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Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

Howdy folks! The approach of PAX has made it rather difficult for me to keep the site updated over the past couple of weeks; moreover, I’m definitely going to be gone for a week starting Wednesday. But with that said, there’s no reason we can’t do a quick update on the state of crowdfunded RPGs, right?

Of the games from our last Back to Back, Dungeonmans, Frontiers, Last Dream, Liege, Rugged KingdomSoul Saga and Undertale all met their goals; a much better success rate than usual! Let’s see if this latest batch of games meets with the same success:

  • AdventurOS — a 2.5D Metroidvania that constructs its world procedurally based on the file system it finds on your hard drive. Footage of the game makes it looks quite early in development, but I think it could end up being pretty interesting.
  • Aurion : Legacy of the Kori-Odan — developer Madiba Guillaume Olivier bills this as the first-ever African fantasy action RPG. The art style borders on anime, but its subjects give it a decidedly unique touch (there isn’t much anime set in Africa, much less starring black characters). It looks promising, though I find the lack of video footage showing the game in action somewhat suspect.
  • Project Phoenix — this is a somewhat surprising one. It bills itself as an indie RPG with squad-based RTS gameplay (so…Infinity Engine style?) More odd than the description is the amount of experienced AAA talent on the team (among other things, Nubuo Uematsu is doing their music). The Kickstarter page already lists 17 team member positions, with more to come–in all likelihood, this game won’t qualify as indie by the time they’re done hiring their team.
  • Sword ‘n’ Board — a 2D Zelda-alike that openly embraces the idea that you’re a kid who is just making all of this stuff up as you go along. (To wit: “you will battle your way through imaginary enemies, cardboard forests, dark pillow fort dungeons!”)
  • Valgard’s Fate — a top-down, 3D, open world action RPG for mobile devices. For a game of this sort, it has rather nice graphics (as well as some adorably wonky walk animations that make me think of a stop motion film).

All in all, it’s a much leaner selection of games on offer compared to the mid-year glut we saw in our last Back to Back. That isn’t to say that there aren’t RPGs out there seeking funding right now; it’s just that most of them are MMOs and free-to-play, browser-based stuff (which I generally decline to cover). It should be interesting to see if a whole bunch of new projects suddenly pop up this Friday to coincide with PAX.

Movie night: Eschalon Book III, Telepath Tactics

Dim the lights and get comfy, folks: it’s time for another movie night, where we watch new videos of games we’ve covered before on


Dragon Fantasy Book II release date

Dragon Fantasy Book II (previously covered here) now has a release date: September 10th, 2013. It will be available for $14.99 on Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. Checks Out Heroes of a Broken Land

Andrew Ellem of Winged Pixel was kind enough to provide me with an alpha build of his interesting multi-party, turn-based strategy / first-person dungeon crawler, Heroes of a Broken Land (previously covered here).

As you can see, I quickly died, then had much more success after restarting:

The game is still early in development, but it’s clear to me that there is a ton of potential here. The sheer scope and ambition of the game is pretty remarkable. With an improved GUI, more varied content, a nicer graphical presentation on the overworld map, and some relatively simple improvements* to combat, I think this could turn out to be something very special indeed. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one as development continues.

* For my money, I would particularly like to see a “run” function, the ability to target individual enemies, and defensive benefits for sticking characters in the middle and back rows.

Legend of Dungeon offers paid beta access

Legend of Dungeon
You’ve probably heard of Legend of Dungeon; it’s a 2D side-scrolling action RPG with procedurally generated levels and Streets of Rage-style brawler combat. The game supports 1-4 players playing cooperatively in a bid to reach the 26th floor of the dungeon and loot the treasures contained therein.

The brainchild of two-person team Robot Loves Kitty, Legend of Dungeon is probably known above all else for its unique combination of lo-fi 2D sprites and real-time normal mapped lighting effects to create a really neat graphical style. The trailer shows this off pretty well:

Alix Stolzer, one-half of the Robot Loves Kitty team, writes in to tell me that Legend of Dungeon has become available for pre-order on Steam. It costs $9.99; Windows, Mac and Linux. The game will launch in approximately one month; until then, pre-orderers are promised access to the game’s beta builds.

New release: Gurk III

Gurk III
You may recall me posting about the mobile RPGs Gurk I and II last year; word has reached my ear that a third Gurk title has now been released.

Gurk III, by developer Larva Labs, is an RPG with some similarities to the old Ultima titles. Gurk III sports a retro 8-bit visual style (though admittedly, the color palettes look more 16-bit to my eye).

