Latest Publications

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.

Legends of Eisenwald release date announced

Legends of Eisenwald
Alexander Dergay of Aterdux Entertainment writes in to announce that Legends of Eisenwald will be getting a final release on July 2, 2015.

There’s a new trailer to accompany the announcement:

Legends of Eisenwald is currently in Early Access on Steam for $19.99. The developers also provide a purchase link to The Humble Store, where it seems to be priced at $15.00.

New release: Dead State: Reanimated

Dead State Reanimated
Annie Mitsoda of DoubleBear Productions writes in to announce that they’ve just released a special enhanced edition of the zombie apocalypse-themed wRPG Dead State on Steam and GOG.

You can check out our first impressions piece on the original Dead State release here. The devs state that the new enhanced edition features smarter AI, a new Hardcore mode, rebalanced items, overhauled combat balance, new animations, new sound effects, and new areas to explore. Buildings can also now have alarm systems present for you to deactivate (and which can attract zombies if you accidentally set them off). Here’s the full changelog.

And here’s a trailer:

Dead State: Reanimated is free for players who already own the vanilla release of Dead State–and those who do not will get the update automatically when they buy the game. Dead State is $29.99 on Steam and on GOG; Windows only.

New release: Chroma Squad

Chroma Squad
Saulo Camarotti writes in to announce the release of Chroma Squad. Created by Brazilian indies Behold Studios (whom you might recall as the developers behind Knights of Pen and Paper), Chroma Squad is a strategy RPG themed after the goofy 1990s TV show Power Rangers.

It’s not merely inspired by the show, however–it’s inspired by the very act of making the show:

Chroma Squad is a tactical RPG about five stunt actors who decide to quit their jobs and start their own Power Rangers-inspired TV show!

Cast actors and purchase upgrades for your studio, craft weapons and giant Mechas out of cardboard. Once the cameras are rolling, you will control your cast of five colored-jumpsuit-clad warriors in dramatic turn-based battles!

It’s an interesting narrative take on the strategy RPG formula, for sure. And in case there was any room for doubt as to how not-seriously this game takes itself, here’s the release trailer:

The developers have provided the following official feature list:

  • Create your own TV studio: hire actors, upgrade your equipment, do marketing, craft weapons, costumes and giant cardboard robots!
  • Tactical RPG combat with a twist: combine your heroes’ abilities with Teamwork maneuvers!
  • In-Depth RPG systems with skill trees, random equipment, crafting, and branching storyline!
  • A love letter to tokusatsu and the Japanese series of our childhood!
  • Deliciously-animated pixel art and a chiptune soundtrack that shines like justice!

Chroma Squad is out for Windows, Mac, and Linux–you can snag it for $15 direct from the developers, on GOG, on Steam, and on the Humble Store. It will be available for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 as well, but there’s no release date for that just yet. Checks Out Battle Brothers

I bet you didn’t expect two episodes of Checks Out within one day of each other, did you? What can I say–I like to keep you guys guessing!

Today, it is my pleasure to check out the public alpha of Battle Brothers by Overhype Studios. Developer Jan Taaks was good enough to send a copy my way recently. In fact, he’s been offering me copies of this game as far back as February 2014, but I wanted to wait until it was a little more feature complete to give it a look. Now seemed like the right time, and so I sat down with it and recorded the experience. Here is what happened:

So! What’d I think?

(more…) Checks Out Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria

I recently had the good fortune to receive a copy of Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria, courtesy of Adam Rippon of Muteki Corporation. As is my wont, I checked out the beginning of the game while recording the experience:

So, what’d I think?


Back to Back: Indie RPGS to fund

Greetings, indie RPG connoisseurs! During my absence, the world of indie RPG crowdfunding continued to change, and all of the unanswered questions we had in our last outing have now been answered.

Since we last looked in, Crosscode, Dungeons of Aledorn, Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, and Icy succeeded in reaching their funding goals. Less fortunate were Aylus: Exiled Dominions, Bloody Monday, Harmonia Tactics, Melancholy Republic, Mystic Tales: Legend of the Janovi Gem, and Ralin – Dwarf Wars.

Here are some of the titles now seeking funding:


New release: Dex

RPG news has been a bit slow lately, or so it has seemed–I keep digging down into my inbox and deleting dozens of emails from PR flacks about games that aren’t even arguably RPGs, then getting frustrated and running off to do something else. But wait, what’s this? Imagine my delight to find out that Dex (previously covered here) is now out!

Developed by Czech indies Dreadlocks Ltd., Dex is a side-scrolling action RPG set in a grim cyberpunk future. The premise:

Explore the dark alleys of Harbor Prime and a host of diverse locations in both physical reality and the wild reaches of cyberspace.

Discover the truth behind an enigmatic AI striving to reach the Singularity, a theoretical “event horizon” in which artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence and all bets about the future will be off.

How will you play your part in the story?

