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Divinia Chronicles: Relics of Gan-Ti announced

Divinia Chronicles
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Martin Sander of Chinese German indie developer Team Monkey writes in to announce work on a 3D over-the-shoulder action RPG called Divinia Chronicles: Relics of Gan-Ti.

The premise:

A long time ago at the peak of the High Kingdom of Pandura, a group of seers looked into legends of a powerful force believed to be the origin of life; this they called ‘Gan’, though modern peoples know it as ‘Divinia’. The ancients sought to utilize Gan as a weapon; in doing so, their perverse intentions spawned the malignant ‘Gan-Ti’, or ‘anti-life’. Infusing Gan-Ti into artifacts, the godlike High Kings ruled the Panduran Archipelago with an iron fist. Eventually, rebellion arose and the Order of Archkeepers was formed of the most noble warriors to free the people. They managed to capture the relics of Gan-Ti and cast them into the fiery pits of Mt. Suvius near the shores of Oria island. With the evil power of the relics suppressed, the monsters that terrorized the countryside were slain and the old Kings overthrown. Peace had come. As of late, however, rumblings have been heard from Mt. Suvius, and the wise have come to fear an eruption. With a reckless young King having just assumed the throne of Oria, will the powers of Gan-Ti again fall into the hands of the most powerful, or can a new force arise to combat the inevitable?

Divinia Chronicles is being built in the Source engine. As you can see in the teaser trailer below, Divinia Chronicles features some lovely stylized graphics and combat reminiscent of 3D Legend of Zelda titles:

If this all looks strangely similar to another indie game, that’s most likely because up until recently, Team Monkey had been calling the game “Saga of Pandoria.” According to Sander, they switched the game’s name due to trademark concerns.

The developers state that Divinia Chronicles features proper character leveling and magic, and that the combat system features such niceties as a Zelda-style lock-on capability and the ability to block and evade attacks.

Divinia Chronicles: Relics of Gan-Ti is being developed for Windows–though there is no estimated final release date yet, the game is due to show up on Steam Early Access by the end of 2014.

New release: Subterra

Subterra
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It has been a few months since I went trawling around RPG Maker game affiliate sites looking for new jRPGs, and when I did so today, I was not disappointed. Among the new releases that have flown under my radar is a Warfare Studios title known simply as Subterra.

The premise:

Earth is nothing but a distant memory to humankind now. Subterra is they place they know as home, an underground world, vicious and dangerous.

When Dian is diagnosed with a disease known as “The Pale”, Dryst, her brother and the Wielder, the only one who can use the ancient sword Mallbane to defeat the great evil Devordor who seals the entrance to Earth, will step up to his fate, to save his people and his dear sister.

Warfare Studios is hosting a free demo, which you can grab here. The full game costs $14.99; Windows only.

New release: Tactics Maiden

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Mangobile, the developer behind the ever-growing mobile strategy RPG franchise Kingturn, has released a brand new mobile strategy RPG by the name Tactics Maiden.

The developers have not released any sort of narrative summary, so I have no idea what the storyline is. In fact, it isn’t immediately clear to me whether this even takes place in the same universe as the Kingturn series. Perhaps that doesn’t matter much, though, as the setting and story of these games has never been particularly strong.

More important is the fact that Mangobile has finally released a new game trailer for this one (they’d just been reusing the same old trailer for their three prior releases), and it shows battles that are undeniably in the Kingturn style:

(There is also an 11-minute gameplay video showing a full battle if you want more detail.)

So what’s actually new here, aside from improved UI graphics and character sprites? According to the developers, there are a few things that make Tactics Maiden stand out from its predecessors. To my mind, the most significant of these is the addition of “flexible character builds with skill points that can be redistributed at will.” Previous titles had characters undergoing a rather rigid progression as they leveled–the ability to customize your character’s progression promises to be a big, welcome change.

Among the other new features: improved enemy AI, the ability to rename your characters, 5 difficulty settings that can be adjusted mid-game, 36 character classes, more than 70 skills, 85 battle scenarios, and more than 1000 equippable items.

Losing a battle now stings more than it did in Kingturn, as you won’t retain the experience, items and gold you gathered immediately prior to your defeat–you’ll have to win outright to avoid losing these. (You can also retreat from a battle to retain experience and enemy loot drops, but the game will fine you a certain amount of silver for your trouble.)

There is one big change that I think might end up being a step backward, however: conquering (and losing) outposts no longer affects maximum army size. This promises to reduce the strategic importance of gaining ground and holding on to enemy outposts; but more worryingly, it risks turning battles into drawn-out wars of attrition, since the enemy will have fewer constraints preventing them from reinforcing to full size even at the very end of each battle.

You can nab Tactics Maiden for iOS or for Android for $4.99. (The first 8 scenarios can be played for free if you want to try the game out before committing.)

Back to Back: Indie RPGs to fund

Oh my god, you guys! It’s been a full month since I last posted a Back to Back! What is even happening in the world of indie RPG crowdfunding right now, anyway? Let’s take a look and find out!

