirates, and human hating AIs; either in the infinitely generated ‘random space’ or on quests for one of five factions. The second part of the game revolves around space-flight and bridge-to-bridge space-combat where players, and their crew, battle other vessels in order to destroy or capture them for themselves.

The game reportedly features 19 different ships, hundreds of items, crew hiring, boarding of enemy vessels, and mechs you can deploy against your enemies.

Star-Box is $9.99. You can get it on Steam; Windows only.

New release: Blacksword Chronicles

Blacksword Chronicles
Dave Yen writes in to announce Blacksword Chronicles, a free RPG maker mini-jRPG developed and entered into Game Dev Fort’s recent Indie Game Maker Contest by the 3-person Watermark RPG team.

Blacksword Chronicles sports the following narrative premise:

Within the ruins of a fallen empire, in a room long forgotten by the world, a swordsman awakens remembering only the words:

“Jurdin Kylor must die.”

Thus begins the tale of a swordmaster’s pursuit of a shadowy nemesis across a dark continent ravaged by wars and evil. This is the first chapter of an epic set in a massive world of aurablades and mages, of elves and demons, of secret societies and ancient cults.

According to Yen, the game is short–only 2.5 hours long–but it also has the advantage of being free. You can download it here for Windows.

Forgotten Forces announced

Forgotten Forces
Tassilo Rau of German indie studio Bumblebee Games writes in the announce Forgotten Forces, a first-person dungeon delver they’re developing.

The premise:

Drive deep into the mysterious caverns discovered below, search for ancient artifacts, translate foreign inscriptions and solve tricky riddles to reach it’s depth and discover an ancient mystery.

Here’s a teaser trailer–as you can see, Forgotten Forces is going to be party-based, with real-time fights and cooldown timers somewhat reminiscent of Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder (though I don’t believe you’ll be maneuvering your party around the environments during a fight as you would in those games):

The developers note that you can create your own party of characters and recruit NPCs into your party. The game will feature spell-crafting and item crafting, a guild that provides quests, and NPC encounters with dialogue trees and multiple different outcomes. They state: “Expect at least 20 different creatures to battle, 30 floors to explore, 50 items to collect and ten hours to play.”

As the trailer suggests, Bumblebee are currently trying to get this one through Steam Greenlight; you can vote here if you’re inclined to give the game a push. Full release is planned for sometime in 2016.

New release: Celestian Tales: Old North

Celestian Tales Old North
Word has reached me that Ekuator Games has just released Celestian Tales: Old North. Previously covered here, Celestian Tales: Old North is a jRPG with a watercolor visual aesthetic and fraught moral quandaries against a backdrop of impending war.

The premise:

Embark on an expansive journey of discovery wrought with conflict and moral choices where players take on the role of one of the six playable characters and follow their personal point of view of the events as they unfold. At times character stories will overlap with other characters’ or converge with the main story arc, in which they experience events together.

One’s truth may not be another’s. Good deeds done by someone may be perceived by another as evil. Often we see only what we want to see and believe only in what we want to believe. Whose steps will you follow as you journey in the Old North? Through whose eyes will you experience the events that unfold?

Here’s the launch trailer, so you can get a load of the game’s lovely visual style:

As mentioned in our prior coverage, Celestian Tales is going to be released episodically–this is effectively the first episode of three. Developer Cipto Adiguno tells me that this one may conclude with a few loose ends left dangling for those latter episodes to wrap up.

Here’s the feature list:

  • Moral Confrontations – Situations are presented to the player throughout the game that tug at moral standings and beliefs.
  • Unique Story – Ditches tired rehashed RPG clichés for a story where players feel the weight of their character’s actions.
  • Multiple Story Arcs – 6 Selectable Characters allow you to play the game from 6 different perspectives. Play through the game as all 6 characters to get the entire experience.
  • Traditional RPG Gameplay – Inspired by classic JRPGs with a turn-based RPG battle system that allows players to develop a personal combat style.
  • Beautiful Art – Lush hand-painted background visuals and environments with detailed emotive hand drawn character portraits and animated pixel-art characters running around the game.
  • Epic Music – A sweeping score that truly captures the pace and emotion of the story as it unfolds.

You can pick up Celestian Tales: Old North for $12.99 on Steam, on GOG, and via the Humble Store (though there are currently launch discounts at some of those). Windows, Mac, and Linux.

