Latest Publications

Eschalon Book III announced

So, remember last year when Basilisk Games posted about how they’ve been working on Eschalon Book III, but they weren’t technically announcing it? (Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to me either.) Well, now they’re announcing it! Officially. Or something.

Basilisk Games is very happy to finally announce that we are, in fact, working on Eschalon: Book III. Most of our fans already know this, but we couldn’t officially announce it to the world until we reached a specific milestone in development.

So there you have it. There is some actual new news here, in that they now have an estimated release date of Summer 2013. So that’s good. Also, here are some (very nice-looking) screenshots for your trouble:

New release: His Dark Majesty

File this one under “new to me”: His Dark Majesty is an aggressively lo-fi turn-based fantasy strategy game “that takes the core elements of Advance Wars and The Battle for Wesnoth.” Developed by a small team, HDM was released back in 2010 for–wait for it–the Atari 800. No, really. (There’s a Windows version too, thankfully.)

The premise:

The world hath never been a safe and silent place, however its perils were familiar and well known. The Dark Army that descended upon the land one disastrous decade ago brought with it chaos and pain, and made of these simple worries only a memory. An eternity of dread and affliction became a certainty for the high-born and peasant alike. The virtuous king of the land hath been executed and his son left to rot in a prison cell. Memories of his life as the Prince of the land have faded away like mist, and only half-remembered visions, clutched tightly to his breast, of the sun upon an open field, or the smile on a maiden’s face armor his soul from complete madness. It seemed that all hope had been relinquished…

Though His Dark Majesty bears a lot of superficial similarities to Fire Emblem, characters are not persistent and there is no leveling or character advancement. This is pure fantasy strategy, in other words, not a strategy RPG.

Here is roughly 5 minutes of gameplay:

His Dark Majesty is free. On the off chance that you don’t have an Atari 800 or an Atari 800 emulator (as if), there is a Windows installer available on the download page.

Hat tip to Brian Jeffears! Checks Out The Battle for Wesnoth

I’ve been wanting to check out The Battle for Wesnoth for quite some time; over this past weekend, I finally indulged myself and recorded my first impressions as I did. This video shows the first two battles in the South Guard campaign.

You can find more of my thoughts on the game here.

Old release: The Battle for Wesnoth

The Battle for Wesnoth is a bit of a classic. It was first developed by David White and released for free back in 2003; because the game is open source, however, it has been further developed and extended by a small army of people over the intervening years. Wesnoth is so old that it gets the designation “old release” here, but it’s good enough that if you haven’t heard of it yet, I consider it my duty to inform you to check it out.

There isn’t a single premise to offer you here, because Wesnoth comes with roughly a bazillion different campaigns, each with its own separate characters and plot line.

The way to go here, I think, is to summarize the mechanics. Wesnoth is highly similar to the Sega CD turn-based strategy RPG Dark Wizard. If you ever played that game and liked it, it is quite likely that you will enjoy Wesnoth as well. Like Dark Wizard, Wesnoth features big hex-based maps, a wide variety of recruitable creatures that you can hire on castle tiles with your hero unit, a requirement that you pay to support your army, and the ability to level up and carry over units between battles.

As for the look and feel of the game, the trailer does a pretty decent job conveying it:

My only beef with Wesnoth is that for a game of this sort, it falls quite far on the “random” side of the determinism-randomness spectrum. Even in favorable conditions, your units are going to miss their attacks a lot. I recently recorded an Checks Out episode with this game, so you’ll get to see for yourself later today. Still, despite moments of frustration occasioned by its heavy reliance on randomized results, Wesnoth is ultimately quite fun.

The Battle for Wesnoth is free: you can grab it for Windows and Mac, as well as Linux (though you’ll need to compile the binaries yourself for the Linux one). Impressively, there are also mobile ports of Wesnoth, though these are decidedly less free than the PC versions. You can get the Android port on Google Play for $3.99, or try a free demo. There are also iPhone and iPad versions on iTunes for $3.99 a pop.

New release: Saturday Morning RPG Episode 3

Pete Biles of Mighty Rabbit Studios writes in to inform me that Episode 3 of Saturday Morning RPG (“To Bot or Not to Bot”) is getting released today.

The premise is simple:

The evil Botchangers, the Badbots, are attacking Shadow Valley’s Jean Claude Van Dam and stealing all the power! Marty must stop them to save the town.

Two points if you can guess what the “Botchangers” are meant to parody. And if you can’t guess, well, it should become pretty obvious once you take a look at the teaser trailer:

You can grab Saturday Morning RPG Episode 3 as an in-app purchase from within the game, or buy the “deluxe” edition of the game for $5.49 and get all three episodes up-front. As before, Saturday Morning RPG remains an iOS exclusive.

Shadow Minion Village announced

Jason Geyer writes in to announce Shadow Minion Village, a jRPG / sim crossover. He describes it like so:

A mutated crossbreed of a Sim, JRPG, and sandbox game. Control your shadow minions, build a village, craft weapons and items, and send them to their doom vs. horrible beasts of the wildlands.

