Latest Publications

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark announced

Pierre Leclerc of 6 Eyes Studio writes in to announce Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, a tactical RPG currently in development.

Regrettably, Fell Seal is not actually about an adorable aquatic mammal gone bad. Rather:

A long time ago, the world came to be threatened by a calamitous beast, but it was vanquished by a powerful group of warriors. The group became Immortals in the process and has since ruled over the world, enforcing peace and stability, primarily through the policing done by their agents, the Arbiters. You are one such Arbiter, but as you notice corruption and decay spreading in the once pristine group of Immortals, what course of action will you take to protect peace and stability?

Then again…who’s to say the “calamitous beast” isn’t a seal? (Or at least a sea lion.) Hope springs eternal, friends!

Fell Seal’s mechanics are designed in the Tactics Ogre / Final Fantasy Tactics tradition, as you can see in this trailer:

Per the developers, planned features include:

– Striking, vivid and vibrant hand-drawn 2D art.
– Original score by Black Sigil composer, Jan Morgenstern.
– Complex and intricate class system, with over 20 classes and 200 abilities.
– Great customization options, with the ability to choose outfits, colors, hair style, headwear and accessories for your troops.
– Clever and witty dialogues by Pierre Leclerc, dialogue writer of Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled.
– Focus on story telling with old-school FF6 style cutscenes.

Fell Seal is being developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with the possibility for PS4 and Xbox One ports. 6 Eyes Studio plans to run a Kickstarter campaign in the near future; Leclerc tells me that they are tentatively aiming for a June 2018 release date.

Himeko Sutori new gameplay video

Hello readers! I’ve been rather occupied this past month or so, meaning that there’s a wee bit of a news backlog that I need to attend to. Let’s start with something light, a video from Nathaniel Ayer showing off his progress on the absurdly ambitious sRPG Himeko Sutori (previously covered here).

Among other things, it looks like since we last checked in, the game has acquired nicer graphical assets, improved shaders, a dialogue system, a character leveling and class progression system, a hex-based world map, the ability to roam around freely between battles, and so on:

Ayers reports that the team (now going by “Rockwell Studios”) is building a full-fledged alpha test campaign to, y’know, test all of this stuff out. The game’s IndieDB page lists it as coming September 2017 (though I rather doubt it’ll hit that mark if they’re still working on the alpha test campaign).

New release: Children of Zodiarcs

Word reaches me that Children of Zodiarcs, the 3D isometric turn-based tactical RPG we last reported on back in March, is now out! Developed by 9-person Montreal team Cardboard Utopia, Children of Zodiarcs racked up a substantial $195,000 in funding on Kickstarter, then took on Square Enix as a publisher (more about that in our previous article).

Anyway, here’s the premise:

The game tells the story of a band of professional thieves on the hunt for an ancient relic. Their adventure sees them infiltrating the private chambers of one of the realm’s corrupt nobles, alerting Toran’s authorities and sending them on the run to stay alive. This means taking to the city’s slums and wading through the underworld, chased down by heavily armed city guards, rival gangs, and subterranean cannibals at every turn. It results in action packed gameplay that really pushes the new dice and deck combat system to the limit.

I dunno about “action packed” (it is a turn-based game, after all), but Children of Zodiarcs does in fact base your characters’ actions on cards drawn from a personalized deck. Each character gets their own deck of actions, and actions–it’s not clear to me which ones, or how many of them–receive bonuses at least some of the time via physically modeled 3D dice thrown around onscreen. You can, of course, see this in action in the new release trailer:

You can snag Children of Zodiarcs for Windows both on Steam and on GOG for $17.99 (a bit less, in fact, with the launch week 10% discount), and for PS4 at full price on the Playstation Store.

The computer version of Children of Zodiarcs appears to be Windows-only for now, though the game’s page still mentions Mac–presumably, CoZ will get a Mac release at a later date.

New release: StarCrawlers

Word reaches me that the sci-fi, first-person dungeon delver known as StarCrawlers (previously covered here) has now been released. Developed by San Diego indie studio Juggernaut Games, StarCrawlers is a “blobber” in the Wizardry vein, with a custom party of characters and turn-based combat encounters.

