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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.

New release: Elliot Quest

Elliot Quest
The past few months have been tough–I’ve had to pour enormous amounts of time and effort into game development, and that means that I’ve missed certain things that I really should have been on top of for Alas. One such a thing is the PC release of Elliot Quest!

You may recall Elliot Quest, the side-scrolling Zelda-alike inspired by Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. We previously covered it here back in mid-2013. In November of 2014, Ansimuz Games (i.e. Mexican indie developer Luis Zuno) released Elliot Quest on PC; and today, it is available for WiiU as well.

The premise:

After Elliot’s wife disappears, he falls sick and attempts to take his own life–only to discovers that he can’t die. Plagued by nightmares and growing weaker by the day, Elliot seeks out a local Sage, who tells him that he’s the victim of a rare curse. A demon called a Satar is slowly consuming Elliot’s vitality. If Elliot can’t find a cure to the curse before it’s too late, he will become a Satar. His only hope is to ask for the help of one of the island’s Guardians, who have kept the Satar from taking over Urele. Elliot can’t die—but he’s still running out of time.

There’s a trailer right here:

Elliot Quest is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam and direct from the developer at a $9.99 price point; and for WiiU for $12.99. It seems to be available for OUYA too, though I can’t find a price listed. Zuno has stated that he’s going to port the game to the Amazon Fire TV as well, though I haven’t been able to find a link to it.

A Dragon Named Coal announced

A Dragon Named Coal
Rachel Blue writes in to announce a new side-scrolling Metroidvania / action RPG called A Dragon Named Coal. In development by Clever Crow Games, ADNC features branching dialog options, open-ended exploration, and the ability to play as a baby black dragon who runs around hacking people to death with an improbably large sword.

The premise:

Civil war hollows out a legendary kingdom to a husk of its former glory. In a last effort to save his people a king embarks on one last quest. But a young outcasted dragon named Coal may be able to accomplish what the king’s great armies and sorcerers cannot. For his decisions will echo throughout generations to doom or save everyone.

The planned list of features reads as follows:

  • Explore a dark fantasy open world that reaps what you sow
  • Cleverly composed levels that reward exploration and experimentation
  • Your decisions drastically change how villains and heroes develop
  • Upgrade your skills with a Skyrim style system reworked for metroidvania mechanics
  • Flexible companion system with characters that change based on playstyle

Though A Dragon Named Coal is in pre-alpha, the devs have already made a browser demo available in order to gather player feedback. I have played through a bit of it myself; it’s still quite rough, but that’s to be expected of a pre-alpha. The game already has some lovely music and voice work, though, and I believe it will turn out worthwhile if they can just improve the game’s controls and combat mechanics.

Blue estimates that A Dragon Named Coal will see final release sometime in 2017 for Windows, Mac, Linux, XBox One, and Playstation 4.

Blackfaun announced

Tim McMahon writes in to announce Blackfaun, a top-down action RPG in development by Wild Guess Software that he describes as a mix between Diablo and The Binding of Isaac.

It doesn’t have a narrative premise just yet, only this: “Thematically, Blackfaun is a game about perspective – how each character’s point of view and actions determines the narrative.” So, I’m guessing they aren’t relying on a story to hook us here.

Mechanically, the game features a Diablo-style leveling scheme, 8-directional movement, and large mobs of enemies. McMahon writes: “The player’s main hand (left click) is all projectiles a la Isaac, modified by items that are equipped. The player’s off hand (right click) is a “mana burst” which by default pushes enemies away from the player. This is also augmented by equipped items.”

You can see this reflected in the game’s latest trailer:

Blackfaun is already Greenlit on Steam; it’s planned for release late this year below or around $15. Windows, Mac, and Linux.


Star Crawlers now in paid beta

Star Crawlers
The Star Crawlers team has emailed me to announce that the beta version of their sci-fi first-person dungeon crawler (previously covered here) has now been made available to purchase on Steam Early Access.

It’s $19.99, though there is presently a discount. Windows, Mac and Linux.

Edge of Eternity announced

Edge of Eternity
We previously covered Edge of Eternity on Back to Back–but given that it’s close to 300% funded, I think it’s safe to treat this one as a game that’s going forward with development.

In development by the four-person French outfit Midgar Studio, Edge of Eternity looks to me like the latest of a series attempts to capitalize on Square Enix’s recent failures. (And indeed, with a studio name like “Midgar,” how could it not be?)

In case there was any doubt that this is basically going to be a 3D Final Fantasy clone, the devs describe Edge of Eternity as a “tribute to JRPG classics,” with an active-time battle system and a mixed fantasy and sci-fi world. They write:

Edge Of Eternity s’inspire des mécaniques de jeu qui ont fait le succès de titres mythiques (tel que FFVII) pour en proposer une vision modernisée.

Which, loosely translated, means that they want to create a modern take on the jRPG using mechanics from mythic titles like Final Fantasy VII. The main thing that seems to set Edge of Eternity apart from FF7 and the like is the devs’ apparent commitment to breaking with linearity, providing an open overworld and a branching, nonlinear story.

Speaking of story, here’s the premise:

Heryon was once a peaceful world. For years, the crystals gave the three realms of Astrya, Junor and Dehostra, the same access to powerful magic powers and created an harmonious balance.

Then They came…They came above Junor first. In no time, their massive spaceship destroyed everything that was once a majestic capital city and they took possession of the realm. Reynan, Grand General of Dehostra’s armies, took leadership for the defense of Heryon. He founded the Consortium and used all the magical power the crystals could give to launch the counterattack. Battles after battles, the Consortium pushed the invaders back and got them trapped into their landed spaceship transformed into an invincible fortress. Unable to break the siege, the enemy made a dreadful move: unleash of a terrible biological weapon people will soon call “The Metal Sickness”.

Now, 30 years later, the siege is still going on and Heryon lives in pain and in fear of a new open war.

There are just under 11 days left on the Edge of Eternity Kickstarter. The “digital copy of the game tier” lists an estimated delivery date of December 2016; Windows, Mac, Linux, XBox One, and Playstation 4.

New release: Ananias

Word reaches me that there’s a new mobile roguelike on the scene entitled Ananias. Developed by Slashware (a.k.a. Slashie, indie developer and creator of approximately one dozen roguelikes), this one is a traditional roguelike of the graphical variety, and is already up to version 1.56.

The developer describes Ananias as a straightforward roguelike with an interface specially suited for touch controls, and mechanics optimal for quick play sessions. The premise:

Dive to the bottom of the tombs of the gods using your smartphone’s browser. Take adventure with you everywhere!

If that isn’t descriptive enough for you, then perhaps the trailer will give you a better sense of things:

The game’s feature list is as follows:

  • Four player classes with different skills and play styles.
  • 41 enemy types, each with an unique feature that makes him stand apart from the rest.
  • Pick a monster to join you in your adventure, or transform a deadly foe into an ally.
  • Make your monsters evolve into powerful creatures using magic spells found into the dungeon.
  • Randomly generated environments, every game is a new adventure!
  • Explore five different environments as you dive into the bowels of earth
  • Hand-crafted authentic pixel art and Original Soundtrack
  • Challenge your friends online playing head to head to see who survives longer
  • Rise through both the global and friends ranking.
  • Play online on any modern browser or download for your Android device.

Ananias is available to play for free in-browser. In addition, those with Android phones can nab a free version and/or a $2.99 “Fellowship Edition” version that lets you play online with friends.

At PAX East!

Hello gentle readers! I’m taking a short break from posting while I attend PAX East (where I’ve already spotted such highly anticipated indie RPG titles as Severed and Liege). Anyway, fret not–posting will resume next week!