Latest Publications

Courier announced

CourierAdam Prack writes in to announce Courier, a Zelda-alike in development by curiously Biblical-sounding company Adam Creations.

The premise:

The Kingdom of Veilend (the land of Courier) has fresh memories of a war they fought against a neighboring kingdom to defend their lands. Attacks start surfacing that appear just as the attacks that led to the previous war, so tensions rise and a lowly mail carrier attempts to find the real truth behind it all.

Courier reminds me a bit of Bloom, in that the main character has no attacks, only defensive abilities. In the words of Prack, it eschews combat in favor of “environmental obstacles, puzzles, and helping people.” He specifies:

You’ll have the ability to block and dodge as the adventure goes on (both are unlocked abilities), but attacks are not available.  There are no random battles, no menu-based battles, and only a small amount of enemies.  These play out more as mini-boss or boss battles.  These range from defeating the enemies with the environment or making them inadvertently defeat themselves.

You character collects stamps to increase his maximum health, and in true Zelda fashion, these are scattered throughout the game world in hidden locations.

Here’s a trailer that should hopefully get the idea across:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOGARK-a4_U

Courier is currently planned for release on Windows, Mac, Linux and WiiU in 2015. Courier is on Kickstarter–Prack still plans to releasde the game if it fails to secure funding, though the development will be significantly delayed.

DracinMorte announced

DracinMorteGregory Johns writes in to tell me about DracinMorte, a gothic 3D action RPG in development by Mad Labyrinth Studios.

The premise:

The story revolves around the main character who is a Necromancer King that runs one factions of many in the underworlds. The other factions band together and remove him from his throne leaving his powerless and near death. The souls that he cares for being a king and a necromancer save his life and offer him aide throughout the game. He now has to forge new alliances with new undead summons, who are your companions throughout the game, as he fights to regain his throne.

Design-wise, it seems that the lion’s share of the thought lavished on DracinMorte so far has been focused on skill systems. Skills feature Diablo 2-style “synergy,” in that points put into lower-tier skills will still effect marginal improvement in higher-tier versions of that skill. Disarming traps gives you materials that can be used in crafting, and quests will have branching paths based upon dialog choices–and certain dialog-focused skills, such as Sense Motive, will give you more options in that arena.

The game can be played in both first and third person modes. The pre-alpha combat demo mostly just shows it in third person, however:

Dracinmorte is on Kickstarter; the developers assure me they’ll be sticking with development (albeit much more slowly) if the campaign fails. Given the game’s enormous $120,000 funding goal, I think it’s good that they have a Plan B in place.

Mad Labyrinth hope to have the game out for Windows, Mac and Linux by late summer 2016. In the meantime, you can play the game’s pre-alpha demo to try it out yourself.

Temple of the Abyssal Winds announced

Temple of the Abyssal WindsGeoff Dunbar of Merry Prankster Games writes in to announce development of a new party-based isometric wRPG called Temple of the Abyssal Winds. The premise:

Twenty years ago, the demoness Urgoroth rose to power from the depths of the Temple of the Abyssal Winds. She was defeated, but your parents were lost in the conflict. Your aunt and uncle have raised you in the small village of Tomm’s Crossing, where life has been mostly peaceful. Until now…

Whaddaya mean, “Until now…”?! I…I get to keep living a peaceful life as a villager, don’t I? It’s not like I’m gonna have to rally a party and lead it into the temple to slay the demon or anything, right? Oh gawd, I hate it when game developers don’t tell me what’s going to happen next!

Temple of the Abyssal Winds employs a real-time-with-pause combat system reminiscent of Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights, which you can see in action in the trailer below:

Dunbar’s previous release, 10 Fantasy Fights, seems to have been something of a tech demo to prepare the engine for Temple of the Abyssal Winds. It’s available for free, if you’re curious to know what combat in this game is probably going to be like.

Temple of the Abyssal Winds is due for release sometime in 2014 for Windows and iPad.

Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

Welcome back to Back to Back, where we take a look at all the world of indie RPGs and crowfunding.

The success rate for the last round of games was unusually high. Of the games we looked at last time, Celestian Tales: Old North, Chaos Reborn, Dragon Fin Soup, Earthlock: Festival of Magic, Serpent in the Staglands, and Toby’s Island were all funded successfully! Only Arrelia and Dungeon Bash failed to meet their goals.

So what’s new? I’m glad you asked! It’s a relatively small slate of games this time around, but there are some really interesting ones in here:

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Deity Quest announced

Deity QuestDavid Maletz writes in to tell me about Deity Quest, a Pokemon-inspired jRPG in development by two-person outfit Fancy Fish Games.

The premise:

you play as an ambitious new god recently graduated from the Ethereal Academy. Despite being assigned as a simple lower deity of the world of Aberos, your goal is to become the Overgod, the most influential god of all. To get to the top you’ll have to convert followers to fight for you, support your followers in fast-paced 6 vs. 6 battles, develop your divine magic, and compete with other deities, including your cheeky school rival. The game also features large procedurally generated locations to explore, challenging dungeon-crawler-esque quests, and multiplayer arena battles/trading.

Here’s a trailer showing how this actually looks in practice:

And here’s the feature list:

  • Convert Followers – Discover 128 unique follower types throughout the land of Aberos, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and skills.

  • Develop as a Deity – Gain powerful magic unique to your alignment to support your followers and smite your enemies.

  • Explore Aberos – Travel through locations and quests, finding items and secrets, solving puzzles, gaining experience and discovering new followers.

  • Fight 6 vs. 6 Battles – Use strategy to manage and support your followers as they fight, and get the most out of their individual skills.

  • Become the Overgod – Race your rival, battle other deities and solve a murder mystery as you strive to become the Overgod of Aberos!

Deity Quest is due for release on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android sometime in the next few weeks. Maletz says the game will cost $10, or $15 for a special “extended edition.”

The Wizard announced

The WizardJan Lachnit writes in to tell me about The Wizard, a free turn-based dungeon-crawler in development by Hypnotic Owl (i.e. himself and his friend Hannes Flor).

The premise:

You play as the exceptionally handsome, but uneducated wizard Kevin and your good looks have just been stolen.
To get them back you are forced to learn various magic spells on the fly and pursue the mysterious thief through the dangerous dungeons underneath the wizard academy.

You’ll be in charge of a single character–the titular wizard–with a book of spells that you can cast by drawing patterns around the wizard himself. You will also have the ability to upgrade those spells yourself.

Here is a goofy little trailer that should give you the gist:

Jan says that The Wizard is most likely a few months away from release, at which point it will be released as a browser game.

Drox Operative, Din’s Curse, Depths of Peril released on Linux

Steven Peeler of Soldak Entertainment, steadfast developer of quality Diablo-style aRPGs with interesting procedural generation techniques, has announced that three of his past titles–Drox Operative (reviewed here), Din’s Curse (reviewed here), and Depths of Peril–are now available for Linux for the first time.

You can snag Drox Operative here, snag Din’s Curse here, and do likewise for Depths of Peril here. (The Demon War expansion for Din’s Curse is also out for Linux.)

All of the games now have Linux-compatible demos available as well: here for Drox Operative, here for Din’s Curse, and here for Depths of Peril.

New release: Eternal Lux

Eternal LuxMartín del Río (a.k.a. Káwa Project) writes in to tell me about Eternal Lux, a new strategy RPG he’s created for Android. (If the name “Káwa Project” sounds familiar, that would probably be because of Aidinia RPG, covered here last year.) Eternal Lux has simple 16-color graphics and a MIDI soundtrack meant to evoke the old Ultima games of yore.

The premise of Eternal Lux is pretty straightforward:

“Have you noticed? The animals are running about scared, the plants have stopped growing, the sky has become covered by the darkest clouds humankind has ever seen… Lord Ympavid is awake.”

