Latest Publications

New-ish release: Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria

Dragon Fantasy Volumes of Westeria
Hey there, indie RPG fans! I’m still busy as all heck, but I’ve managed to slip away from post-release craziness for a moment to tell you about a game that released recently: Dragon Fantasy: Volumes of Westeria.

You may recall Dragon Fantasy Book I, a jRPG by Muteki Corp. that released almost exactly two and a half years ago for the PS3 and PS Vita. One enhanced version and a full sequel later, it seems that Dragon Fantasy has finally made its way over to the PC! The PC version features extra content, to say nothing of that snazzy new “Volumes of Westeria” subtitle.

You can nab Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria for $9.99 on Steam; Windows, Mac, and Linux.

(A brief note: although the game now has a publisher, in accordance with our guidelines, DFtVoW was developed before that arrangement took place. Thus, for our purposes here, it is indie.)

A short hiatus

Hello gentle readers! You may have noticed that the site has been a bit quiet this past couple of weeks–that’s because I’m gearing up to release a game of my very own, an undertaking which sucks up a surprising amount of time. Since I’m the only writer for this site, that means coverage is on hold until Telepath Tactics come out.

Not to worry, though–coverage will resume shortly! In the meantime, why not take a trip down memory lane and review some of my first impressions write-ups / videos from the past few years?



New release: Rack N Ruin

Rack N Ruin
First announced nearly two years ago, Tyler Hunter of LifeSpark Entertainment writes in to announce that indie Zelda-alike Rack N Ruin has now been released for the Playstation 4.

The premise:

Take control of Rack, a little demon whose sole pleasure is to bring about unwanton destruction. Heroes will rise, Guardians will awaken, and Gods will descend to defend their doomed planet from the little invader. The path to world domination is wrought with exploration, puzzles, and heated battle. See the world change from a lush idealistic fairie tale into a nightmare as Rack slowly corrupts the planet.

Hunter, formerly of Blizzard, hand-painted the game’s artwork himself–and his handiwork is on full display in the game’s PS4 release trailer:

The whole thing looks to have turned out a little more arena-shootery and bullet-hellish than I was first expecting. Between that and the slidey character movement, I expect this should appeal to anyone looking for a Binding of Isaac-esque experience.

The feature list:

-Burn through hordes of foes with an arsenal of over 28 different spells, items, and abilities.

-Weave through complex bullet patterns while smiting titanic bosses and over 30 unique enemies.

-Explore an enchanted benevolent world, and then transform it into a nightmarish image of its former self.

-Ransack castles, pillage dungeons, escape eternal prisons, navigate gloomy caves, and awaken ancient evils.

-Meet a charming cast of townsfolk, and collect their souls to upgrade your weapons.

-Unravel devious puzzles, and scour the land for over 100 secrets.

-And of course, destroy the world.

You can snag Rack N Ruin for Playstation 4 now for $14.99; a Windows release is planned to follow.

Rain of Reflections announced

It appears that there’s a new sci-fi RPG in development by the name of Rain of Reflections. Swedish indies Lionbite describe Rain of Reflections as a “cyberpunk noir” RPG that seeks to avoid filler and grinding, with a story told through multiple perspectives.

The premise:

Rain of Reflections tells its noiresque story through three protagonists, two of which are female. The player will get to experience life in the futuristic, dystopian city through all three perspectives, ranging through society’s layers and social classes, interweaving the highly choice-driven journey.

The devs state that Rain of Reflections will employ a morale mechanic in combat that allows the player to “use environments, ruse tactics, threats and even smart dialogue choices to handle confrontations without resorting to mindlessly blowing enemies to pieces.”

Rain of Reflections is in development for Windows, and currently planned for release sometime in 2016. The devs state that ports to other platforms may come afterwards.

Flamberge public alpha released, release date announced

Word reaches me that Flamberge, the simultaneous turn-based sRPG we featured in a Back to Back late last year, was just released this past week for purchase by early adopters.

Created by Michael Savage-Benoist and Ben Cohn (now going by the developer name Hydezeke), Flamberge addresses the problem inherent to melee attacks and simultaneous turns–namely, that characters will just end up running past each other and missing one another every single turn–by essentially turning your melee units into human guided missiles:

The alpha version of Flamberge is available direct from the developer or on Steam, priced at $10. There’s also a free alpha demo available. Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The full release is planned for April 24, 2015 (which is pretty damned soon for a game that’s not even in beta yet, but hey, who knows–maybe it’ll release on time).

Underrail public alpha released

We last covered real-time, isometric, sci-fi wRPG Underrail way, way back in 2012 (not counting the time we showed an updated trailer for the game two years ago).

Word now reaches me that Underrail–which is still in alpha all these years later–has now been released for public consumption on Steam Early Access, Desura, and Gamersgate at a $10 price point (minus a few cents).

You can watch me playing a very old build of the game here if you want a sense of how the game plays before plunking down money.

New release: Worlds of Magic

Worlds of Magic
Robert Łukaszewski writes in to tell me that fantasy turn-based tactics / 4X game Worlds of Magic has been released. Developed by Wasteland Interactive, WoM bills itself as “a true spiritual successor” to Master of Magic.

