Latest Publications

New release: Way Walkers: University

The latest in the Choice of Games line, Way Walkers: University (last discussed here), has now been released.

In a land were science and magic are the same, you are one of the few born with Extrasensory Abilities–and you dream of attending the most prestigious metaphysical university on the Continent. There, you can discover not only your potential and place amid the Twelve Ways of Spirit, but perhaps your ultimate destiny. Fight drakes, make friends or enemies, chase ghosts and argue with angels, be an upstanding student or a devious rebel–it’s all up to you.

Will you follow the Way of the Healer, or carve your reputation as a Warrior? Shall gossip and relationships fill your days, or shall you choose the Way of Truth and study? Will you seek fame along the Way of Creativity, or hone your Abilities under the Way of magic?

Will you choose a righteous path, or fall to the Way of Evil?

Technically speaking, Way Walkers is not actually a Choice of Games game: rather, it was created by J. Leigh using the Choice of Games engine and is being sold through Choice of Games using some sort of affiliate system. You can play Way Walkers in-browser, or else pick up the game for iOS or Android, each at a $1.99 price point. The first portion of the game is available as a free demo in-browser, in case you want a sample.

Harmonia Online announced

Hello, everyone! With Labor Day behind us, it’s back to laboring at the old Indie RPG News mill. To get us back into the swing of things, here is a little nugget I’ve been sitting on: Harmonia Online, described as “an MMO with the strategic interplay of a turn-based strategy game.”

The plot is a bit wordy, and seems to be something of an anti-knowledge take on the whole light versus dark thing. The feature list is the real star of this one, in my view. To wit:

Harmonia blends the style and mechanics of several genres together.  There’s a lot of Shining Force, a little Warcraft, and a little Nethack.  Each player commands a small band of heroes and collaborates with other players in massive tactical battles to defend (or destroy) the kingdom of Harmonia.  Positioning and management are key to victory; each of the 8 basic character classes fulfills a vital role on the battlefield.

  • Soldier – The leader of the group, a proficient swordsman, but also provides valuable support effects to the troops
  • Knight – Highly mobile lance-wielding centaur that specializes in melee combat and crowd control.
  • Warrior – Stalwart defender, able to take hits and protect other more vulnerable characters.
  • Birdsoldier – Nimble flying unit with the ability to penetrate the enemy’s squishier back ranks
  • Magician – Slow and vulnerable, but if properly protected can lay waste to large areas of the map.
  • Priest – The all-important healer & supporting spellcaster
  • Archer – Ranged fighter with little in the way of defense but packs quite a punch from the back row.
  • Monk – Holy melee fighter with lesser healing ability and powerful buffs/debuffs.

Each main class undergoes two promotions during the course of the game, resulting in a whopping 56 total classes for a huge variety of skills and play styles.

The developers tell me that each player will control 1-4 heroes during play. They also state that Harmonia Online will be fully moddable, with a built-in scripting language and an official map editor so you can run a server with your own variations.

The game’s engine already exists in ASCII form, and is in the process of being retrofitted with a rather more accessible look. As you can see from this video of Harmonia’s latest build, they’re going for something of a Shining Force 3 look, with chunky sprites projected onto low-res 3D backgrounds:

I’m still a little unclear on the combat mechanics they’re going for, as things look decidedly not-turn-based in all of the footage I’ve seen. That said, there is actually a playable demo available where one can presumably test this for oneself. Why not give it a try and see what you think?

Oh, also: Kickstarter. The developers want money to improve their servers, get extra art, and work on Harmonia full-time. They have only a few days to raise a significant amount, so if you want to help out, now’s the time. One way or another, this game will be seeing a Windows, Mac and Linux release at some point in the future.

Opinion: Greenlight shouldn’t have been greenlighted

This is a guest perspective by Greg Lobanov about the new Steam game approval process “Greenlight.” Valve’s press release, posted yesterday, states: “Steam Greenlight allows developers and publishers to post information and media about their game in an effort to convince the Community that the game should be released on Steam. Greenlight piggybacks on Steam Workshop’s flexible system that organizes content and lets customers rate and leave feedback.” Roughly 24 hours after launch, here is Greg Lobanov’s take on how well the system is working.

Steam Greenlight launched yesterday to a lot of early criticism. That criticism is deserved: the way it’s structured now, Greenlight empowers trolls and jealous competitors to shut out good indie games through downvoting.


New release: Forgotten Tales RPG

A few minutes of browsing the Android marketplace reveals another mobile RPG I’ve never come across before: Forgotten Tales RPG by British developers Central Bytes.

I can’t seem to find mention of a narrative anywhere in the game’s description, and actually playing the game just drops you into the world with no exposition or explanation.

Having played the game a bit, I can confirm that it’s tap-to-move, with combat occurring in real time. However, combat is entirely automated. When an enemy gets close, your character will suddenly close distance and start hacking away without your intervention. It’s not quite Progress Quest–you still have to explore and make inventory decisions, and you do have control over what spells your character uses–but beyond that, the game practically plays itself. It’s ideal, in other words, for people who just want to turn their brains off for a while and let the numbers go up.

Here is a video of the game, seemingly captured from some sort of device that is not an Android phone. (A tablet, perhaps?)

