Latest Publications

New release: UnderTale

Word has it that surreal jRPG UnderTale (previously covered here) has now been released. Created by solo developer Toby Fox, UnderTale is a bit of an odd bird, with loads of minigames governing various mechanics and the ability to eschew combat entirely, instead making friends with your enemies.

The narrative premise is pretty short:

In this RPG, you control a human who falls underground into the world of monsters. Now you must find your way out… or stay trapped forever.

The release trailer, however, is decidedly more informative:

According to the developer, UnderTale includes the following features:

  • Killing is unnecessary: negotiate out of danger using the unique battle system.
  • Time your attacks for extra damage, then dodge enemy attacks in a style reminiscent of top-down shooters.
  • Original art and soundtrack brimming with personality.
  • Soulful, character-rich story with an emphasis on humor.
  • Created mostly by one person.
  • Become friends with all of the bosses!
  • At least 5 dogs.
  • You can date a skeleton.

You can get UnderTale for $9.99 direct from the developer or on Steam; Windows and Mac. There’s also a free demo available if you want to try it out before purchasing.

Overfall announced

Ibrahim Yildirim writes in to announce Overfall, an RPG with turn-based, hex-based combat and ocean-going exploration of a procedurally generated overworld. In development by Turkish indie studio Pera Games, Overfall takes place in the vast ocean world of Dys.

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of plot premise as of yet, but this comes close:

You will lead two heroes on a journey across the high seas in search of their lost king. You will encounter people of all breeds and all creeds; ally with them or crush them without mercy. You will face many dangers; survive them and you may unlock new characters, weapons and skills. In a world where death is permanent, you must return to the beginning and make a fresh start. The heroes you choose, the weapons you unlock and a world that is randomized mean that no two adventures will ever be the same.

Overfall is planned to contain roguelike elements, such as character permadeath and the aforementioned procedural world generation, as well as story encounters where your choices determine the outcome.

Now, about that “two heroes” bit: the developers tell me that you’ll start off with just those two characters, and while you will be able to recruit up to 36 people to fight for you, your party size in any given battle will be capped at 4 characters.

Here’s a gameplay trailer showing off the game’s cutesie, Hero Academy-ish graphic style:

Per the developers, Overfall is planned to feature all of the following:

* A huge, dynamic world to explore, ruled by a number of races in constant conflict – it’s up to you to help or betray them
* Challenging and addictive turn-based combat – careful strategy and cunning skill combinations are the key to victory against your foes!
* Permanent hero death, procedural world generation, and high replay inspired by classic roguelikes
* Interactive story encounters where the choices you make and the allies you recruit ensure no two journeys are quite the same
* Unlock new classes, weapons, trinkets and skills as you progress in the game
* Beautiful hand-drawn art of of 9 player characters, 36 combat companions, 80+ enemies, 80+ NPCs, and 100+ locations.
Note that while Overfall remains on Kickstarter, the developers have assured me that it will be released whether the campaign succeeds or not–the money is going towards more content and greater polish.
The game’s initial release is planned for December 2015 for Windows, Mac and Linux, to be followed by ports to tablets, PS4, and Xbox One.

The Age of Decadence release date announced

Iron Tower Studio has just announced a final release date for the long-awaited indie wRPG The Age of Decadence: October 14, 2015.

AoD Tweet

If you’d like to know more about the game, you should have a look at our Checks Out episode from last November.

Per the developers, The Age of Decadence will released on Steam, GOG, and Gamers Gate.

CivCraft: Legends of Ellaria announced

You may recall our prior coverage of CivCraft: Legends of Ellaria in Back to Back; now that it’s far surpassed its funding goal, this seems a good time to give CivCraft a proper announcement.

Arik Helman of developer Larkon Studio writes that CivCraft is a hybrid RTS / open-world action RPG; which is to say, you’re a sovereign in charge of building cities, raising armies, and fighting battles on behalf of your country, but you can always slip off and experience your country on foot as an adventurer.

The plot premise:

You are the king of a clan, that once belonged to a powerful empire… An old clan, who came from the decaying world of Marra in search for RiftStone, a special resource that is the base of all magic. For centuries, kingdoms on Marra have waged endless wars with each other for the rare and precious RiftStone. Ironically, the wars for that ultimate power have left the once glorious world of Marra as nothing but an empty, barren land. With the last RiftStone available and the finest wizards and researchers in Marra, you are determined to build a portal and travel through the rift to the source of the RiftStone, a world that is in the center of other worlds rift, a world which has more magical and rich resources that you could imagine: Ellaria.

