Latest Publications

Shattered Throne announced, playable

Shattered Throne
Checkmark Games (whom you might remember as the creator behind first-person dungeon crawler Dark Delve) has announced the development of a new project: Shattered Throne, a fantasy strategy title with mechanics patterned after Advance War’s.

There doesn’t seem to be a plot summary online yet, but this should give you the gist of what Checkmark Games is aiming for here:

Shattered Throne is a turn based strategy game heavily inspired by the Advanced Wars series of games from Nintendo. Unlike Advanced Wars however, the game is set in a fantasy world and features 3 different factions of unique units. Each faction also has 3 different Leaders that can be chosen, which will change the tactical approach and feel of each faction depending on which is chosen.

Shattered Throne is currently in beta, with a free (Windows-only) version available for you to download and play. You can grab it off of Google Drive here. Per the author, you’ll need to have both .NET 4.0 and XNA 4.0 runtimes installed in order to play.

Wayward announced, playable

Word has reached my ear of a new graphical roguelike in development by Canadian developers Unlok. That game, Wayward, has just reached beta and is currently playable in-browser, being built in HTML5 as it is.

The premise:

In the game, there is a large focus on realism and survival. Because of these elements, most weapons, and items will need to be crafted by natural objects found around the terrain. Unlike traditional roguelikes, in Wayward there are no levels; however, you can gain different skills which increase your effectiveness for each of the individual skills. You can also increase your strength (health), hunger (starvation), and dexterity (stamina), by performing skills that would realistically use one or more of those attributes, for example, parrying increases dexterity while mining increases strength.

I count nearly two dozen skills present in the game’s wiki, along with 17 types of animals and monsters and quite a few craftable items. You can get a sense of the game’s various features in this trailer:

So it looks like a more traditional roguelike version of Minecraft, basically. Cool, if sort of expected at this point. For my money, Wayward’s coolest feature is how customizable its user interface is–just about everything can be resized, minimized, and moved around the screen.

Wayward is currently free, though I have no idea if it will remain that way; for now, try the beta in your browser here!

Dungeon Lore released on Windows and Mac

Remember how I posted about Dungeon Lore’s release on iPad last week? It is now apparently out on Desura for Windows and Mac as well. You can nab it there for $4.99. (For more info on the game, check out my earlier write-up.)

Heroes of Steel announced

Heroes of Steel
Andrew Trese of Trese Brothers Software writes in to announce Heroes of Steel, a turn-based post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG with a 4-character party, ostensibly inspired by tabletop dungeon crawlers.

The premise:

In a fallen world, your group of young heroes are challenged to protect their people and the remnants of their broken society.  As the forces of the darker powers gather around the last remaining settlements, you must balance between fighting off the encroaching danger and uncovering the secrets of the shattering of the All-Father and the missing nine gods who did not fall under the shadow of the dark.  Only by unraveling the secrets of the underdeep and overcoming the fear, greed and corruption boiling in what is left of your people will you be able to avert the destruction the dark gods are planning.

Heroes of Steel is going to have a top-down, tile-based, turn-based, squad-based combat system. (That’s a lot of bases to cover, but I think the Trese Brothers should be up to it.) The brothers T plan to include four character classes–essentially, fighter, cleric, wizard and thief–each with its own skill tree to allow character customization as you progress.

Heroes of Steel is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, and is already more than halfway funded less than a week in.

Per Andrew Trese, “Currently we are headed to the Android only.  The KickStarter includes an App Store stretch goal, and we might convert there eventually.  But, right out of the gate, Android.” Assuming they meet their goal, release of Heroes of Steel “may be only a few months away.”

Want more info? Hit the jump for more details straight from the mouths (emails, actually) of the developers!


New release: Anodyne

Sean Hogan of Analgesic Productions tells me that Anodyne (the surreal Zelda-alike I last covered on Checks Out) has just been released!

The premise:

In Anodyne, you explore and fight your way through nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young’s subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack.

This description doesn’t quite impart just how delightfully off-kilter the game’s mood is; it’s Zelda: A Link to the Past with an art house sensibility. (And I mean that in the best way possible.)

Here is Anodyne’s trailer, which gets the point across somewhat better:

Anodyne has a a free demo available, which I recommend trying if you haven’t done so yet. In addition, you can also listen to / nab the soundtrack here, and upvote Anodyne on Greenlight here if the mood strikes you.

Anodyne is available direct from the developers or on Desura for $8 for Windows, Mac and Linux; at some point, though, that price will be rising to $10. (A mobile release is planned for the not-too-distant future as well, but that’s not here just yet.)

Terra Aegrus 2: Rise of the Lich King announced, demo available

Terra Aegrus 2
Alexander Gray II writes in to announce the development of Terra Aegrus 2: Rise of the Lich King, a turn based single player RPG.

The premise:

An evil lich king is creating an army of undead and you and your party of adventures must find a way to destroy him.
You have to explore the land to find and destroy the required artifacts that will make the lich mortal, and then engage him in mortal combat.

Pretty standard stuff, all in all.

Per Gray, you’ll be in control of a four-character party from the start of the game. There is a very (as in, more than 2 years) old gameplay video up; there is a weirdly incongruous mix of anime and western art styles going on here, but if you skip to about 2 minutes into the video, you’ll see some turn-based combat that reminds one of some of the old Ultima combat systems:

There is already a free demo publicly available right now, though the full game is not planned for release until mid-2013. This one is Windows-only. Get the free demo here.

Old release: Pocket RPG

Pocket RPG
A little bit of browsing through the Google Play store has brought to my attention an action RPG by the name of Pocket RPG. Created by Tasty Poison Games, Pocket RPG was first released for iPhone and iPad in 2011, then for Android devices in summer 2012.