Here’s the release trailer:

And here’s the feature list:

  • Rare melding of realism and creative vision: Realistic action, mature storyline, and complex character interactions meld with hand-drawn characters, animations, and locations, arcade-style melee combat, and an original conception of cyberspace.
  • Multiple solutions to problems: Operate in cyberspace or normal reality. Overcome obstacles using skills, weapons, special equipment…
  • Meaningful character progression choices: Will you be a silent assassin, a hacker, or a straightforward gunfighter? Improve your character and gear to unlock gameplay-changing upgrades that reinforce and customize your gameplay style.
  • Unique hacking mechanic: Transfer your consciousness to your avatar, overcome intrusion countermeasures, take action, and then return back to your body in a fraction of a real-time second to see the results – deactivated turrets, overloaded devices, enemies with crippled implants…
  • Neo-cyberpunk: Story deeply inspired by the cyberpunk novels of William Gibson and other classical cyberpunk authors, flavored with a contemporary concept of augmented reality.
  • Rich game world and mindful level design: Visit diverse locations in Harbor Prime, a futuristic city complete with luxurious skyscrapers, run-down shantytowns, and seedy red-light districts. Take part in street brawls, steal corporate data, overcome environmental hazards, and, of course, stay alive – no easy task.
  • Full voice acting: Interactive dialogues using hand-drawn sprite animations, fully voice-acted by professional actors.

Dex is available for $19.99 (minus any release discounts) on Steam, and in DRM-free form via the Humble Store. Windows Mac and Linux; the developers state that WiiU and OUYA ports will be forthcoming.

Battle Brothers enters early access

Battle Brothers
Word reaches me that the fantasy strategy / tactical RPG Battle Brothers (previously covered here) has been released to early access purchasers. In development by German indies Overhype Studios, Battle Brothers involves creating and equipping small armies of characters on an overworld map, maneuvering them to various locations via said map, and then “zooming in” to engage in turn-based tactical battles. It’s fantasy X-COM, basically.

There isn’t actually a proper story yet, though that’s on the list of planned features. For now, you’re just a mercenary company taking on whatever jobs you like without any overarching goal. To wit:

The game consists of a strategic worldmap and a tactical combat layer. On the worldmap you can freely travel in order to take contracts that earn you good coin, find places worth looting, enemies worth pursuing or towns to resupply and hire men at. This is also where you manage, level up and equip your Battle Brothers. Once you engage a hostile party the game will switch to a tactical map where the actual fighting takes place as detailed turn based combat.

The world map is procedurally generated, death is permanent, equipment is extensive, and character development is open-ended rather than class-based. It sounds great, basically. It also helps that the graphical style is beautiful and painterly (though at the cost of your characters having legs or torsos or animations):

The devs caution that BB is far from finished; they expect development to continue for another year or so. You can snag the current alpha of the game direct from the developers for $19.99, or on Steam Early Access for that same amount. Windows only.

New release: Telepath Tactics

After many years in development, the strategy RPG Telepath Tactics has now been released. Developed by Chicago-based indie Sinister Design*, Telepath Tactics is modeled after Fire Emblem (albeit with mod support, largely deterministic mechanics, and a wider variety of tactical systems).

The main game consists of a single player campaign; the premise:

It was deep winter when young Emma and Sabrina Strider fled slavery in the mines of Kovit. Exhausted and on the verge of starvation, they were found and taken in by a tribe of Lissit, reptilian warriors, who raised the sisters as their own.

Now Emma trains tirelessly, bent on revenge and the prospect of rescuing their ailing father from bondage. But the years are never kind to a miner, and time grows desperately short. The sisters will need all of their wits–and the help of some unlikely allies–if they are to succeed…

Story aside, the biggest thing that sets this game apart from other tactical RPGs is its systems design; Telepath Tactics combines determinism with numerous mechanics to offer the player a high degree of both control and tactical flexibility. This trailer offers a whirlwind tour of some of the game’s available mechanics:

On top of its breadth of tactical mechanics, Telepath Tactics also offers mod support, with a map editor you can use to create your own campaigns (and tweak existing ones). There’s an ongoing series of tutorials on how to do that on the developer’s website.

Some of the game’s remaining features:

  • Build an army from among 23 different classes! Learn more than 110 distinct attacks as you level up your units, then promote them to powerful prestige classes!
  • Confront aggressive enemy AI that reacts to your moves, grabs items, breaks down your barricades, doggedly pursues your most vulnerable characters, and shoves you into the lava every chance it gets!
  • Deal with merchants to keep your army well-supplied; make hard choices about your priorities both on and off the battlefield as you march against the slavers who imprisoned your family.
  • Undertake missions in both hand-crafted scenarios and procedurally generated dungeons and forests!
  • Tired of single player? Play 2-6 player hotseat multiplayer matches with randomized item drops, multiple play modes, and support for team matches!

Telepath Tactics is $14.99; Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can get it direct from the developer (Windows/Mac/Linux); on Steam (Windows only); and on (Windows and Mac only). Linux versions will be coming to Steam and GOG at some point, but it’s not yet known just when; likewise for Mac and Steam.

*that’s me. I’ve tried to keep this post objective and fact-based, but I’m naturally going to be sort of partial to this game. Just a heads-up.