The premise:

You’re a Crawler, and that means you work for those that can pay. Asset recovery, commercial espionage, and mayhem for hire are just a few of your crew’s specialized services. If something shady needs doing, chances are a Crawler will be involved. Succeed and you’ll be rewarded with better pay then any corp drone can dream of. Plus, you’ll earn the respect of the eclectic assortment of merchants, opportunists and adventurers who make their home in the fringes of space.

As I recall, combat is skill-based and actions cost specific amounts of time units. I spent a little time with it at PAX a few years back, and I remember the system working well. But why rely on my hazy recollections when you can watch the release trailer?

Meanwhile, here’s the list of features:

  • Wage strategic battles against futuristic enemies with an innovative time unit turn-based combat system.
  • Procedurally-generated dungeons and events create endless replayability.
  • Choose your allies and your foes wisely. Your choices will change how the story unfolds.
  • Eight player classes each with unique abilities, both in combat and when exploring.
  • Randomly generated weapons, armor and gear with upgradeable enhancements.
  • Easy to Hardcore difficulty modes and optional permadeath.

You can nab StarCrawlers on Steam and on GOG for $19.99 (currently with a 25% launch week discount). Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Kenshi announced

Word reaches me of Kenshi, a squad-based, open world sandbox RPG set in something like a sci-fi version of ancient Japan. UK development team Lo-Fi Games have reportedly been developing Kenshi for 8 years and counting; with the game now finally in beta, it seems they’re ready to start building awareness.

There is no narrative premise to speak of in Kenshi, as the game is evidently quite committed to non-linearity, but I was provided with this description by the PR fellow who emailed me:

Set in an original ‘sword punk’ style world with post-apocalyptic-meets-samurai vibes. There is no linear story, but the player will struggle for survival and make their own story in a ramshackle world, all while uncovering lost ruins and mysteries of a fallen, high tech civilisation.

[Kenshi] gives players the freedom to be good or bad, build a town, start a faction, fight bloodthirsty cannibals & bandits, craft items or simply survive in the challenging, vast open world.

Really, I think the main thing you need is this trailer, which gets across the gist pretty admirably:

Planned features include:

  • Customize your squad
  • Build your own base
  • Rescue and carry your wounded mates to safety
  • Aid or oppose various factions
  • Realistic injuries such as severed limbs that need robotic replacements
  • A challenging struggle for survival. No level scaling or ‘hero’ characters with artificially stronger stats
  • Endless gameplay possibilities and occupations
  • Dynamic, ever changing, simulated world. Support or hinder whoever you wish, or keep to
    yourself, the world won’t stop moving
  • Intricate gameplay factors such as environment, weather and exhaustion

Kenshi is already available in beta form for $19.99 via Steam Early Access; the full release is planned for summer 2017. Windows only. Checks Out Cosmic Star Heroine

Hello friends! I’ve once again managed to eke out a few hours of uninterrupted time at home to take a look at an indie RPG sent to me by the developer; this time around, it’s the sci-fi jRPG Cosmic Star Heroine by Zeboyd Games.

With FRAPS a-frappin’ and mouth a-yappin’, I experienced the first 50 minutes or so of the game in such a way as to let you easily follow along:

So–what’d I think?


Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood announced

Andrew Schneider writes in to announce Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood, a text-based RPG for iOS running on Disbound (a mobile implementation of the Twine engine).

The premise should be familiar to most:

You are Robin of Locksley. Hounded from your home by the Sheriff of Nottingham, take control of your fate in this extravagant illustrated role-playing game. Rob from the rich, rally the people, build a settlement, and battle the Sheriff of Nottingham for control of Sherwood Forest.

Unusually for a text-based RPG, Nocked actually has a gameplay teaser video. Behold:

The feature list:

-10+ hours of gameplay incorporating 400,000+ words of text; no two playthroughs are the same!

-9 romanceable characters, including both same- and opposite-sex relationships. Play as male or female Robin.

-3 customizable bases, each with a unique look and play style. Build your base and see it reflected in the art and story.

-127 pieces of hand-drawn digital watercolor art.

Nocked! is planned for release in July 2017 for iPhone and iPad at a $5.99 price point.

