Latest Publications

New release: Anodyne

Sean Hogan of Analgesic Productions tells me that Anodyne (the surreal Zelda-alike I last covered on Checks Out) has just been released!

The premise:

In Anodyne, you explore and fight your way through nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young’s subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack.

This description doesn’t quite impart just how delightfully off-kilter the game’s mood is; it’s Zelda: A Link to the Past with an art house sensibility. (And I mean that in the best way possible.)

Here is Anodyne’s trailer, which gets the point across somewhat better:

Anodyne has a a free demo available, which I recommend trying if you haven’t done so yet. In addition, you can also listen to / nab the soundtrack here, and upvote Anodyne on Greenlight here if the mood strikes you.

Anodyne is available direct from the developers or on Desura for $8 for Windows, Mac and Linux; at some point, though, that price will be rising to $10. (A mobile release is planned for the not-too-distant future as well, but that’s not here just yet.)

Terra Aegrus 2: Rise of the Lich King announced, demo available

Terra Aegrus 2
Alexander Gray II writes in to announce the development of Terra Aegrus 2: Rise of the Lich King, a turn based single player RPG.

The premise:

An evil lich king is creating an army of undead and you and your party of adventures must find a way to destroy him.
You have to explore the land to find and destroy the required artifacts that will make the lich mortal, and then engage him in mortal combat.

Pretty standard stuff, all in all.

Per Gray, you’ll be in control of a four-character party from the start of the game. There is a very (as in, more than 2 years) old gameplay video up; there is a weirdly incongruous mix of anime and western art styles going on here, but if you skip to about 2 minutes into the video, you’ll see some turn-based combat that reminds one of some of the old Ultima combat systems:

There is already a free demo publicly available right now, though the full game is not planned for release until mid-2013. This one is Windows-only. Get the free demo here.

Old release: Pocket RPG

Pocket RPG
A little bit of browsing through the Google Play store has brought to my attention an action RPG by the name of Pocket RPG. Created by Tasty Poison Games, Pocket RPG was first released for iPhone and iPad in 2011, then for Android devices in summer 2012.

The premise:

Enter a world overrun by hordes of monsters. Explore trap-filled dungeons and face mighty bosses. Collect piles of treasure and items and invest in dozens of abilities and unlockable equipment. Test your skills against the oncoming darkness.

You can play one of three classes: blade master, dark ranger or battle mage (read: swordsman, bowman or mage). Here’s a trailer sh0wing you what the game looks like in action:

Per the developer,

Each quest in Pocket RPG is a new adventure. The hero starts at level zero with an empty sachel and collects items and rapidly builds their strength to dizzying proportions. Pocket RPG is not a “my numbers beat your numbers” game. Items matter and the way you use them is even more important.

The focus here is much more on action than character development, in other words; there is at least one reviewer out there convinced that this game is not an RPG at all. I can kinda understand why he’d conclude that, but if we accept that Diablo and Torchlight are RPGs, I think we have to accept this one into the fold as well, even if the level reset makes it more of an edge case.

You can nab Pocket RPG for $4.99 on the Apple app store if you have an iPhone or iPad, or if you’re an Android user, you can nab it for the weirdly specific (but nonetheless much cheaper) amount of $2.02 on Google Play.

Legend of Grimrock 2 announced…kinda

I’ve been reluctant to post this as news, given that this is more of a tease than a proper announcement, but I suppose it’s worth mentioning: Almost Human Ltd., makers of first-person dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock, have indicated that they are working on a sequel.

They have posted basically no details about this game at all, stating only this:

So, what’s next, you might ask. We thought we could share with you a glimpse of some new exiting [sic] things we’ve been working on.

I don’t even know if it’s even called Legend of Grimrock 2, frankly–I’m just using a placeholder name until the devs provide one.

Luckily, they did post a couple of screenshots, so it’s not like the announcement was completely devoid of content. Here, we can see that the sequel (expansion?) will feature new environments and playable races.

That is literally the full extent of anything that anyone knows about this game. Release date? No idea. Platforms? Unknown, but presumably the same as the last one. The screenies look nice, though. (Cool story, bro.)

Terra Incognita announced

Terra Incognita
During one of my customary game-spelunking expeditions, I caught sight of a strange and beautiful mock-up glinting in the deep. On closer examination, it turned out to be Terra Incognita, a strategy roguelike inspired by Jules Verne stories and the tales of real-world 19th century explorers.

What is Terra Incognita, you ask? The developer (who wishes to remain anonymous) describes it like so:

Terra Incognita is a roguelike-strategy-puzzle-game set in the late 19th century in which you will venture on unprecedented expeditions to regions never explored before.

Accompanied by some of the world’s best scientists, you’ll travel through deep, lush jungles, wade through cursed swamps, explore peculiar caves and cross deadly deserts, all while encountering exotic native tribes and menacing wildlife that defies any explanation.

Adventure awaits!

Also, I just feel compelled to point out here that one of the planned character classes is “Rabbi.” For real.

Terra Incognita Specialists

Here is the official List o’ Features:

Explore procedurally generated worlds with many different biomes, each with its own distinctive set of challenges for the ambitious explorer.

Plan and equip your trek with gear, weapons, scientists, porters, pack animals and much more. A good explorer is prepared for any eventuality.

Manage your resources to keep your trek alive and morale high. Balance your need for food and water with the desire to carry all that precious treasure back home.

