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Back to Back: Indie RPGs to fund

Oh my god, you guys! It’s been a full month since I last posted a Back to Back! What is even happening in the world of indie RPG crowdfunding right now, anyway? Let’s take a look and find out!

Of the games whose campaigns have ended since we covered them last time, only three hit their funding goals: After Reset, Elysian Shadows and Jotun. Unfortunately, this means that Braven Arts, FitRPG, Gravia Tactics, Snot, and Soul Sword RPG did not.

But that’s just an update on last month’s games–what’s new in September? The short answer: a lot. We have something of an indie RPG bumper crop on Kickstarter right now, so get ready for a long read!


Moon Hunters announced

Moon Hunters
Five-person Montreal studio Kitfox Games is working on an action RPG with local co-op support for up to 4 players. The name? Well, it’s right up there in the title: Moon Hunters.

The premise:

On one fateful summer evening, the Moon, source of all magic and spiritual power, does not rise. Your course is clear. You must set out alone or with the other chosen children of the Moon to solve the mystery and restore balance.

Without the Moon’s power, monsters rise up and chaos grows across the lands. Players must rely on one another in a dangerous, ever-changing world. As the days and nights cycle past, players use every last scrap of their wits, weapons, and magical studies to survive, craft, explore, and ultimately triumph. How you express your personality in difficult decisions shapes your reputation and, ultimately, how your tribe remembers you in the generations to come. What constellation would be your symbol?

Aside from local co-op, the thing that is perhaps most interesting about this game is that it promises a non-linear story progression. To wit: “The mythology of your character and world is determined by your actions, and the world reacts to you differently based on the mythology you build.” The process of building mythology, in turn, seems to be a combination of making dialog choices and exploring the world for landmarks with hidden myths.

Kitfox plan to release Moon Hunters to Steam Early Access sometime late this year; the estimated final release date is July 2015 (which means the developers have given less than a year to build the game–an unlikely feat). Moon Hunters is planned to be Windows-only.

The game is currently on Kickstarter, where it is already fully funded with 28 days left to go.


Elysis demo released

Word has it that indie Zelda-alike Elysis (previously known as “Spooky Quest”) has an updated demo.

As you may recall, Elysis is a Zelda-alike with lots of dungeons, highly frenetic combat, and a combinatorial weapons system that lets you modify your armaments.

The new Elysis demo reportedly features:

2.7 dungeons with puzzles and treasures.
2 Boss fights.
20+ Weapons / Usable items
30+ Addons
20+ Monsters
Customizable controls

You can nab the demo for free, although developer Fervir gives you the option to donate him some money in the process. Checks Out Lords of Xulima

I had the pleasure of being offered a copy of the Lords of Xulima beta a week or two ago–and so, of course, I took it upon myself to give it a go, recording video all the way. The results:

So, what’d I think?


Jotun announced

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Will Dube writes in to announce Jotun, a Norse mythological Zelda-alike in development by Montreal indie studio Thunder Lotus Games.

The premise:

In Jotun, you play Thora, a Norse warrior who has died an inglorious death and must face the challenges of Viking purgatory to prove herself to the Gods and enter Valhalla.

Simple enough. The developers have stated that Jotun will focus on alternating between exploration and combat against huge foes in a structure reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. As they put it: “Jotun‘s core loop revolves around collecting Runes to summon and fight the jotun, gigantic Norse elementals.” The jotun boss fights are 2D and top-down, though, so perhaps Zelda is the better analog here.

Jotun’s character progression scheme sounds somewhat reminiscent of Zelda as well, with the player gaining new powers as they reach specific locations in the world:

Our progression system is all based on Shrines to the Norse Gods. These Shrines are scattered throughout the world and each one represents a specific God. Each God gives a specific buff to the character.

Although it is clearly quite early in development, that hasn’t stopped the developers from releasing an early teaser trailer showing off Jotun’s art and animation style:

Jotun is being developed for Windows and Mac. Now that its Kickstarter has met its funding goal, the developers estimate that Jotun will be released sometime around September 2015 for Windows and Mac.

Dex hits paid beta, on Early Access

You may recall our past coverage of side-scrolling cyberpunk action RPG Dex. Well, developer Dreadlocks Ltd. has written in to announce that Dex is now available as part of Steam Early Access; you can purchase access to the game for $15.99 right here.