As a Master of Magic clone, WoM follows a similar formula. You select several spheres of magic to specialize in, pick character perks, then procedurally generate a world in which to do fantasy strategy. Combat and character development proceed according to the D20 ruleset, which is an innovation unique to WoM. The trailer gives a sense of how it all looks in practice:

Now, I actually tried a beta version of the game back in September 2014 with the intention of making an Checks Out episode on it. However, it didn’t quite work out. I should probably preface this by admitting that the one time I played Master of Magic, I bounced off the game hard. My play session consisted of me starting the game, struggling for a few minutes to figure out the interface, finding a tower right near my starting city, sending my spearmen into it, and then immediately getting slaughtered–by pixies, of all things. That was around the time I decided MoM might not be for me.

Worlds of Magic’s tutorial told me how to use the interface, but due to my lack of MoM experience, I was left with zero clue as to how I should actually proceed in playing the game. One email to the developers later, and I learned how to start out. Their advice: “max out Craftsmen in your city, but leave enough food to maintain your starting units. Begin building Granary, then Sawmill (for Dracs) or Armory (Elves). Cast city-improving spells if you have some (Tranquility, Fertilize Soil, Prosperity to name a few). After the second building has been constructed, recruit 2-3 javelineers or 2 glaive guards and an archer unit.”

Even with this advice in hand, the early game proceeded so slowly that recording the thing just wasn’t a viable option. We’re talking dozens of turns to build those first two structures and produce my first set of cannon fodder units. During that period, all I could do was slowly, painstakingly scout a few spaces around the map with the one unit the game started me with, then click the button to end my turn, then wait for the two other AI players to move–scout a few more spaces, click, wait. Rinse and repeat that several dozen times, and you basically have the video. I think it might have actually literally bored you all to death.

Due to the above, I never got very far into the game despite starting a play session 3 or 4 times. Consequently, I don’t really have an opinion on WoM right now other than to say that it has a really slow start. Then again, Alec Meer of RPS fame thinks the game plays briskly by 4X standards, so maybe my expectations are off. If you liked Master of Magic, it’s likely that you’ll have an easier time getting into this than I did.

Worlds of Magic is available on Steam or direct from the developer at a $39.99 price point; Windows (64-bit only), Mac and Linux.

Back to Back: Indie RPGS to fund

Greetings, esteemed readers of blogs and backers of projects! It is once again time to peer into the misty depths of the Vale of Crowdfunding and see what we might see.

Of those we last spied, Edge of Eternity, Infernax, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire, Underworld Ascendant, and WarRab: Veteran have emerged victorious; the corpses of Legends of Pixelia, Seaworthy, Unraveled, and Windwalkers scatter the valley floor.

But wait! What new souls brave those musty depths?


New release: Enemy

Tom Johnson writes in to announce the release of Enemy, a squad-based tactical RPG modeled in large part on X-COM and Jagged Alliance.

The narrative is fairly minimal, set in a self-consciously video gamey world:

Four evil kings (a cyclops, a slime, a vampire, and a rogue AI) are terrorizing the land and a squad of classic game heroes bands together to put a stop to it. The name of the land is never given, but there are four types of areas within it: a tropical zone based on classic action games, a forest inspired by classic adventure games, a swamp inspired by classic horror games, and a plains inspired by classic platformers.

You start the game with one player-created character and two procedurally generated recruits with randomly chosen classes and attributes, and can recruit more characters (including 10 uniques and an unlimited supply of randomly generated townspeople). Though most characters are generated by the game, you can guide the progression of all characters upon level up by assigning skill points among eight skills (melee, ranged, bomb, throw, health, mind, endurance, and reaction).

There is a procedurally generated overworld that you can direct your squad around and explore. Meanwhile, combat takes place in turn-based fashion with time units a la X-COM. The main attraction here, in the dev’s own words, is that “[e]verything in the environment is dynamic: roofs collapse, trees topple, and fire spreads out of control, so you are always veering from one disaster to the next.”

The trailer shows what this looks like in practice:

The price of complexity and dynamism, it seems, is that everything must be rendered in voxels. No matter: this looks promising, and I imagine I’ll be checking it out shortly.

Enemy appears to be available exclusively through Steam; $14.99 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

New release: Echo Dawn: Shattered Visions

Echo Dawn
Word reaches me that there’s a new jRPG out for iPhone by the name of Echo Dawn: Shattered Visions. Developed by Pixel Light Games, Echo Dawn features original art and what appears to be a custom engine, meaning that you won’t be staring at default RPG Maker assets for hours on end while playing it.

The premise:

Explore an epic fantasy where the first humans face corruption and ultimate destruction. A story of memories, blood, death, corruption, betrayal, love, life, friendship and the future of all things.

Echo Dawn features player-directed stat growth upon level up, as well as different builds for each class that let you focus on different tactics.

The devs assert that Echo Dawn has a 15 hour running time, featuring 7 character classes, “hundreds of items and abilities,” 4 difficulty levels, and 4 optional challenge bosses.

Echo Dawn is available for iOS at a $3.99 price point.