Of the games whose campaigns have ended since we covered them last time, only three hit their funding goals: After Reset, Elysian Shadows and Jotun. Unfortunately, this means that Braven Arts, FitRPG, Gravia Tactics, Snot, and Soul Sword RPG did not.

But that’s just an update on last month’s games–what’s new in September? The short answer: a lot. We have something of an indie RPG bumper crop on Kickstarter right now, so get ready for a long read!

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Moon Hunters announced

Moon Hunters
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Five-person Montreal studio Kitfox Games is working on an action RPG with local co-op support for up to 4 players. The name? Well, it’s right up there in the title: Moon Hunters.

The premise:

On one fateful summer evening, the Moon, source of all magic and spiritual power, does not rise. Your course is clear. You must set out alone or with the other chosen children of the Moon to solve the mystery and restore balance.

Without the Moon’s power, monsters rise up and chaos grows across the lands. Players must rely on one another in a dangerous, ever-changing world. As the days and nights cycle past, players use every last scrap of their wits, weapons, and magical studies to survive, craft, explore, and ultimately triumph. How you express your personality in difficult decisions shapes your reputation and, ultimately, how your tribe remembers you in the generations to come. What constellation would be your symbol?

Aside from local co-op, the thing that is perhaps most interesting about this game is that it promises a non-linear story progression. To wit: “The mythology of your character and world is determined by your actions, and the world reacts to you differently based on the mythology you build.” The process of building mythology, in turn, seems to be a combination of making dialog choices and exploring the world for landmarks with hidden myths.

Kitfox plan to release Moon Hunters to Steam Early Access sometime late this year; the estimated final release date is July 2015 (which means the developers have given less than a year to build the game–an unlikely feat). Moon Hunters is planned to be Windows-only.

The game is currently on Kickstarter, where it is already fully funded with 28 days left to go.

 

Elysis demo released

Elysis
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Word has it that indie Zelda-alike Elysis (previously known as “Spooky Quest”) has an updated demo.

As you may recall, Elysis is a Zelda-alike with lots of dungeons, highly frenetic combat, and a combinatorial weapons system that lets you modify your armaments.

The new Elysis demo reportedly features:

2.7 dungeons with puzzles and treasures.
2 Boss fights.
20+ Weapons / Usable items
30+ Addons
20+ Monsters
Customizable controls

You can nab the demo for free, although developer Fervir gives you the option to donate him some money in the process.

IndieRPGs.com Checks Out Lords of Xulima

I had the pleasure of being offered a copy of the Lords of Xulima beta a week or two ago–and so, of course, I took it upon myself to give it a go, recording video all the way. The results:

So, what’d I think?

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Jotun announced

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Will Dube writes in to announce Jotun, a Norse mythological Zelda-alike in development by Montreal indie studio Thunder Lotus Games.

The premise:

In Jotun, you play Thora, a Norse warrior who has died an inglorious death and must face the challenges of Viking purgatory to prove herself to the Gods and enter Valhalla.

Simple enough. The developers have stated that Jotun will focus on alternating between exploration and combat against huge foes in a structure reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. As they put it: “Jotun‘s core loop revolves around collecting Runes to summon and fight the jotun, gigantic Norse elementals.” The jotun boss fights are 2D and top-down, though, so perhaps Zelda is the better analog here.

Jotun’s character progression scheme sounds somewhat reminiscent of Zelda as well, with the player gaining new powers as they reach specific locations in the world:

Our progression system is all based on Shrines to the Norse Gods. These Shrines are scattered throughout the world and each one represents a specific God. Each God gives a specific buff to the character.
Although it is clearly quite early in development, that hasn’t stopped the developers from releasing an early teaser trailer showing off Jotun’s art and animation style:
http://youtu.be/2rfHbDyj0Lc
Jotun is being developed for Windows and Mac. Now that its Kickstarter has met its funding goal, the developers estimate that Jotun will be released sometime around September 2015 for Windows and Mac.

Dex hits paid beta, on Early Access

Dex
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You may recall our past coverage of side-scrolling cyberpunk action RPG Dex. Well, developer Dreadlocks Ltd. has written in to announce that Dex is now available as part of Steam Early Access; you can purchase access to the game for $15.99 right here.

There’s even a new early access trailer for the game, in case you want to see what state it’s in before throwing money at it:

The current early access build is for Windows and Mac only; final release is planned for late 2014 / early 2015 for Windows, Mac, Linux, OUYA and WiiU.

Caravaneer 2 gets free open beta

Caravaneer 2
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Word reaches me that Carvaneer 2, an open-world party-based post-apocalyptic wRPG with some really detailed economic simulation (announced here in late 2012) has hit open beta.

For those who’ve been following this site for a while, you may recall that the original Caravaneer was my second-ever review. I still think very fondly of that game, and I’m genuinely looking forward to trying out the sequel.

The beta is free to play in-browser over at the developer’s website. Did I mention that it costs nothing?