Latest Publications Checks Out Discord Times

Ever since checking out the early beta of Legends of Eisenwald last month, I’ve wanted to compare and contrast it with Aterdux Entertainment’s earlier title Discord Times (which sounds like a newspaper, but is decidedly a video game). Legends of Eisenwald is basically an unofficial sequel to Discord Times, so I figured it’d be interesting to take a step back and see how the titles differ. Here is what happened:

Some brief thoughts after playing:

  • Legends of Eisenwald is obviously a lot nicer-looking than Discord Times. On the other hand, Discord Times has a lot of interface niceties that make it easier to figure out how to play the game. Eisenwald will improve dramatically once Aterdux Entertainment adds those in.
  • Combat difficulty in Discord Times seems excessive given that units do not recover health at the end of combat. Legends of Eisenwald seems to be doing a better job than DT on that front, though it still suffers from occasional encounters with overpowered enemies. The developers could alleviate this issue by allowing you to scout the composition of a particular group of enemies ahead of time. I would also love to see them provide a means of escape if a battle goes poorly.
  • The Discord Times combat system is intuitive and familiar; I found it far easier to grasp than Eisenwald’s. I usually love grid-based combat systems, but Legends of Eisenwald’s system has such restrictive and arcane rules on unit positioning that I’m not sure it adds enough emergent tactical depth to make the accessibility trade-off worthwhile. I’ll need to give Eisenwald a second go before I make up my mind on that.

These are, of course, just my first impressions, and are subject to change with extended play. I am still very much looking forward to seeing how Legends of Eisenwald turns out.

Radio the Universe announced

Radio the Universe
Are you tired of hearing about new Zelda-alikes? I sure hope not! Radio the Universe is a strange, dark science fiction Zelda-alike by the enigmatic 6e6e6e.

The premise:

I blended classic Zelda and dark science fiction and drank the ensuing mixture. It was Radio the Universe.

Players will feel aesthetic and gameplay influences from titles like Yume Nikki, Symphony of the Night, Hotline Miami, and Dark Souls, with a tinge of 2D JRPGs thrown into the mix.

RtU is a challenging and atmospheric sci-fi game with SNES-style visuals and a sinister, offbeat narrative.

It might not sound like much written out like that, but watch this trailer and drink in the atmosphere–I’m pretty sure you’ll be sold:

6e6e6e has a Tumblr, but it hasn’t been updated since the start of his recent Kickstarter; there’s also a Youtube channel, but that hasn’t been updated since September. The main place to get information about the game, it seems, is its Kickstarter page. On January 24, 6e6e6e wrote the last of what is currently four updates:

what’s next?

sit back, check out the occasional development updates, and wait. the seed has been planted, and in time, this plot will yield a golden sea of video game plenty. the harvest is coming.

development is already underway. i’m steadily hammering away at the technical framework now and there should be some new media to show off soon.

I suppose it’s time to kick back and wait. I, for one, am terribly curious to see what comes next.

Partia: The Broken Lineage updated

Word has reached me that Team Imago put out a patch for their iOS Fire Emblem clone Partia: The Broken Lineage late last month. This brings the game to version 1.02.

Among the improvements:

  • bug fixes
  • optional 1.5X play speed
  • optional one-touch controls
  • a new arena map, and
  • some improvements to characterization.

And hey, whaddaya know–they even went to the trouble of making a video about all this stuff! Check it out:

Movie night: Wasteland 2

Wasteland 2, the game InXile successfully Kickstarter’d to the tune of nearly $3 million last year, just saw its first public video released over the weekend, and it’s quite a doozy. We’re talking 17 minutes of footage that…well, I won’t spoil it for you. Here’s the First Look–see for yourself:

New release: QuestLord

Developer Lava Level has just released QuestLord, an iOS FPDC that reminds me quite a lot of Might and Magic 4-5, albeit with real-time combat and a single character in lieu of a party.

Here’s the premise:

In QuestLord you assume the role of a lone hero out to save the Shattered Realm from certain destruction!

…wait. That’s it? That’s the whole thing? Come on, Lava Level! Where’s the foreplay? At least throw some gibberish fantasy words at me! Here, how about this: “In QuestLord, you assume the role of a lone hero out to save the shattered realm of Elfmanisel from certain destruction at the hands of the evil Lord Zexomino! Find the four Elemental Doohickeys of Power, or the world is surely doomed.”

Here is a trailer, which should make up for the anemic plot summary:

QuestLord is reputed to feature a real-time, swipe-based combat system; more than 100 interactive NPCs; more than 160 maps; 3 playable races (human, elf and dwarf), each with its own starting location; and “a wizard named Throzdin!!!!” Throzdin? Is that the bad guy? Okay. Substitute Throzdin in for Lord Zexomino (or whatever we decided the villain’s name is) above.

You can pick up QuestLord for the iPhone and iPad over on the Apple app store for $1.99.

EDIT: it’s now available for Android as well.

New release: Battleheart

In the course of my investigations into new(ish) indie RPGs I haven’t learned of yet, I’ve discovered Battleheart, a real-time squad-based RPG by Mika Mobile. This was released back in 2011, but hey: it’s new to me.