Night has fallen upon the land of Elocesia, and it’s up to you and your party of adventurers to save it!

Among the game’s features:

• 16-color old-school graphics!
• Awesome MIDI soundtrack!
• Lots of dungeons to explore and treasures to find!
• More than 20 different items and pieces of equipment to obtain!
• Over 30 different classes of monsters to fight!

First impressions: I’ve played up to a little past the first quest and boss, and so far it’s quite simplistic. There isn’t much in the way of party creation or management outside of battle. You begin with two melee fighters and a bowman, and that’s that. There isn’t anything like character customization or alternate equipment load-outs. It’s simplistic in battle, too; the bowman can shoot enemies anywhere on the battlefield, and every character moves no more than a single space per turn. There is no magic that I have seen. From what I can tell, there is never any reason to do anything other than have your fighters hang out and pass their turns while the bowman picks off the enemies (very slowly) advancing across the battlefield. Thus far, I can count on one hand the number of battles where my melee fighters actually ended up having to take a swing at an enemy.

Despite (or perhaps because of) its extreme simplicity, Eternal Lux makes for a pleasant little time-waster. The setting is charming, and selecting optimal targets for the bowman is just engaging enough to keep me occupied on my train ride to and from work. And perhaps it gets more involved later on?

Eternal Lux is an Android exclusive, and is 100% free. You can snag it from Google Play here.

Ruins of Endoth announced

Ruins of EndothDaz writes to me from Ruined Games to announce Ruins of Endoth, a top-down 2D action RPG with procedurally generated environments.

Daz sums up the current state of the game as follows:

  • 10 procedurally generated dungeon levels (potentially infinite in the full release)
  • Fully randomised loot, calling from 10 base item types with up to 20 variations in each.
  • Normal, Magic, Rare and Legendary loot classification – all with separate algorithms that determine the scope of the random rolls.
  • Semi-randomised monster distribution. I have some levels with pre-determined monster types and within that I allow some to spawn and others to not, and also each individual monster has unique stats (within a range for the particular class).  These also scale based on player level at the time they encounter them.
  • Corpses to loot.
  • Three different chest types.  Normal, Silver and Gold.  Silver and gold require keys to open which again are randomly spawned on creatures/chests – along with random spawning of chests
  • Level Clear bonus.  Each level can be played how you wish but you get an abstract ‘Level Cleared’ bonus reward of cash/items/keys if you clear a level of monsters.
  • Player stats and levelling.  The player has Str, Dex and Vit as his Primary Stats and these directly affect Secondary attributes such as RNG (Ranged attack), MEL (Melee attack), Life (Hit Points) and also your total damage output with both kinds fo weapons.
  • Music from Matthew Pablo for the Title screen and Credits.
  • Much more I’m probably forgetting
Full version of the game will expand upon all these elements, and also add randomised main and sub-quests and possibly some item manipulation (enhancement, socketing etc?) as well as merchants, secrets and lots of other content.

This teaser trailer should give you an idea of how it plays:

Daz states that he’s just released a free demo (Windows only)–you can snag it here. Ruins of Endoth is tentatively scheduled for full release in June or July of this year.

Interview with Lars Doucet

Today we have an interview with Lars Doucet of LevelUp Labs, one of the two core members of the team that brought us the delightful RPG / Tower Defense game Defender’s Quest (a game which, in my opinion, was the first such hybrid to actually get the “RPG” part more or less correct).

Today, LevelUp Labs issued a surprise announcement about Defender’s Quest II’s music. Kevin Penkin, who composed the soundtrack for the first Defender’s Quest, will be returning; no big surprises there. What is a surprise is that the title theme will be composed collaboratively with game music legend Nobuo Uematsu.

Hit the jump for more details on how LevelUp Labs snagged Nobuo Uematsu; their plans for Defender’s Quest 2 design and mechanics; and the promising open source game development framework they’ve been using to make these games.

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