The premise:

Enter a world overrun by hordes of monsters. Explore trap-filled dungeons and face mighty bosses. Collect piles of treasure and items and invest in dozens of abilities and unlockable equipment. Test your skills against the oncoming darkness.

You can play one of three classes: blade master, dark ranger or battle mage (read: swordsman, bowman or mage). Here’s a trailer sh0wing you what the game looks like in action:

Per the developer,

Each quest in Pocket RPG is a new adventure. The hero starts at level zero with an empty sachel and collects items and rapidly builds their strength to dizzying proportions. Pocket RPG is not a “my numbers beat your numbers” game. Items matter and the way you use them is even more important.

The focus here is much more on action than character development, in other words; there is at least one reviewer out there convinced that this game is not an RPG at all. I can kinda understand why he’d conclude that, but if we accept that Diablo and Torchlight are RPGs, I think we have to accept this one into the fold as well, even if the level reset makes it more of an edge case.

You can nab Pocket RPG for $4.99 on the Apple app store if you have an iPhone or iPad, or if you’re an Android user, you can nab it for the weirdly specific (but nonetheless much cheaper) amount of $2.02 on Google Play.

Legend of Grimrock 2 announced…kinda

I’ve been reluctant to post this as news, given that this is more of a tease than a proper announcement, but I suppose it’s worth mentioning: Almost Human Ltd., makers of first-person dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock, have indicated that they are working on a sequel.

They have posted basically no details about this game at all, stating only this:

So, what’s next, you might ask. We thought we could share with you a glimpse of some new exiting [sic] things we’ve been working on.

I don’t even know if it’s even called Legend of Grimrock 2, frankly–I’m just using a placeholder name until the devs provide one.

Luckily, they did post a couple of screenshots, so it’s not like the announcement was completely devoid of content. Here, we can see that the sequel (expansion?) will feature new environments and playable races.

That is literally the full extent of anything that anyone knows about this game. Release date? No idea. Platforms? Unknown, but presumably the same as the last one. The screenies look nice, though. (Cool story, bro.)

Terra Incognita announced

Terra Incognita
During one of my customary game-spelunking expeditions, I caught sight of a strange and beautiful mock-up glinting in the deep. On closer examination, it turned out to be Terra Incognita, a strategy roguelike inspired by Jules Verne stories and the tales of real-world 19th century explorers.

What is Terra Incognita, you ask? The developer (who wishes to remain anonymous) describes it like so:

Terra Incognita is a roguelike-strategy-puzzle-game set in the late 19th century in which you will venture on unprecedented expeditions to regions never explored before.

Accompanied by some of the world’s best scientists, you’ll travel through deep, lush jungles, wade through cursed swamps, explore peculiar caves and cross deadly deserts, all while encountering exotic native tribes and menacing wildlife that defies any explanation.

Adventure awaits!

Also, I just feel compelled to point out here that one of the planned character classes is “Rabbi.” For real.

Terra Incognita Specialists

Here is the official List o’ Features:

Explore procedurally generated worlds with many different biomes, each with its own distinctive set of challenges for the ambitious explorer.

Plan and equip your trek with gear, weapons, scientists, porters, pack animals and much more. A good explorer is prepared for any eventuality.

Manage your resources to keep your trek alive and morale high. Balance your need for food and water with the desire to carry all that precious treasure back home.

Visit and interact with the land’s natives. Enter villages, trade and communicate with local tribes and civilizations that are unknown to mankind.

Loot mysterious temple ruins to gain fame and treasures, but watch out for deadly traps and curses that will compromise your men and the whole world around you.

Equip and utilize miraculous treasures to gain advantages, but be wary of unforeseeable side effects.

Fight and defend your trek against a wide range of wild animals, mystical creatures, cannibals, zombies and even dinosaurs.

Finally, here are some more mock-ups showing the game’s planned graphical style.

Terra Incognita is planned for release sometime in 2013 for PC and “tablet devices.” (That schedule seems a touch overambitious to me, but hey–what do I know.)

Below the jump, we have exclusive bonus details about the game for you to read. Check it out!


New release: Dungeon Lore

Dungeon Lore
Two-man studio 3D Attack announces the release of Dungeon Lore, a turn-based isometric RPG. The devs call it a “tactical RPG,” but you’re only ever in control of a single character, which (in my view) single-handedly disqualifies it from that subgenre designation.

There doesn’t seem to be a narrative premise posted anywhere, so let’s have a look at the game’s feature list instead:

• Turn Based Tactical RPG (non-grid based)
• Complete camera freedom! Rotate and zoom in all directions!
• Unique Looting System featuring almost 350 different objects
• 90 Achievements in total!
• Hand crafted beautiful dangerous dungeons and hunting grounds.
• Quest based gameplay
• Combat system featuring Melee, Ranged and Magic attacks
• High replay value due to monsters getting stronger when player levels up and random loot.
• Atmospheric soundtrack and sound fx composed exclusively for the game
• Hunting grounds to train and gain gold
• Hours of challenging gameplay
• Class-free dungeon exploration
• Search for traps and disable them using your skills!
• Raise character statistics to your needs and game style.
• Character creation process which allows to set stats and skills
• Magic system with 4 Elementals fighting at your side
• Incredible atmospheric and highly detailed dungeons
• Progress at your own pace. Stress free.
• Use Magic potions, rings and ear-rings to enhance your hero

So basically: it’s turn-based, atmospheric, isn’t class-based, uses enemy level scaling, and has lots of items. Got it. Here’s the trailer.

Dungeon Lore is exclusive to the iPad; grab it here for an extremely reasonable $1.99.