Latest Publications

New release: Boot Hill Heroes Part One

Boot Hill HeroesIt has come to my attention that the spaghetti Western-themed jRPG Boot Hill Heroes (which we previously covered here) was released by developer Experimental Gamer a couple of months ago.

The narrative premise:

After an alleged attack by the Chepakwik Indians, the people of Bronco County are on the brink of war. Only a farm boy who knows the truth can stop it. Together with his three friends – a gunslinging desperado, an Indian princess, and a calamity jane – he must expose a conspiracy by bringing to justice the six outlaws of the notorious Saints-Little gang.

Their journey will take them through cowtowns, Indian villages, ranches, gold mines, prisons, and into the very heart and soul of the American Wild West. But on their epic adventure to right the wrongs of the past, will they see justice done or discover an even darker secret lying in wait behind the scenes?

As the narrative summary indicates, Boot Hill Heroes depicts a charming, cartoonish version of the American Wild West, complete with OK Corral style shoot-outs. The game’s graphic style reminds me of Earthbound, and it’s hard to imagine that that was anything other than a conscious decision on the developers’ parts. Boot Hill Heroes employs a particularly brisk active-time battle system with action points and support for 4-player cooperative play. You can see all of this in action in the trailer below:

You may notice that this release of Boot Hill Heroes is designated “Part One”–the developers explain that this is a full game of 12 hours length, not just an episode, and that it will be followed up by two sequels in the next year or so. (Part Two is planned for release this fall.) You can pick up Boot Hill Heroes Part One direct from the developer for $7.49; for now, it appears to be out on Windows only.

You can help Boot Hill Heroes Part One get onto Steam via the developers’ Greenlight page. For my part, I’ll be posting an Checks Out episode on this one shortly!


New release: Battleheart Legacy

Battleheart LegacyJohn writes in to inform me of the recent release of Battleheart Legacy, Mika Mobile‘s follow-up to 2011′s Battleheart.

If there’s a narrative premise to speak of, the devs aren’t talking. Instead, we have this:

The spirit of Battleheart returns, re-imagined! In Battleheart Legacy, you will explore a rich and detailed fantasy world, customize your unique hero with dozens of powerful skills and items, do battle with hordes of enemies, encounter quirky characters and discover the stories of a troubled realm. Will you become a powerful wizard, or a notorious rogue? A noble knight, or a savage barbarian? How will you forge your legacy?

Gone are the quirky 2D vector graphics of Battleheart, replaced with stylized isometric 3D. Gone is the real-time party-based combat system, replaced by direct control over a single character. To make up for the simplified combat, the game adds in some RPG elements missing from the original, such as open world exploration, branching dialog and quests. You can see the result in the game’s release trailer:

The devs state that the game features 150+ unique skills, 200 distinct pieces of equipment, 12 character classes, and a multi-classing system that lets you mix and match classes to customize your character.

Battleheart: Legacy appears to be an iOS exclusive; you can snag it from the Apple App Store for $4.99.

Data Hacker: Reboot announced

Behecog PostcardRoss Tunney writes in to announce that New Reality Games has begun development on Data Hacker: Reboot, a jRPG sequel to Data Hacker: Initiation and Data Hacker: Corruption (both mentioned in prior Back to Back articles). As with the rest of the games in the series, the setting of Data Hacker: Reboot is a sort of a Matrix-meets-the-multiverse thing, where everything occurs across distinct virtual realities powered by computers.

The devs describe the narrative premise as follows:

There exist countless virtual realms beyond our current understanding or reach; blurring the lines between the real and the virtual. The Cava are coming. Darkness incarnate; they are the pre-cursor to what is left of reality blinking out of existence once more. There is a hidden force behind them; a barely comprehensible foe. How does one defeat an entity whose being resides across multiple dimensions?

The following features are planned for inclusion in the finished game:

  • A classic side-view Turn-based combat system
  • Bond with Familiars for unique skills and attributes
  • Over 70 classes to unlock
  • Switching classes allows you to retain all learned skills
  • Hack both monsters and people for unpredictable results
  • Professional Voice-Acting
  • Optional dungeons, bosses and quests
  • Trioarch; the addictive trading card game, featuring over 100 cards
  • Town Building! Manage the ‘refugee’ town; including immigration, protection, resource distribution…
  • Player investment- your save file continues from one act to the next

Data Hacker: Reboot is currently on Kickstarter. Both of its precursors were successfully funded, and it seems that this one is on course to get funding as well (though I am assured that they’ll simply try again if the campaign fails). You can go pitch in right here if this title strikes your fancy.

DH:R is tentatively planned for release in January 2015; Windows only.

Back to Back: indie RPGs to check out

Hello, gentle readers! The time has come to once again take a look at the world of indie RPG crowdfunding.

Of the games whose campaigns have ended since we covered them last time, Bob’s Game, Chronicles of the Rift, Heart Forth Alicia, and Popup Dungeon all hit their funding goals. Courier and Forward to the Sky were not so lucky.

So what’s new on the funding horizon?