Now, while you are a king and thus technically in charge of a whole country, you can choose to be a Bad King and run off on larks while off-loading your royal duties to a long-suffering adviser like a less sex-crazed version of Robert Baratheon. The developers state that your royal adviser will manage and expand your kingdom on your behalf while you run around going on quests, killing monsters and haphazardly looting–good to know.

I’m just going to quote the developers here:

Ellaria spans for over 450 square Km, containing many locations, houses and ancient dungeons. Each one – existing or built by you – has a complete interior, as well as items you can take and crafting areas you can use.
Your kingdom and its citizens are not just mindless workers. Each citizen in your kingdom has a name and a character. Your citizen will react to you, join you, give you quests and are a part of your story.

Pretty crazy! The developers have provided a lengthy (though clearly heavily edited) video showing the game in its current, pre-alpha state:

It’s all pretty absurdly ambitious–this should be interesting to watch, at a minimum.

CivCraft is still live on Kickstarter for a short period, where the “get the game” tier is $20. It will be getting a Windows / Mac Steam Early Access release in a few months (note that the game is reportedly 3 years into development already), with console ports to follow whenever CivCraft gets its final release.

Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

Welcome back to Back to Back, would-be backers!

Looking back at the campaigns that ended since our last Back to Back, only You Are a Dark God: Desolation Road was adequately backed, while Fantasy Dimension, Mooncrest, The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Groves, Wind and Tide, and World Cubed were sent back to the drawing board.

But hark–what now hacks its way through the undergrowth in search of visibility and the life-giving, monetary essence of crowdfunding?


New release: A Timely Intervention

A Timely Intervention
Word reaches me that Aldorlea Games has recently released a follow-up to their popular RPG Maker jRPG The Tale of a Common Man (previously covered here). The name? A Timely Intervention.

Here’s the narrative premise:

“Those who control the present, control the past. And those who control the past control the future.”
That’s what they say, anyway, but maybe they are wrong. Who knows?
If you were able to go back in time and take the risk of changing everything you know, would you do it?

For the first part of the game, play as 2 separate parties, as the story goes back and forth between them. Each party has its own hopes and goals; when they meet can those be reconciled as they join forces? And how can they know what their choices will bring? Delve into a brand new world full of characters, secrets and possibilities.

A Timely Intervention features redundant mouse and keyboard controls, customizable enemy visibility, customizable encounter rate, and customizable difficulty. In addition, the developers list the following features:

  • 10 characters
  • Five characters in the active party to add strategic depth
  • Many skills level up with use – how strong they are depends on you
  • 8-direction movement with mouse or keyboard
  • 17 side quests
  • 30 secret rooms to discover
  • 30+ hours of addictive gameplay


You can buy A Timely Intervention for $19.99 direct from the developer here. Windows only.

New release: Star-Box

Michael Flynn writes in to announce Star-Box, which sounds like “Star Fox” but is actually a sandbox RPG set in space (see what they did there?) Star-Box was developed by FlynnFour Games, the developer behind Fortune’s Tavern.

The premise:

Fly around an infinite universe exploring alien worlds, abandoned cities, overrun space-stations, derelict ships, and parallel dimensions with little more than your trusty laser and inept, mechanical bodyguards. Collect and equip hundreds of items, weapons, and armours to help you on your journey. Get swept along in the politics of the year 4135 and lead a rebellion against a corrupt government and powerful corporations. Fight and capture 19 enemy vessels in tactical, bridge-based combat, and hire crew members to boost your fighting skills. Fall foul of strange spatial anomalies, giant space-fish, and human-hating AI programs through dynamic events that can strike at any time. Chose to work for Oberon Bounties and hunt down the scum and villains of the universe, for the Collector’s Guild, Earth Military, or for the mysterious Cicero recently awoken from a 2000 year cryo-nap. And if you fancy a challenge: play the game in ‘Ironman Mode’ where you only get a single chance at making it big.

According to the Flynn, the game features both real-time away missions and ship-to-ship combat:

At its core is an ARPG where the player explores procedurally generated worlds, space stations, and derelict ships full of aliens, pirates, and human hating AIs; either in the infinitely generated ‘random space’ or on quests for one of five factions. The second part of the game revolves around space-flight and bridge-to-bridge space-combat where players, and their crew, battle other vessels in order to destroy or capture them for themselves.

