Latest Publications

IndieRPGs.com Checks Out Heroes of a Broken Land

Andrew Ellem of Winged Pixel was kind enough to provide me with an alpha build of his interesting multi-party, turn-based strategy / first-person dungeon crawler, Heroes of a Broken Land (previously covered here).

As you can see, I quickly died, then had much more success after restarting:

The game is still early in development, but it’s clear to me that there is a ton of potential here. The sheer scope and ambition of the game is pretty remarkable. With an improved GUI, more varied content, a nicer graphical presentation on the overworld map, and some relatively simple improvements* to combat, I think this could turn out to be something very special indeed. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one as development continues.

* For my money, I would particularly like to see a “run” function, the ability to target individual enemies, and defensive benefits for sticking characters in the middle and back rows.

Legend of Dungeon offers paid beta access

Legend of Dungeon
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You’ve probably heard of Legend of Dungeon; it’s a 2D side-scrolling action RPG with procedurally generated levels and Streets of Rage-style brawler combat. The game supports 1-4 players playing cooperatively in a bid to reach the 26th floor of the dungeon and loot the treasures contained therein.

The brainchild of two-person team Robot Loves Kitty, Legend of Dungeon is probably known above all else for its unique combination of lo-fi 2D sprites and real-time normal mapped lighting effects to create a really neat graphical style. The trailer shows this off pretty well:

Alix Stolzer, one-half of the Robot Loves Kitty team, writes in to tell me that Legend of Dungeon has become available for pre-order on Steam. It costs $9.99; Windows, Mac and Linux. The game will launch in approximately one month; until then, pre-orderers are promised access to the game’s beta builds.

New release: Gurk III

Gurk III
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You may recall me posting about the mobile RPGs Gurk I and II last year; word has reached my ear that a third Gurk title has now been released.

Gurk III, by developer Larva Labs, is an RPG with some similarities to the old Ultima titles. Gurk III sports a retro 8-bit visual style (though admittedly, the color palettes look more 16-bit to my eye).

There doesn’t seem to be a narrative premise available anywhere, just this general description of the game’s features:

The third installment in the series is a bigger adventure than ever before, with loads of new monsters and items, many with unique effects and abilities. Character classes are better-differentiated and combat tactics are more subtle and interesting without sacrificing the hack’n’slash ethos that Gurk fans adore. The dedication to 8-bit culture remains fervent, with the complete 20-song soundtrack rendered with analog synth emulators that will evoke the classic sounds of the game systems of the 1980s.

This gameplay video should give you a sense of what you’re in for:

Personally, I rather like the combat music.

Gurk III is available for $1.99 on Google Play. In a first for the series, Gurk III is also available for iOS: you can snag it for $1.99 on iTunes. (Note: there is currently a bug which prevents the game from running on iPhone 4 / iPad 4, but the developers state that a fix is coming shortly.)

New release: RPG Trifecta Pack (Beggar prince)

RPG Trifecta Pack
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You may know Super Fighter Team as the group that brought a series of new jRPGs to the Sega Genesis and released over the last 8 years; specifically, Beggar Prince, Legend of Wukong, and Star Odyssey.

These games had a weird route to publication: Beggar Prince was actually developed, self-published and released in 1996 by C&E Inc., exclusively in Chinese. Super Fighter Team localized it to English in 2006.

Super Fighter Team localized the other two as well. Legend of Wukong was originally created by Gamtec under a publisher, and therefore doesn’t qualify as indie. Star Odyssey (or, as it was originally known, Blue Almanac) was developed by Hot-B Co. It was also created under the thumb of a publisher, leaving Beggar Prince as the only true indie title in the lot.

Last Thursday, Super Fighter Team released Windows and Mac OSX ports of all three of these games as a single “RPG Trifecta Pack.” Because Beggar Prince is an indie title, I choose to cover this as a new release. The premise of Beggar Prince follows:

The snobby, selfish prince of Shatt Kingdom unknowingly aids a great threat to his world after he switches places with a beggar who looks just like him.

Wanting only to escape the daily drudgery of his palace life, he has no idea what evil lies in wait around every corner. This careless brat of a boy is now the last chance for his kingdom to remain in peace, rather than be enveloped in chaos. Guide him on his way to learning the path of a true prince, and save his world from sinking into darkness.

So basically, it’s a high fantasy riff on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. Here’s some video footage of the start of Beggar Prince:

The Windows version and the Mac version of the Trifecta Pack each cost $20; you can pick up one or the other via Paypal on the Trifecta Pack website.

Spooky Quest announced, demo available

Spooky Quest
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So! Spooky Quest. This is an old school Zelda-alike being developed by Fervir. Featuring appropriately spooky music and combat mechanics reminiscent of Gameboy-era Zelda titles, Spooky Quest features a dungeon-crawling mode and an arena mode. In dungeon crawling mode,

dungeon crawling is emphasized where you’ll work your way through a dark dungeon where you’ll uncover its secrets. It will have items to collect, mysteries and puzzles to solve, traps to avoid, weapons to collect and plenty of monsters to fight.

Arena mode, in turn, is simply a matter of seeing how far you can get against endless waves of enemies.

There is a Windows demo available right here if you want to give it a try while we wait for it to be released. (Also, you might wanna click the screenshots below–they move!)