Visit and interact with the land’s natives. Enter villages, trade and communicate with local tribes and civilizations that are unknown to mankind.

Loot mysterious temple ruins to gain fame and treasures, but watch out for deadly traps and curses that will compromise your men and the whole world around you.

Equip and utilize miraculous treasures to gain advantages, but be wary of unforeseeable side effects.

Fight and defend your trek against a wide range of wild animals, mystical creatures, cannibals, zombies and even dinosaurs.

Finally, here are some more mock-ups showing the game’s planned graphical style.

Terra Incognita is planned for release sometime in 2013 for PC and “tablet devices.” (That schedule seems a touch overambitious to me, but hey–what do I know.)

Below the jump, we have exclusive bonus details about the game for you to read. Check it out!


New release: Dungeon Lore

Dungeon Lore
Two-man studio 3D Attack announces the release of Dungeon Lore, a turn-based isometric RPG. The devs call it a “tactical RPG,” but you’re only ever in control of a single character, which (in my view) single-handedly disqualifies it from that subgenre designation.

There doesn’t seem to be a narrative premise posted anywhere, so let’s have a look at the game’s feature list instead:

• Turn Based Tactical RPG (non-grid based)
• Complete camera freedom! Rotate and zoom in all directions!
• Unique Looting System featuring almost 350 different objects
• 90 Achievements in total!
• Hand crafted beautiful dangerous dungeons and hunting grounds.
• Quest based gameplay
• Combat system featuring Melee, Ranged and Magic attacks
• High replay value due to monsters getting stronger when player levels up and random loot.
• Atmospheric soundtrack and sound fx composed exclusively for the game
• Hunting grounds to train and gain gold
• Hours of challenging gameplay
• Class-free dungeon exploration
• Search for traps and disable them using your skills!
• Raise character statistics to your needs and game style.
• Character creation process which allows to set stats and skills
• Magic system with 4 Elementals fighting at your side
• Incredible atmospheric and highly detailed dungeons
• Progress at your own pace. Stress free.
• Use Magic potions, rings and ear-rings to enhance your hero

So basically: it’s turn-based, atmospheric, isn’t class-based, uses enemy level scaling, and has lots of items. Got it. Here’s the trailer.

Dungeon Lore is exclusive to the iPad; grab it here for an extremely reasonable $1.99.

Opinion: “11 differences between Telepath Tactics and The Battle for Wesnoth”

I post this here mostly because I think it’s an interesting exploration of two different approaches taken by two indie strategy RPGs. A relevant snippet:

This difference in focus has knock-on effects that resonate down to even the smallest choices in the mechanics each game features. For instance: Wesnoth uses a zone of control mechanic to keep enemies from easily sliding through small gaps in your defense to capture towns. However, Wesnoth very seldom employs any sort of flanking bonuses against individual units. Telepath Tactics, by contrast, awards a near-universal 50% backstab damage bonus to attacks that hit from behind; there is no zone of control. Telepath Tactics is more focused on good formations and precise positioning; Wesnoth, on keeping control of specific points on the battlefield. Each game’s mechanics reflect its area of focus.

The full thing’s here if you’re curious. Checks Out Anodyne

Happy Friday, everyone! As a special treat, I bring to you a new episode of Checks Out, this time having a peek at the moody, atmospheric Zelda-alike Anodyne (previously covered here).

Sean Hogan, one of the game’s developers, updated the official demo yesterday in anticipation of Anodyne’s planned release on February 4th; I’ve been curious to give it a try for some time, so I took the occasion to grab the new demo and record my impressions:

It’s worth mentioning that Anodyne managed to nab an honorable mention in the IGF 2013 student competition, no mean feat.

I believe Anodyne is planned for a $10 price tag on release, but you can nab it for $7 if you pre-order now. As you could no doubt see in the video, I really enjoyed my time with the game–as such, I would recommend putting down that $7 whole-heartedly (or, alternatively, waiting and putting down $10 if you want to give the developers some extra dough).

Driftmoon release date anounced

Ville Mönkkönen of Instant Kingdom writes in to tell me that Driftmoon, the top-down wRPG we previously covered here, is due for release this coming month. To wit:

It should be between the 20th and the 28th [of February]. No exact date yet, but most probably somewhere during that period.

Mark your calendars! And in the meantime, here’s a trailer:

You can pre-order the game and get immediate access to the beta for €14.99 (roughly $20 in US dollars). There is also a free demo already available.

New release: Choice of Kung Fu

Choice of Kung Fu
Last month, Choice of Games released another of its Choose-Your-Own-Adventure / RPG hybrids, this one martial arts themed. Written by novelist Alana Joli Abbott, Choice of Kung Fu takes place in a fantasy version of ancient China. The premise:

Become the greatest fighter the world has ever known, harnessing the power of chi to manipulate the energies of the universe. Defeat rivals, find romance, and rise to become the Imperial Champion. Win the right to question the immortal Dragon Sage, who speaks just once every hundred years!

The fate of the Middle Kingdom depends on you! Will you play as male or female? Gay or straight? Will you battle against foreign invaders, or will you rise up against the Emperor? What question will you ask the Dragon Sage, the wisest of all creatures?

Choice of Kung Fu is available for iOS, Android, and–via the Chrome Web Store–Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Choice of Kung Fu Screenie