There’s even a new early access trailer for the game, in case you want to see what state it’s in before throwing money at it:

The current early access build is for Windows and Mac only; final release is planned for late 2014 / early 2015 for Windows, Mac, Linux, OUYA and WiiU.

Caravaneer 2 gets free open beta

Caravaneer 2
Word reaches me that Carvaneer 2, an open-world party-based post-apocalyptic wRPG with some really detailed economic simulation (announced here in late 2012) has hit open beta.

For those who’ve been following this site for a while, you may recall that the original Caravaneer was my second-ever review. I still think very fondly of that game, and I’m genuinely looking forward to trying out the sequel.

The beta is free to play in-browser over at the developer’s website. Did I mention that it costs nothing?

Swords of Anima announced

Swords of Anima
It has been brought to my attention that there is a new 3D indie strategy RPG in development for mobile devices by indie devs 4Hands Games. The game: Swords of Anima.

The official narrative summary for Swords of Anima could do with a little editing from a native English-speaker, but I think it gets the point across:

In the Old Night times, Maelstorm was born. Its voracious magic expanded all over the world, bringing war and darkness. Althought the nations returns to peace, a terrible evil grows stronger. Whole populations perish at night leaving a dead trace in the morning. This has become to been known as the Curse of the Eclipse.

Guide Dolian and Laocorn, Captain of the XII Squad, in a journey to unmask the true enemy of the Empire as they find new allies to join their ranks. From Adastrea to the Islands of Fog, you will face relentless pirate Berserkers, spooky Custodians from Khoda and the savage Gerspent battlemaidens.

In presentation, this game reminds me quite a bit of the Gamecube classic Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, albeit with battle cutscenes turned off and somewhat more rigid character animations:

Planned features include:

– 8 playable classes and more than 30 unique characters.
– Deep combat system: skills, auras, magic, battle stances…
– Optional challenges to unlock secrets.
– Upgrade your weapons and armors in the Forge.
– A compelling story.
– No in-app purchases.

Swords of Anima is planned for initial release on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in September of this year, with an Android release to follow.

New release: Deja Vu Chronicles

Deja Vu Chronicles
Billed as “an epic adventure in reverse,” Deja Vu Chronicles is a short jRPG (approximately one hour in length), created in RPG Maker by a small team under the name “NebelSoft.”

The narrative premise:

The four adventurous heroines Miruka, Hanako, Edelweiss and Aquamarin came a long way. They fought their way up to lv 99 and finally stand before the world’s worst nightmare, the “evil warlock”, who’s evil plans contain nothing but malice! But, can they stop him? Can they stop the evil warlock from summoning the bringer of apocalypse, Pyramid Golem, in time? And will their adventure really be crowned with victory over him? Or, will this pinpoint only the beginning of a whole different kind of journey… a challenge of courage and friendship throughout mysterious time-leaps.

The game is free to download; Windows only. You can nab it here.

Elysian Shadows announced


Elysian Shadows
Connor Linning writes in to announce Elysian Shadows, an action RPG being developed by a group calling themselves simply “Team ES.”

The premise:

Elysian Shadows takes place in a world caught in constant conflict between magic and technology. The gift of magic is bestowed upon loyal followers of The Creator, while the nonreligious sects of society are forced to rely upon technological advances in their daily lives. Upon uncovering a mysterious artifact deep within one of the ancient ruins scattered throughout the land, Julien and friends find themselves thrust into the middle of this mounting conflict, and they must now solve the mystery of the ancient civilizations to prevent the destruction of their own.

The main selling point of Elysian Shadows seems to be the technology powering the game, which employs real-time dynamic lighting and shadows, with a sort of normal mapping on the game’s sprites a la Legend of Dungeon. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the game turns into something like a 3D pop-up version of itself whenever the player ventures indoors.

Combat is real-time, and looks somewhat reminiscent of Crystalis to my eyes (minus the “charging up the sword” mechanic). You can see this for yourself in this early trailer:

You may remember that we discussed Elysian Shadows in our last Back to Back; it remains on Kickstarter, where it is more than halfway funded with 23 days remaining. (The devs assure me that development will continue whether or not it hits its funding goal.)

Elysian Shadows is planned for release on Windows, Mac and Linux, with Watermelon Co. (creators of Pier Solar) publishing a physical release for the Sega Dreamcast.