Latest Publications

Fallen announced

Constantine Ramenskii writes in to announce Fallen, an open-ended graphical roguelike that he’s been developing. Fallen takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting with steampunk elements.

The premise:

Humans had to escape to huge underground Catacoms after the Catastrophe.
The Catastrophe turned peaceful and predictable mana winds (unseen flows of magic) in to horrible hurricanes. Living creatures and machines (automatons) were dieing,   changing or going crazy (all three in different combinations).
The only was to survive was to flee into opened depth of Catacombs. Mana winds are weakened underground.
It formed completely new form o society of the world, now know as Fallen.

So English is clearly not Ramenskii’s strong suit–regardless, this game’s mechanics sound interesting. Fallen will have an open world with world map travel, with different NPC factions that can be friends or foes with one another. Character creation in Fallen is skill-based rather than class-based, with the goal of allowing the player to take on just about any role in the world that he or she desires.

A playable version of Fallen is planned for release by the end of August 2015. The game is currently being developed for Windows.

New release: The Enchanted Cave 2

The Enchanted Cave 2
Dustin Auxier writes in to announce the PC release of The Enchanted Cave 2, a graphical roguelike he’s developed in collaboration with ex-Rare composer Grant Kirkhope. It first released for Android and iOS back in April, and it’s just now popped up for Windows and Mac as well.

The premise:

A mysterious cave with seemingly infinite treasure and monsters was discovered years ago. A town was built around it, attracting eager explorers from all over to try their hand at finding some treasure. It’s known to carry the ultimate risk of never emerging again, though lately the number of missing explorers is rising much faster than usual…

Here’s a gameplay trailer:

TEC2, as its title suggests, is a sequel to The Enchanted Cave, a Flash game that Auxier released to some success back in 2009. Auxier states that this newer title focuses heavily on an overarching risk-versus-reward structure, in which you must temper your greed against the danger of overextending yourself in the game’s dungeons. That’s not exactly unbroken ground in the roguelike genre, but with so many recent roguelikes providing persistent progress between characters to ease the sting of overextending, I suppose that this works as a selling point.

The game’s official feature list reads as follows:

  • Randomly-generated floors of loot, monsters, and minibosses
  • Secret areas hidden in the walls of the cave with loot + plot details
  • A thriving town of tourists and eager explorers to talk to and trade equipment
  • Over 300 items, equipment, spells, and crafting ingredients
  • A soundtrack by the legendary Grant Kirkhope

The Enchanted Cave 2 is currently available for $4.99 on Steam (Windows and Mac), or $2.99 on iOS or Android. In case you want to try a demo first, there’s also a free “lite” version that you can play in-browser on Kongregate.

New release: Heroes of Legionwood: Age of Darkness

Heroes of Legionwood
Dayle Grixti of Dark Gaia Studios writes in to announce the release of Heroes of Legionwood, a jRPG with wRPG elements (or as he describes it, “like someone took the best parts of Final Fantasy and merged them into Baldur’s Gate“).

The narrative premise:

It has been 100 years since the world ended. Human civilization has been devastated by a malevolent force known only as the Darkness and only the last remnants of humanity remain. Playing the role of Locke, a young adventurer determined to save his people, you’ll discover a world where your choices have consequences and every victory comes with a price. Can you stop the Darkness, or will you perish along with the rest of society, never to be heard from again?

Per Grixti , the aforementioned wRPG elements include the ability to select your hero’s name, gender, and class; player-directed stat distribution upon level-up; Dragon Age-style relationship values among party members; non-combat talents such as Speech, Scouting, and Subterfuge; and the use of branching dialogue with choices that can have permanent consequences.

Here is the official feature list:

  • 10+ hours of non-linear RPG gameplay.
  • Turn based combat with three different difficulty levels.
  • Dynamic companions who react to your decisions.
  • Branching choices with far reaching consequences.

Heroes of Legionwood: Age of Darkness is the third game that Dark Gaia Studios has set in this universe, preceded by the jRPGs Legionwood: Tale of the Two Swords and Legionwood 2 (although Grixti states that you won’t need to have played those to get into this one). Heroes of Legionwood: Age of Darkness is planned as the first title in a forthcoming trilogy, although it can reportedly be played as a standalone game, with an ending that provides closure.

You can buy Heroes of Legionwood: Age of Darkness for $6.99 direct from the developer–or, if you need some more convincing, try a free demo. The game is made in the RPG Maker engine, so it’s Windows only.

New release: Serpent in the Staglands

Serpent in the Staglands
Word reaches me that Whalenought Studios–the indie studio behind action RPG Isle of Bxnes (covered here)–has just released its newest game, a wRPG by the name of Serpent in the Staglands.

The premise:

Featuring a chosen party of five, you role-play Necholai, a minor god of a celestial body who descends to the Staglands for a moonlit festival only to find the way home blocked and immortality slipping away. Seeking answers and aid, you take on a mortal body and the guise of a traveling Spicer. This isn’t a story of good and evil, saving the world or being a hero, it’s about intrigue and your adventure of survival in a harsh land.