The game reportedly features 19 different ships, hundreds of items, crew hiring, boarding of enemy vessels, and mechs you can deploy against your enemies.

Star-Box is $9.99. You can get it on Steam; Windows only.

New release: Blacksword Chronicles

Blacksword Chronicles
Dave Yen writes in to announce Blacksword Chronicles, a free RPG maker mini-jRPG developed and entered into Game Dev Fort’s recent Indie Game Maker Contest by the 3-person Watermark RPG team.

Blacksword Chronicles sports the following narrative premise:

Within the ruins of a fallen empire, in a room long forgotten by the world, a swordsman awakens remembering only the words:

“Jurdin Kylor must die.”

Thus begins the tale of a swordmaster’s pursuit of a shadowy nemesis across a dark continent ravaged by wars and evil. This is the first chapter of an epic set in a massive world of aurablades and mages, of elves and demons, of secret societies and ancient cults.

According to Yen, the game is short–only 2.5 hours long–but it also has the advantage of being free. You can download it here for Windows.

Forgotten Forces announced

Forgotten Forces
Tassilo Rau of German indie studio Bumblebee Games writes in the announce Forgotten Forces, a first-person dungeon delver they’re developing.

The premise:

Drive deep into the mysterious caverns discovered below, search for ancient artifacts, translate foreign inscriptions and solve tricky riddles to reach it’s depth and discover an ancient mystery.

Here’s a teaser trailer–as you can see, Forgotten Forces is going to be party-based, with real-time fights and cooldown timers somewhat reminiscent of Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder (though I don’t believe you’ll be maneuvering your party around the environments during a fight as you would in those games):

The developers note that you can create your own party of characters and recruit NPCs into your party. The game will feature spell-crafting and item crafting, a guild that provides quests, and NPC encounters with dialogue trees and multiple different outcomes. They state: “Expect at least 20 different creatures to battle, 30 floors to explore, 50 items to collect and ten hours to play.”

As the trailer suggests, Bumblebee are currently trying to get this one through Steam Greenlight; you can vote here if you’re inclined to give the game a push. Full release is planned for sometime in 2016.

New release: Celestian Tales: Old North

Celestian Tales Old North
Word has reached me that Ekuator Games has just released Celestian Tales: Old North. Previously covered here, Celestian Tales: Old North is a jRPG with a watercolor visual aesthetic and fraught moral quandaries against a backdrop of impending war.

The premise:

Embark on an expansive journey of discovery wrought with conflict and moral choices where players take on the role of one of the six playable characters and follow their personal point of view of the events as they unfold. At times character stories will overlap with other characters’ or converge with the main story arc, in which they experience events together.

One’s truth may not be another’s. Good deeds done by someone may be perceived by another as evil. Often we see only what we want to see and believe only in what we want to believe. Whose steps will you follow as you journey in the Old North? Through whose eyes will you experience the events that unfold?

Here’s the launch trailer, so you can get a load of the game’s lovely visual style:

As mentioned in our prior coverage, Celestian Tales is going to be released episodically–this is effectively the first episode of three. Developer Cipto Adiguno tells me that this one may conclude with a few loose ends left dangling for those latter episodes to wrap up.

Here’s the feature list:

  • Moral Confrontations – Situations are presented to the player throughout the game that tug at moral standings and beliefs.
  • Unique Story – Ditches tired rehashed RPG clichés for a story where players feel the weight of their character’s actions.
  • Multiple Story Arcs – 6 Selectable Characters allow you to play the game from 6 different perspectives. Play through the game as all 6 characters to get the entire experience.
  • Traditional RPG Gameplay – Inspired by classic JRPGs with a turn-based RPG battle system that allows players to develop a personal combat style.
  • Beautiful Art – Lush hand-painted background visuals and environments with detailed emotive hand drawn character portraits and animated pixel-art characters running around the game.
  • Epic Music – A sweeping score that truly captures the pace and emotion of the story as it unfolds.

You can pick up Celestian Tales: Old North for $12.99 on Steam, on GOG, and via the Humble Store (though there are currently launch discounts at some of those). Windows, Mac, and Linux.

(Note: Celestian Tales was funded on Kickstarter back in spring 2014; at the end of development, publisher Digital Tribes swooped in to handle marketing and distribution. I am assured that they did not fund development and had no power over the creative process, though they did offer the developers some feedback on game UI and such. I am choosing to count this as an indie edge case; you can read more about our standard for “indie” here.)