In keeping with the recent trend, there’s not much of a plot to speak of–or if there is, the developers aren’t speaking about it. Here’s the premise:

Battleheart distills some of the greatest elements of roleplaying games and real-time strategy into pocket-sized form! Create a unique party of heroes, and lead them in frantic real-time battles against monsters of ever increasing power. Lay waste to your foes with dozens of unique special powers as you gain experience, upgrade your party’s equipment, and craft them into the ultimate battle force!

The feature list:

• Easily command your army via simple touch commands.
• Create a unique party from numerous character classes, including stealthy rogues, powerful wizards and stoic knights!
• Customize your heroes via dozens of unique skills – literally hundreds of class and skill combinations!
• Make the most of your party’s skills to control the battlefield – turn your opponents into frogs, stun them with poisons, or simply destroy them with meteor strikes and whirlwinds of steel!
• Over 100 unique items to collect and equip across a 30+ level campaign, complete with epic boss battles!
• Put your custom party to the ultimate test in survival arenas, where rare and unique rewards can be found!
• Incredibly sharp animation and art designed specifically for cutting edge mobile devices!

In case that doesn’t give you enough of a sense of how this thing plays out, this trailer should probably help:

You can pick up Battleheart for $2.99; it’s on the Apple app store for iPhone or iPad, and on Google Play for Android devices.

Shattered Throne announced, playable

Shattered Throne
Checkmark Games (whom you might remember as the creator behind first-person dungeon crawler Dark Delve) has announced the development of a new project: Shattered Throne, a fantasy strategy title with mechanics patterned after Advance War’s.

There doesn’t seem to be a plot summary online yet, but this should give you the gist of what Checkmark Games is aiming for here:

Shattered Throne is a turn based strategy game heavily inspired by the Advanced Wars series of games from Nintendo. Unlike Advanced Wars however, the game is set in a fantasy world and features 3 different factions of unique units. Each faction also has 3 different Leaders that can be chosen, which will change the tactical approach and feel of each faction depending on which is chosen.

Shattered Throne is currently in beta, with a free (Windows-only) version available for you to download and play. You can grab it off of Google Drive here. Per the author, you’ll need to have both .NET 4.0 and XNA 4.0 runtimes installed in order to play.

Wayward announced, playable

Word has reached my ear of a new graphical roguelike in development by Canadian developers Unlok. That game, Wayward, has just reached beta and is currently playable in-browser, being built in HTML5 as it is.

The premise:

In the game, there is a large focus on realism and survival. Because of these elements, most weapons, and items will need to be crafted by natural objects found around the terrain. Unlike traditional roguelikes, in Wayward there are no levels; however, you can gain different skills which increase your effectiveness for each of the individual skills. You can also increase your strength (health), hunger (starvation), and dexterity (stamina), by performing skills that would realistically use one or more of those attributes, for example, parrying increases dexterity while mining increases strength.

I count nearly two dozen skills present in the game’s wiki, along with 17 types of animals and monsters and quite a few craftable items. You can get a sense of the game’s various features in this trailer:

So it looks like a more traditional roguelike version of Minecraft, basically. Cool, if sort of expected at this point. For my money, Wayward’s coolest feature is how customizable its user interface is–just about everything can be resized, minimized, and moved around the screen.

Wayward is currently free, though I have no idea if it will remain that way; for now, try the beta in your browser here!

Dungeon Lore released on Windows and Mac

Remember how I posted about Dungeon Lore’s release on iPad last week? It is now apparently out on Desura for Windows and Mac as well. You can nab it there for $4.99. (For more info on the game, check out my earlier write-up.)

Heroes of Steel announced

Heroes of Steel
Andrew Trese of Trese Brothers Software writes in to announce Heroes of Steel, a turn-based post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG with a 4-character party, ostensibly inspired by tabletop dungeon crawlers.

The premise:

In a fallen world, your group of young heroes are challenged to protect their people and the remnants of their broken society.  As the forces of the darker powers gather around the last remaining settlements, you must balance between fighting off the encroaching danger and uncovering the secrets of the shattering of the All-Father and the missing nine gods who did not fall under the shadow of the dark.  Only by unraveling the secrets of the underdeep and overcoming the fear, greed and corruption boiling in what is left of your people will you be able to avert the destruction the dark gods are planning.

Heroes of Steel is going to have a top-down, tile-based, turn-based, squad-based combat system. (That’s a lot of bases to cover, but I think the Trese Brothers should be up to it.) The brothers T plan to include four character classes–essentially, fighter, cleric, wizard and thief–each with its own skill tree to allow character customization as you progress.

Heroes of Steel is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, and is already more than halfway funded less than a week in.

Per Andrew Trese, “Currently we are headed to the Android only.  The KickStarter includes an App Store stretch goal, and we might convert there eventually.  But, right out of the gate, Android.” Assuming they meet their goal, release of Heroes of Steel “may be only a few months away.”

Want more info? Hit the jump for more details straight from the mouths (emails, actually) of the developers!