Whalenought seems to have brought their trademark style of pixel art to bear in this one, albeit with much more of a gothic setting than their last title (and palettes to match)–what they refer to as “inspired by the late bronze age in an eerie Transylvanian landscape”:

Serpent in the Staglands features party-based play, characters built with skills rather than classes, and real-time-with-pause combat. In a decidedly old-school move, the world map is left unmarked–you are tasked with filling it in yourself by hand as you play, along with your own journal notes.

You can get the game for $19.99 on Steam for Windows or Mac, or on GOG for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Serpent in the Staglands also has a free downloadable demo if you want to try before you buy; you can nab that for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

New release: Chronicles of a Dark Lord Episode II

Chronicles of a Dark Lord Ep 2
Okay! We’re several months late with this one, but we’ll chalk this one up as a “New to Me.” Word reaches me that there’s now finally a follow-up to 2012’s anti-hero-focused jRPG Chronicles of a Dark Lord Episode I.

Developed by Kisareth Studios, Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode II War of The Abyss is an RPG Maker game in which you play–what else?–a dark lord:

A year has passed since Anto Calias fused with the essence of the dark god Xe’on and the War of The Abyss began. The forces of The Abyss are relentless in their campaign to annihilate the world of Cora. Magus Lee must unite with allies both old and new to prevent the coming apocalypse…but what will be the cost?

Sooooo, here’s the release trailer:

I’m…just…gonna ignore the fact that all of the game’s dark magic spells are apparently preceded by a neon purple Star of David. Not sure whose idea that was.

The devs state that CoaDL Episode II is over 30 hours long, and list the game’s features as follows:

– All new high-resolution artwork and lush landscapes will immerse you into the world of Cora like never before.
– New to the series is the inclusion of the Scion Grid for greater skill customization.
– The Active-Time Battle system returns with new features and enhancements.
– Professional-quality soundtrack, featuring independent artists such as Morte Mcadaver, Marielle Thomas, zero-project, and two tracks from acclaimed Youtube artist Eric “Erock” Calderone.
– No random battles. Enemies are visible on the map.
– Screen resolution options up to 1920 x 1080
– Enemies adapt and change tactics during combat.
– The choices you make have even greater impact and may even affect the final outcome and much more!

You can snag Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode II for $9.99 via Steam or Aldorlea Games. (It’s on Desura, too, but given that they haven’t been paying developers these past few months, I’d advise against buying games there.) Windows only.

Cogmind enters paid alpha

Word reaches me that there’s a new roguelike in town: Cogmind. Developed by the Taiwenese one-man studio Grid Sage Games, Cogmind is a sci-fi affair–you play as a robot that can reconfigure itself using parts scavenged from the shattered bodies of its enemies.

The premise:

Experience sci-fi tactical combat and exploration in a procedural world that combines traditional roguelikes with an immersive modern interface like no other. Build yourself from components found or salvaged from other robots. Attach power sources, propulsion units, utilities, and weapons to become a slow tank bristling with weapons, or a fast-moving flier zipping past enemies before they even have time to react, or a stealthy sword-wielding assassin/hacker, or whatever else you can come up with from the salvage you find. The situation can quickly change as you lose components and rebuild yourself from enemy remains. You are the Cogmind. Discover what that means as you explore a living, breathing world ruled by robots.

As you can see from the trailer, Cogmind employs ASCII graphics, though it does so with a panache that one doesn’t generally see in traditional ASCII roguelikes:

The feature list:

  • Build and modify a unique robot from parts found, or enemies defeated
  • Dynamic character development without XP/grinding
  • Procedurally generated world combined with hand-crafted content
  • ASCII evolved: Most advanced terminal interface ever
  • Thousands of particle effects and SFX
  • Fully destructible environment

The developer posits this as something analogous to a full, version 1.0 release, but he wants to continue working on the game, so he’s calling this an alpha. (This is, of course, par for the course with roguelikes, which can be complete and playable and yet subject to further development for decades.)

You can snag Cogmind direct from Grid Sage Games for $30. Windows only.

Telepath Tactics demo released

Turn-based tactical RPG Telepath Tactics (last covered here) recently (and by “recently,” I mean “a few weeks ago”) released a free demo.

The demo contains the first handful of battles and cut scenes in the game, plus a small taste of the local multiplayer mode (you’re limited to the same 5-member army on a small 1-v-1 map, fighting against the computer). The demo runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux; you can nab it here.

Space Rogue enters paid alpha

Space Rogue
Artur Diodorov of Ukrainian indie developer Red Beat writes in to announce Space Rogue, a sci-fi outer space roguelike in the FTL style that has just entered the paid alpha stage.

The premise of this one is pretty simple:

You’re in a command of a little spaceship with a crew of few members. Fight, gather resources, upgrade your spaceship and crew in order to become space adventurer #1.