(Note: Celestian Tales was funded on Kickstarter back in spring 2014; at the end of development, publisher Digital Tribes swooped in to handle marketing and distribution. I am assured that they did not fund development and had no power over the creative process, though they did offer the developers some feedback on game UI and such. I am choosing to count this as an indie edge case; you can read more about our standard for “indie” here.)


Exiled Kingdoms announced

Exiled Kingdoms
David Ballestrino writes in to announced Exiled Kingdoms, an isometric action RPG he’s developing for PC and mobile platforms.

The premise:

A hundred years ago, it is said that the Empire fell, destroyed by mysterious forces from another world. Only a small part of humanity could flee to the Imperial colony of Varannar, where they tamed the land and proclaimed the struggling and always conflicting Exiled Kingdoms. But… who really cares about a century ago? You are a hungry adventurer, with no time for fairytales about Empires or Dark Magic (that likely are just lies anyways). And for once, luck seems to be on your side, for you received a letter from New Garand, stating that you are the sole beneficiary of a big inheritance… you don’t remember having any relatives in the capital of the Kingdom of Varsilia, but certainly that won’t stop you from an opportunity like this! The road to New Garand will reveal many surprises, and may eventually teach you that fairytales and legends can become, in fact, very real.

Ballestrino describes the game as free-roaming, in that “you can travel, explore, quest, or craft, as you choose,” although there is also a proper storyline for you to follow.

You can get a sense of the directions this game is heading in from the alpha trailer:

Exiled Kingdoms is planned to include the following features:

– Isometric engine with pre-rendered 3D graphics, like some of the best classics of the RPG genre.
– Explore a large, dynamic world! the Exiled Kingdoms are tough lands, where war and chaos has become commonplace. Explore dozens of areas freely, including forests, mountains, towns, deserts, dungeons, libraries, castles, caves…
– Customize your character choosing between 4 classes, 25 skills, and hundreds of different items.
– A detailed setting: as you travel you’ll find lots of designed conversations, quests and challenges, but also randomly-generated encounters and quests. You’ll never run out of things to do!
– Companions: you play a single character, but you can have mercenaries or adventurers as followers, and later on, be joined by several specific companions, which you can equip and level up. They have their own storylines and conversations, which you can discover if you make the right choices.
– Faction system: increase your reputation with each of the Kingdoms, or even with each town. Join guilds, become a celebrated hero… or a wanted criminal!
– Crafting: build your own stuff! gather ingredients, and make unique, powerful items that can give you an edge.

Ballestrino writes that he is looking for testers; the game is currently only playable on Android, for which the game is planned for release in September 2015. He states that an iOS port will follow in October, with a Windows and Mac version planned for release sometime this winter.

Back to Back: Indie RPGS to fund

Oh dear. We seem to have hit a rough patch on the Sea of Crowdfunding, folks. Since we last peeked in, only two games have ended their campaigns successfully funded: Luckless Seven and R.O.T: Age of Arius. Unfortunately, this means that Cross Reverie: The Trial of Nightmare, The Island of Eternal Struggle, Legends of Fire & Steel, Treasures of Arcania, Undead Darlings: No Cure for Love, Vandal Swords, and Wolfsong all failed–and as we’ll see below, a few of their former compatriots are on track to join them.

Let’s look at what’s seeking funding now and see if we can find some bright spots.


Trudy’s Mechanicals announced

Trudy's MechanicalsLaura Marshall of Canadian indie studio Incubator Games writes in to announce a new sRPG in development. Called Trudy’s Mechanicals, the game takes place in a gritty steampunk setting filled with steam-powered mechanical creations and Slavic influences.

The developers have not done much to provide us with a narrative premise–this is all we’ve got for now:

The title pits a host of combat veterans, bespectacled scholars, and industrial labourers against the corrupt gentry in a full-scale guerrilla war.

Luckily, there’s also a teaser trailer with a bit more narrative information:

The developers note that characters in Trudy’s Mechanicals will not be class-based, instead possessing distinct abilities and personalities “akin to characters of fighting games or MOBAs.”

The game is also planned to feature interactive environments. To wit: “harvest fallen foes and allies to use as weaponry, destroy structures or extend bridges to create alternative paths, or hide inside armoured turrets for extra protection and firepower.”

Trudy’s Mechanicals is planned for Windows release in 2016. Checks Out Antharion

It took a bit longer than I wanted due to some technical hiccups, but I finally got a chance to sit down and play Antharion while recording the experience. You can see the first 40 minutes or so of the game riiiiight here, complete with commentary:

So! What’d I think?