New release: Krai Mira: Extended Cut

Asia Przybyłowicz writes in to announce that the post-apocalyptic, isometric wRPG Krai Mira: Extended Cut has released on Steam. Krai Mira originally released in July 2016, and this Extended Cut version evidently just came out last month. (What can I say: it’s new to me!)

Developers Tall Tech Studio write that Krai Mira takes direct inspiration from the original Fallout, and the game’s premise seems to bear that conclusion out:

Scorched by the sun and hopelessly irradiated, the Earth is soaked in toxic waste and blood of its former masters. Those who remain are fighting to survive the endless and senseless struggle with the environment, and, inevitably, with themselves.

Here’s the trailer–as you can see, this game sports interface elements and a combat system that both look quite a lot like what we saw in the original Fallout:

You can snag Krai Mira: Extended Cut on Steam for $12.99; Windows only. There is a free demo available here as well.

The Rise of Mooncrest announced

You might remember KnightMayor, the Austin-based indie developer behind the now-deceased title Mooncrest. Since giving up the ghost on that particular project, KnightMayor have thrown their efforts into a new strategy RPG taking place in the same universe by the name of The Rise of Mooncrest.

Here’s the premise:

The land of Nocturne, peaceful for generations, has been invaded by a powerful and exotic force. Seemingly overnight, almost all of Nocturne is occupied leaving only one stronghold – Mooncrest. Can Mooncrest’s overwhelmed forces rally together to defeat a mysterious army with mythological powers?

Developer Rick Burton describes the game as a “story driven, Tactical RPG with core gameplay features inspired by the Sega Genesis classic – Warsong (Langrisser).” Reviewing early footage of the game, I couldn’t help but notice that it bears a passing resemblance to Yggdra Union as well:

Burton confirmed that each individual squad of units is under the command of a unique “commander” character that can develop between fights. As a commander’s squads defeat enemies, the commander will gain experience points, level up, and and eventually branch out into more powerful classes, of which the finished game will contain 22. (If a commander is defeated, on the other hand, all squads under their command will immediately withdraw from the current fight.)

The Rise of Mooncrest is being developed for Windows, with a planned release window of mid-to-late 2018. A Kickstarter campaign planned for May 23. In the meantime, there’s an alpha demo available here.

New release: Alvora Tactics

Sean Hayden of Rad Codex writes in to announce that his strategy RPG Alvora Tactics (previously covered here) has now been released!

The premise remains:

Great Serpent Alvora has been tormenting Limroft for centuries, swooping down and devouring wilderness and cities. Now its corpse has been discovered hanging off a remote cliffside – and it’s up to you to explore and discover the valuable ancient ruins within!

Rad Codex, as you may recall, is the developer of Voidspire Tactics, another strategy RPG that I checked out (and quite enjoyed) back in November 2015. Alvora Tactics appears to retain the same engine and overall design approach as Voidspire did,with free-roaming exploration and turn-based tactical battles with a small party. The developer writes:

Combat is turn-based, where each character and move and act once per turn. Each class grants them access to 7 abilities, and each character can equip 2 classes, as well as 3 passive abilities.

Exploration is top-down overworld movement, similar to Zelda or Ultima VII. You can interact with the environment and solve puzzles using the same class abilities that you use in combat.

The trailer should give you the basic idea vis-a-vis how it looks and plays:

The changes to the formula include a larger party size (6, up from 4 in Voidspire) and new terrain mechanics, each addressing one of the few weaknesses I observed in the preceding title.

Here’s the full feature list:

  • Deep, challenging combat that is streamlined and easy to understand
  • Explore a mix of procedural and handcrafted areas
  • Destructible terrain and elemental interactions – set a jungle ablaze with fire magic, or summon water then electrify it!
  • Combine 10 races, 23 classes, 150+ upgrade-able abilities, and 50+ passives to create your ideal party
  • Unique fantasy setting; no elves, orcs, or dwarves
  • Built using the same engine, mechanics, and setting as the highly-rated Voidspire Tactics

Alvora Tactics is $9.99, with a 10% discount during its launch week; you can buy it direct from the developer, or on (Alvora Tactics is not yet on Steam, but can be upvoted here if you’d like to help it become available in that venue.) Windows only.