From what I can tell, this game takes the FTL formula and makes some tweaks. The art style is nicer, for one thing, and it seems to offer some pretty extensive rules customization. From the sound of things on Steam, it also cuts out certain features from FTL (like shunting power to different systems or having each individual member of your crew man those different systems for a boost). You can see at least some of this for yourself in the release trailer:

The one thing that isn’t clear to me is whether you’re permitted to roam the universe at will, or whether you’re constantly weighing the potential benefits of exploration with the risk of being overtaken by an encroaching fleet (as you are in FTL). I’m guessing it’s the former, as early access players have mentioned being able to backtrack to earlier star systems.

The game’s planned feature list reads as follows:

  • Every walkthrough differs from the next – unique game world is generated each time you start a new game
  • 6 races of enemies with distinctive features and battle tactics
  • Fast and exciting space battles
  • More than 200 random events and quests
  • Sandbox mode in which you can fine-tune the game world generation and some core parameters of the game

Space Rogue is available on Steam Early Access for $29.99; Windows and Mac.

Songbringer announced

Nathaniel Weiss has sent word (or should I say, brought song?) of a new procedural Zelda-alike he and the rest of Wizard Fu Games are developing. In case you haven’t guessed, that would be Songbringer.

You may recall me mentioning Songbringer in our last Back to Back; the game got funded to the tune of 167% of its goal, and now development begins in earnest. The premise:

you journey through procedurally-generated worlds overflowing with recently awakened demons, virus androids and other sullied creatures. Along the way you will uncover long lost devices and combine them into powerful artifacts. If you are skilled with the nanosword you will vanquish giants and save a planet from being overrun.

This isn’t the first procedurally generated Zelda-alike we’ve seen–there’s King Voxel and Lenna’s Inception, to name two–but this might be the most visually rich one to swing around the block thus far:

The planned feature list includes:

  • Procedurally generated – over 300 million possible worlds
  • Deterministic six-letter world seed always creates the same world on any platform
  • 1 world seed uniquely generates: 1 overworld, 9 dungeons, 9 bosses, 25 combinable items and at least 200 secrets
  • Roguelike-inspired permadeath option with extra rewards for players who dare so greatly
  • Online leaderboard highlighting the top players based on completion time, percentage of secrets uncovered and game mode (regular or permadeath)
  • An epic science fiction narrative featuring a spacecutter named Songbringer, its crew of art-warehouse comrades, psychedelic cacti, an ancient evil army, and the Second Great War of Wizards
  • 8-bit pixel art fused with 32-bit shaders and 3D effects
  • Gamepad support

Songbringer is being developed for “PC, Mac, Linux and possibly iOS, Android, PS4 and Xbox One.” Weiss writes that the game is currently about 30% completed; the earliest possible release would be at the end of 2015.

OneSamurai: Dusk announced

Andrew Sutton of British indie studio Flaming Eye Games writes in to announce OneSamurai: Dusk, an RPG he’s developing set in feudal Japan.

Sutton describes the game as a “tactical RPG,” but you can recruit no more than 3 companions over the course of the game, which pretty clearly indicates that this game does not actually belong to that particular subgenre. Rather, OneSamurai appears to be an open-world wRPG that just happens to have turn-based combat.

The premise:

The year is 1274 and the Kamakura Shogunate is celebrating the 82nd year since its establishment by Minamoto no Yoritomo. The current shogun Prince Koreyasu is also celebrating his 10th birthday under the regency of Hojo Tokimune. But all is not as stable as it seems. Only 16 years earlier the ruling Goryeo dynasty of Korea was forced to swear fealty to Kublai Khan the grandson of Genghis Khan and his Mongol Horde. Kublai Khan has aspirations to conquer from the coast of the Atlantic to the coast of the Pacific and his gaze may soon fall east. Inside Japan’s borders itself many different clans vow for land, power and strength and some for the chance to eventually rule the land of the rising sun for themselves. You start as a single man with no clan, land, power or strength but in end may have the potential to divert the course of Japanese history.

OneSamurai is 3D, and graphically speaking, it bears a passing resemblance to Iron Tower’s Age of Decadence engine:

The game’s planned features include:

  • Turn based tactical combat
  • Stats based leveling
  • Open world map with over 50 unique villages, towns, cities & castles.
  • Over 150 quests covering events of Kamakura Shogunate and clan quarrels
  • 3 main different classes with different play styles
  • 3 different companions with different play styles to complement your own or oppose it
  • Decisions system which can change the outcome of the final game.
  • Ability to import character from this game to next
  • Over 30 Different Clan with the chance to help these clans in territorial conflict and increase their personal strength.

OneSamurai: Dusk is the first part of a planned trilogy–Sutton states that “Night” and “Dawn” will eventually follow Dusk, with each reflecting changed historical circumstances later in the Kamakura Shogunate.

OneSamurai: Dusk is planned for release on Windows, Mac and Linux in summer 2015 (which presumably means that the game is already finished and is now in the “fixing final bugs” stage, given that summer 2015 is right on top of us). There’s a free playable demo of OneSamurai’s turn-based combat system available for download right here. The full game is on Steam Greenlight, where it awaits your upvote.