New release: Kilgazar

Kilgazar
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Adam Biser of Fascimania writes in to announce the release of Kilgazar, a graphical roguelike he’s released through Desura.

The premise:

Kilgazar’s army has captured your village! It’s time to take matters into your own hands!

Battle your way through hordes of enemies. Learn and use powerful magic spells. Infiltrate the fortress to pass through the gateway to the dark underworld.

Can you to defeat the demon lord, Kilgazar, and free the land from his grasp?

The game features a choice of three classes (warrior, wizard or rogue), has 24 different monster types, and features 4 level bosses with their own special abilities.

Kilgazar is currently available for Windows and Linux for $4.99; a Mac OSX version is planned for release soon out now as well. There is also a free demo available.

New release: Choice of the Ninja

Choice of the Ninja
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Choice of Games is on a bit of a roll lately; their latest title is Choice of the Ninja, a Choose Your Own Adventure style RPG with (what else?) a ninja theme.

The premise:

Assassinate the shogun, then vanish without a trace in this interactive fantasy novel!

In the high-stakes game of politics between two feudal lords, you are a ninja village’s chosen warrior. Earn glory for your clan as you battle your enemies, becoming a master of magic, combat, and stealth.

Choice of the Ninja is an epic interactive fantasy novel by Katherine Buffington, where your choices determine how the story proceeds. The game is entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–but driven by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Will you bring peace to your village, or return home in shame? Will you serve your daimyo obediently, or defy his orders for the greater good? Or will you use your powers of invisibility for personal gain? The choice is yours.

There’s a free demo online, with the full versiona available for $2.99 via the Apple App Store and Google Play, as well as via the Chrome store.

New release: Sabres of Infinity

Sabres of Infinity
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I’m a bit late on this one, but those of you who enjoy Choose Your Own Adventure / RPG hybrids will be pleased to hear that there’s a new one out, released just last month: namely, Sabres of Infinity. Written by Paul Wang, Sabres of Infinity is a Hosted Game using the Choice of Games engine.

The premise:

“Sabres of Infinity” takes place in a low fantasy setting called the Infinite Sea, with early industrial technology (roughly 1810 or so) alongside unique interpretations of well-worn fantasy standbys like knightly orders and functional magic. The story takes place during a war between two nations: the Unified Kingdom of Tierra and the League of Antar.

As a newly-minted officer in the Tierran Royal Dragoon Regiment, the player goes through officer training before embarking on an eventful voyage by ship to the front lines of the war in Southern Antar. Over the period of half a decade, the player then rises through the ranks, gaining responsibilities and new commands, as well as making new friends and enemies. The player will need to pick a senior non-commissioned officer and a horse, while keeping their men alive and facing the unique moral dilemmas put before a soldier at war. Ultimately, the story allows the player to take part in a massive, climactic battle which may decide the course of the entire war.

During the game, you can focus on Soldiering, Charisma or Intellect, build reputation, and make choices along an idealism/cynicism spectrum as well as a spectrum of ruthlessness versus mercy.

Sabres of Infinity offers a free browser demo; the full version is $2.99 on the Apple App Store or Google Play; you can also pick it up for PC on the Chrome store.

IndieRPGs.com Checks Out Dungeonmans

Hello, IndieRPGers! I’ve figured out the issue with my headset microphone and have recorded a brand new IndieRPGs.com Checks Out episode having a looksie at the v. 1.07 pre-alpha build of graphical roguelike Dungeonmans (previously covered here). I admit, I got kinda into this one, so this video is longer than most, but it’s worth it–there’s a lot of humor and genuinely entertaining stuff contained within. Check it out:

I quite enjoyed the hour I spent with Dungeonmans here. Dungeonmans is currently 79% of the way to being funded on Kickstarter, with 3 days remaining to fund it. Developer Jim Shepard has told me that the project won’t be canceled if it doesn’t get funded, but that we’d be looking at a much less fully realized final version of the game. That would be sad. My humble suggestion: go throw something in the hat.

New release: Nameless: The Hackers

Nameless The Hackers
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Steve Ip of BoxCat Games writes in to tell me about Nameless: The Hackers, a cyberpunk jRPG where the fights are all simulated hacking battles.

The story follows a group of hackers who try to find a missing researcher who has decided to take action against a major secret government organization.  As the hackers uncover the traces of the researcher, they begin to unravel a conspiracy of epic proportions involving multiple agencies and shadowy corporations.

It’s funny: though he uses the term “cyberpunk” to describe this title, absolutely everything about the premise is contemporary. Even without having played it, I have to imagine that this is largely a commentary on Anonymous, PRISM, and security contractors like HBGary. (Hell, the “researcher” they’re looking for could easily be modeled on Edward Snowden!)

I offer that as a compliment; it’s rare to see an RPG grappling with social issues this close to the fore. Unfortunately, the story is billed as “light and humurous,” so I don’t know that it’s going to be giving these issues the examination that they deserve.

Ip writes that Nameless is 12 hours long and employs visual novel mechanics reminiscent of Phoenix Wright and Tales of Symphonia; you can see some of that in the game’s trailer:

Nameless: The Hackers is exclusive to iOS. You can nab it for $3.99 over on the Apple App Store.  Additionally, they’ve made the soundtrack available for free right here.