Latest Publications

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!

Telepath Tactics release date announced

Telepath Tactics
After several long years in development, it appears the strategy RPG Telepath Tactics has now been given a firm release date.

The game has changed quite a bit since I first posted about it here, both in terms of focus and level of completion. Whereas multiplayer was supposed to be the main event back in 2012, it’s now focused on a Fire Emblem-style single player campaign–and that campaign is now finished, reportedly clocking in at close to 40 hours in length.

Here’s the last proper trailer to come out for Telepath Tactics, showing off the game’s completed animations and attack effects:

Telepath Tactics will be coming out for Windows, Mac and Linux on April 16, 2015.

Back to Back: Indie RPGS to fund

Since we last looked, only one Kickstarter campaign from our last Back to Back has ended: Himeko Sutori, unsuccessfully. Luckily, a bunch of games remain in search of crowdfunding, and we have a whole raft of new ones joining in this time around:


Severed announced

Severed Large
So! I was poking around the internets, as I often do, when I discovered that DrinkBox Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed Guacamelee, have been working on a first-person dungeon delver. It’s called Severed, and it has you playing as a young woman with a fantastical (and fantastically literal) sword arm.

The premise:

In Severed you play as a distraught warrior, who is lost in a fantastical world. She is tasked with the challenge of knitting together pieces of her story from both the past and the future. Our heroine will embark on a journey through a surreal non-linear world using a gesture based combat mechanic to defeat enemies in this first person adventure. Unlock new abilities, discover secrets of the land, and grow in power as you master both offensive and defensive techniques. Let Severed be your mystery to unravel.

The trailer shows off tile-based exploration of an incredibly colorful, borderline-psychadelic world, as well as combat that appears to use player gestures to direct sword slashes against specific portions of your enemies’ anatomy:

The planned features include

  • Use touch-based combat mechanics with offensive & defensive techniques against a variety of enemies
  • Have autonomy over upgrade paths
  • Gain abilities from Totems—magic armor created from the remains of defeated bosses
  • Force enemies into vulnerable states, then sever their body parts to upgrade equipment and abilities
  • Choose how to progress through branching routes as you avoid hazards and solve puzzles

Severed is planned for release in Summer 2015 for the Playstation Vita. (The developers have declined to comment on whether it’ll be getting ported to other platforms, though given the touch-based combat system, porting to smart phones strikes me as an obvious choice if the game does well enough.)