New release: Legions of Ashworld

legions_of_ashworld_BEver heard of Legions of Ashworld? No? It’s cool–up until just now, I hadn’t either! I just happened to stumble onto this one by sheer chance. Developed by “Jugilus,” LoA combines first-person exploration of the Might and Magic variety with large-scale strategic battles.

The narrative premise:

The game is set in a ancient fantasy world of kings, wizards and fearsome creatures. When a powerful empire invades the lands governed by humans all the realms are plunged into a great conflict. It is the player’s task to organise the opposition to the invading forces, uniting the kingdoms into an alliance and ultimately in taking the war back to the invaders.

As the various characters encountered across Ashworld are recruited to the player’s cause, the player can then move them around the lands, having them performing a variety of activities, such as hiring mercenaries, buying goods and provisions, and attacking hostile forces. The lands of Ashworld contain many places of interest – especially noteworthy are various temples, from those occupied by servants of wizards’ orders which provide magic services, to ancient abandoned ruins where valuable magic items can be found. Outside the territories where humans reside other races live who may become important allies if persuaded to join the war.

Among the game’s features:

- an open-world environment where exploration supplements strategic planning and tactical decisions
- easy management of resources
- hand drawn graphics in the style of classic, golden age, illustration
- designed to cater for custom scenarios/modding

I particularly like the golden age illustration style–it’s very classy. And hey, what do you know: there’s a trailer!

Legions of Ashworld is now out on Windows and Mac. You can snag it direct from the developer for €9.99 (approximately $13.62 as of today). Checks Out Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf

Riva Celso, the man behind the proverbial curtain at Winter Wolves Games,was good enough to provide me with a beta build of his upcoming jRPG Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf (last covered here). The results, as per usual, are documented in video form below:

So! What did I think?


Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf announced

Seasons of the WolfWinter Wolves Games, prolific creator of such titles as Planet Stronghold and Loren the Amazon Princess, has announced a new jRPG called Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf.

The premise:

In this role-playing game, set in the same fantasy world as the award-winning Loren the Amazon princess, you’ll play as Shea or Althea, twins from the far-away village Ninim. In just the course of one year, you will experience many storylines and sidequests; situations and events where your own choices influence the very end of the game.

The twins’ tale starts on a day like many others, when one of the siblings finds a young wolf and decides to take it with him/her. Thus begins the long journey which will take the siblings from the ice-shrouded Ninim to the desert-wrapped city of Dingirra to the storm-shrouded port of Shacklesplit. Explore the-corruption riddled halls of Dingirra, and contest with the crimelords who claim it as their own domain. Sail the high seas, battle mighty pirates, and discover their hidden treasures!

The feature list:

  • Fantasy RPG set in the world of Aravorn, like Loren The Amazon Princess
  • Play as male (Shea) or female (Althea)
  • Four characters to romance: Krimm, Riley, Jariel or Chalassa
  • 8 unique party members each one with different skills
  • Advanced isometric tileset maps for a bigger world to explore

Riva Celso, the main guy behind Winter Wolves Games, has created a video showing off various aspects of the game:

Every Winter Wolves title I’ve seen is for Windows, Mac and Linux, and this one is no exception. Celso has estimated that Seasons of the Wolf will most likely be finished and released some time in the next 3-4 months (though it may take a few more months than that). While we wait, I think I’ll be giving the beta version a look to see what I can see! You can currently pick up the beta version for $24.99 direct from the official page. Checks Out Deity Quest

So! Deity Quest. I’ve posted about it a couple of times now, and with the developers generously forwarding me a copy of the game, I figured it was high time I tried it out for myself. The results follow:

So, what’d I think?


Aeon of Sands announced

Aeon of Sands The TrailWord reaches me that there’s a new first-person dungeon delver in development by Two Bits Kid (a two-person team consisting of Marco Pedrana and Florian Fischer). The game is Aeon of Sands, and its first chapter is called “The Trail.”

The premise:

“The Trail” is the first chapter of the Aeon series, in which you follow a young city clerk on his adventures in a world under two suns, between the life they nurture and the ruin they bring. The clerk Setrani is unwillingly sent on a critical mission, searching for a missing diplomatic caravan in the most dangerous territory. Will he track it down in time to save his precious dome city and its sacred tree, or will this prideful outpost of humanity be claimed by the sands, and by what lurks in the desert’s hot dark heart?

The developers state that Aeon of Sands will be real-time and story-driven, with unique (presumably branching) role-playing choices. The devs compare the overall experience to something like Eye of the Beholder or Dungeon Master.

AoS is planned to have hand-painted visuals, more than 20 dungeons, more than 30 monsters and bosses, more than 300 item types, and “more than 150 illustrated scenes for plot nodes.” You can see what they’re going for graphically in the screenshots below.

Aeon of Sands is planned for release early next year for Windows, Mac and Linux. Checks Out Secrets of Grindea

Some of my more veteran readers may remember me posting about a very exciting-looking cooperative aRPG with some strong visual influences from The Secret of Mana. That was some three years ago, about a game is called Secrets of Grindea. Recently, SoG developers Pixel Ferrets reached out to me with a beta build of the game. After I finished shrieking in delight and frightening all animals within a three-block radius, I immediately decided that I must play it and record the results. My first impressions follow:

So! What’d I think?