Forgotten Tales RPG is free on Google Play, with the developers making income purely through ads (I understand that you can remove in-game ads by paying a small fee).

Two Brothers announced

We have another Zelda-alike on deck here, folks! Ackk Studios has been hard at work on Two Brothers, a Zelda-style action adventure game with graphics modeled in large part on the capabilities of the Game Boy. Also, it is not a beer company.

Here’s the premise:

You take on the role of Roy Guarder, a young inventor who begins to obsess with the idea of finding a new color on earth after a near death experience shows him an after life filled with color. Your brother, Bivare, who is also an inventor and explorer, soon takes on your obsession and you begin a quest.

Roy G.’s brother is referred to as “Biv.” Um, yeah.

Absurdly, Aack Studios has no website I can link you to–only a Facebook page. On the plus side, though, they do have a trailer you can watch:

Want more? Here are two older videos: one showing off exploration, and the other showing off NPC interactions (it looks like all conversation occurs by choosing one of three general emotional states for your response; the developer says that these choices change the outcome of conversations).

Two Brothers is one of the few games I’ve seen to model the afterlife: when you die, you keep playing. From what I understand, dying is in fact pretty essential to your progress. Two Brothers also takes a page from Red Rogue, letting you eat enemy hearts to regain health (though in fairness, this also seems like the most obvious way of explaining exactly what hearts did in the Zelda games).

Aack Studios recently put up (what else?) a Kickstarter, in which they hope to raise money for ports to Mac and XBox 360, marketing and legal expenses, and the costs of…producing stuff for Kickstarter rewards? Meta. In any event, it doesn’t look like a successful campaign is going to make or break completion of the Windows version, so I’ll allow it. The developers say that the game is 70% complete; there’s no release date as of yet, but they say a 2013 release is likely if they meet their fundraising goal.

Defender’s Quest goes “gold”

Level Up Labs has just released the Gold Edition of Defender’s Quest. The demo is updated, and so is the game. You can check out our video preview of the game right here.

Steam Marines announced, playable

It has come to my attention that there is a new, squad-based tactics roguelike in development by Worthless Bums by the name of Steam Marines.

Let’s put aside for the moment the fact that they have the best studio name I have ever heard, and look at what Worthless Bums are up to with this game:

  • 2D retro-styled art and turn based action.
  • Procedurally Generated Levels and Items.
  • A squad of combatants fighting for their lives in monster filled steampunk spaceship.
  • Use your squad to cover defensive positions or funnel enemies into chokepoints to blow them up.

That’s it. If there’s some premise beyond blowing up steam-powered automatons on a steam-powered space ship using marines in steam-driven power armor, the devs aren’t talking about it. Then again, I’m not sure the game really needs much of a premise beyond that.

The developers have posted a gameplay video; have a look:

As with most roguelikes, Steam Marines is freely available for download despite the fact that it is still fairly early in development. Grab the latest release, version 0.59a, for either Windows or Mac.

Bloodlust announced

William Fisher of WRF Studios writes in to announce Bloodlust, a vampire-themed action RPG he’s working on in the Unreal engine. The premise:

Varic and Vista, two silent, dark, and solitary “ShadowHunters” find themselves resurrected into a lost city terrorized by the all-powerful “Emperor” Ranior, a monstrous vampire lord. Haunted by visions of darkness and tormented by their ghosts from the past, Varic and Vista struggle daily, though they always continue to move forward. With each victory they grow stronger, increasing bloodline and skills in the “Dark Arts”, but all at the cost of their humanity. With each new bloodline, they find themselves turning more into the vampiric monsters they were resurrected to destroy. In the end, their great power will be challenged only by themselves, as they will have to face the source of their own immortality and decide whether to embrace the darkness or destroy it.

What would you choose?

The developer writes: “Quests and storyline are dynamic. The decisions you make affect other quests, characters, and storyline. Join Rival Clans to Learn their Skills or Destroy them.”

There is a trailer out showing what this game actually looks like, which you can watch here:

Perhaps more importantly, the developer has made a free demo available. Find it on this page (which helpfully explains game controls and provides troubleshooting for demo installation). Bloodlust is Windows-only. The developer tells me that he intends to price it at $10; there is no release date announced yet, however. Checks Out Underrail

With the recent release of an alpha demo for Underrail, I decided to go ahead and give the game a shot. It took a bit of tinkering to get it working*, but I did, and recorded my first impressions playing the game. Check it out:

The short of it: if you liked Fallout and Fallout 2, then you should be really, really excited about this game.

*TIP: I strongly suggest you run the alpha demo as an administrator, then go into Settings and switch it to fullscreen mode. Expect crashes if you don’t!

Movie night: Secrets of Grindea and Shadow Remnants

Happy Friday! As is customary, IndieRPGs celebrates the coming of the weekend with some movies. Because who doesn’t want to kick back and watch new movies of RPGs we’re dying to play? (Some people, presumably–but we don’t associate with folks like that.)

Today, we’ve got new footage showing off combat mechanics in Secrets of Grindea (last covered here), as well as a battle against an awesome-looking (if somewhat ineffectual) dragon in Shadow Remnants (last covered here). Grab some popcorn and hit the jump!