Players create and control individual minions to toil and fight. Build houses, workshops, and plant crops to keep your minions fed and happy. Hungry minions tend to eat lesser minions, so you need to keep your eye on them. Features dynamic plant-life and beasts, a crafting and collection system, and party-based JRPG style battles.

Based on what the developer has said about it, Shadow Minion Village sounds like an open-ended Dungeon Keeper with side-scrolling exploration, item crafting, and jRPG-style battles. I’m not going to lie: I think that sounds absolutely terrific.

Your villagers will perform whatever tasks you ask of them, but will eat and sleep independently. Oh, about that:

If the minions run out of food, you’ll get a little warning Icon on the screen. You can ignore it for a while, but after a few minutes they’ll get sick of waiting and just eat whatever other minions they come across next, assuming it can beat it in a fight.


Shadow Minion Village is being developed for Windows, with possible iOS and Mac ports. Geyer is aiming to release a free public beta sometime in summer 2013.

New release: Pirates and Traders

Michael Akinde of MicaByte Systems writes in to announce Pirates and Traders, a pirate-themed trading game / RPG hybrid. Akinde states that P&T is modeled on the old PalmOS game Space Traders, but is set in the 17th century Caribbean and features attributes, skills, and menu-based combat.

The premise:

Sail the Caribbean in this turn-based strategy/role-playing game. Will you be peaceful trader, traveling from island to island with goods trying to exploit circumstances of high supply and demand? Or will you be a rapacious pirate, waging war on sea and on land against the enemies of your country. You decide!

Akinde describes the combat system like so:

Standard turn-based RPG combat, without the spatial element. It’s essentially similar to what you would have in a basic pen and paper RPG just a bit less complex – although it still has combat stances, some limited skill usage, and an injury system complete with maiming – got to make it possible for players to need eye patches, hooks, and peg legs.

Akinde states that he continues to update Pirates and Traders with new content regularly, and that he intends to add two more main storyline quests to the game. Pirates and Traders is currently available for Android devices on the Google Play store for free with ads, or for $4.99 without. The $4.99 “Gold” edition also “adds 1 new starting background (buccaneer), and adds 5 additional starting ships (pinnace, coastal barque, fluyt).”

Beasts and Blades announced, open beta

Seattletek informs me that they have been working on a new RPG called Beasts and Blades. Having looked at a bunch of gameplay videos, it strikes me as something of a Western take on the modern Square jRPG formula.

The premise:

The game opens in a scene where a royal investigation team (five main characters) has been put together by Lord Crewe to investigate recent disappearances, including that of the High Mage’s daughter, in the Mereen Forest south of the main town of Elmere. The players find only an abandoned ritual camp, or what seems to be abandoned. In a series of strange events, an evil force reveals itself from a portal to another realm, and takes control of the team. Each player finds themselves alone, in an unfamiliar place, and must battle their way out to find the rest of the investigation team and find out who is behind all of this.

Seattletek have posted a video showing gameplay (though inexplicably, the first minute-and-a-half is just spent sitting on the title screen doing nothing–I’d skip past that part).

They also have a video showing off outdoor exploration with day and night cycles.

Seattletek have reportedly made a beta version of Beasts and Blades available, which you can grab right here. If you like where they’re going with this, you can help fund the project on Kickstarter.

Drox Operative demo released

Steven Peeler has emailed me to announce the release of a public demo for Soldak Entertainment’s upcoming space-based action RPG Drox Operative. (You can see me playing a beta version here, and failing terribly it.)

The demo is available for both Windows and Mac. It’s 120 MB, which is surprisingly small considering how much stuff the game has going on in it. Grab it here.

No word yet on when the full release is coming, but you can pre-order the game at a discount right now.

Delver announced, open alpha

Delver has been in the pipeline for quite some time, but it hadn’t had a website, so I was hesitant to feature it. However, it now has one. In fact, not only does it have a website, it has also now been released as an open alpha. (What can I say–I’m late to the party here.)

Delver is a real-time, first person dungeon delver with permadeath and procedurally generated dungeons. Created by Priority Interrupt (i.e. Chad Cuddigan), Delver is described as a cross between a roguelike and Ultima Underworld, which probably isn’t a bad way of characterizing it. Put another way: Delver strikes me as a much slower-paced, lo-fi cousin to Tomes of Mephistopheles.

Cuddigan put out a video way back in April talking about the game and doing a playthrough. It’s an old build, but it gives a pretty decent idea of how Delver plays:

Delver is currently available as an open alpha on Android devices on Google Play for $1.99; you can also download the latest alpha build for Windows, Mac or Linux for free. Development continues–Cuddigan is currently working on supporting towns and outdoor areas with procedurally generated landscapes. No word yet on an estimated final release.