There doesn’t seem to be a narrative premise available anywhere, just this general description of the game’s features:

The third installment in the series is a bigger adventure than ever before, with loads of new monsters and items, many with unique effects and abilities. Character classes are better-differentiated and combat tactics are more subtle and interesting without sacrificing the hack’n’slash ethos that Gurk fans adore. The dedication to 8-bit culture remains fervent, with the complete 20-song soundtrack rendered with analog synth emulators that will evoke the classic sounds of the game systems of the 1980s.

This gameplay video should give you a sense of what you’re in for:

Personally, I rather like the combat music.

Gurk III is available for $1.99 on Google Play. In a first for the series, Gurk III is also available for iOS: you can snag it for $1.99 on iTunes. (Note: there is currently a bug which prevents the game from running on iPhone 4 / iPad 4, but the developers state that a fix is coming shortly.)

New release: RPG Trifecta Pack (Beggar prince)

RPG Trifecta Pack
You may know Super Fighter Team as the group that brought a series of new jRPGs to the Sega Genesis and released over the last 8 years; specifically, Beggar Prince, Legend of Wukong, and Star Odyssey.

These games had a weird route to publication: Beggar Prince was actually developed, self-published and released in 1996 by C&E Inc., exclusively in Chinese. Super Fighter Team localized it to English in 2006.

Super Fighter Team localized the other two as well. Legend of Wukong was originally created by Gamtec under a publisher, and therefore doesn’t qualify as indie. Star Odyssey (or, as it was originally known, Blue Almanac) was developed by Hot-B Co. It was also created under the thumb of a publisher, leaving Beggar Prince as the only true indie title in the lot.

Last Thursday, Super Fighter Team released Windows and Mac OSX ports of all three of these games as a single “RPG Trifecta Pack.” Because Beggar Prince is an indie title, I choose to cover this as a new release. The premise of Beggar Prince follows:

The snobby, selfish prince of Shatt Kingdom unknowingly aids a great threat to his world after he switches places with a beggar who looks just like him.

Wanting only to escape the daily drudgery of his palace life, he has no idea what evil lies in wait around every corner. This careless brat of a boy is now the last chance for his kingdom to remain in peace, rather than be enveloped in chaos. Guide him on his way to learning the path of a true prince, and save his world from sinking into darkness.

So basically, it’s a high fantasy riff on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. Here’s some video footage of the start of Beggar Prince:

The Windows version and the Mac version of the Trifecta Pack each cost $20; you can pick up one or the other via Paypal on the Trifecta Pack website.

Spooky Quest announced, demo available

Spooky Quest
So! Spooky Quest. This is an old school Zelda-alike being developed by Fervir. Featuring appropriately spooky music and combat mechanics reminiscent of Gameboy-era Zelda titles, Spooky Quest features a dungeon-crawling mode and an arena mode. In dungeon crawling mode,

dungeon crawling is emphasized where you’ll work your way through a dark dungeon where you’ll uncover its secrets. It will have items to collect, mysteries and puzzles to solve, traps to avoid, weapons to collect and plenty of monsters to fight.

Arena mode, in turn, is simply a matter of seeing how far you can get against endless waves of enemies.

There is a Windows demo available right here if you want to give it a try while we wait for it to be released. (Also, you might wanna click the screenshots below–they move!)

New release: Kilgazar

Adam Biser of Fascimania writes in to announce the release of Kilgazar, a graphical roguelike he’s released through Desura.

The premise:

Kilgazar’s army has captured your village! It’s time to take matters into your own hands!

Battle your way through hordes of enemies. Learn and use powerful magic spells. Infiltrate the fortress to pass through the gateway to the dark underworld.

Can you to defeat the demon lord, Kilgazar, and free the land from his grasp?

The game features a choice of three classes (warrior, wizard or rogue), has 24 different monster types, and features 4 level bosses with their own special abilities.

Kilgazar is currently available for Windows and Linux for $4.99; a Mac OSX version is planned for release soon out now as well. There is also a free demo available.

New release: Choice of the Ninja

Choice of the Ninja
Choice of Games is on a bit of a roll lately; their latest title is Choice of the Ninja, a Choose Your Own Adventure style RPG with (what else?) a ninja theme.

The premise:

Assassinate the shogun, then vanish without a trace in this interactive fantasy novel!

In the high-stakes game of politics between two feudal lords, you are a ninja village’s chosen warrior. Earn glory for your clan as you battle your enemies, becoming a master of magic, combat, and stealth.

Choice of the Ninja is an epic interactive fantasy novel by Katherine Buffington, where your choices determine how the story proceeds. The game is entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–but driven by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Will you bring peace to your village, or return home in shame? Will you serve your daimyo obediently, or defy his orders for the greater good? Or will you use your powers of invisibility for personal gain? The choice is yours.

There’s a free demo online, with the full versiona available for $2.99 via the Apple App Store and Google Play, as well as via the Chrome store.