Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Indie RPG News Round-Up – January 2011

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 18, 2011

Here are some exciting developments in indie-RPGdom that have been taking place over the last month or so. Since I asked, people have provided me with some links to some great roguelikes this month, many of which were not even on my radar. And maybe not on yours, either. I want to thank the community for your assistance in scouring out the news.  Sorry this was delayed a bit, but frankly — it’s a big one this month.

Here you go:

Swords & Sorcery – Underworld

Version 1.06 – the expected “final” version – has been released on this game which takes obvious inspiration from the original Might & Magic game (and others of the era).  The explanation of the changes can be found here, in a post that also briefly touches on some of the reasons this patch was so long in coming – very sad real-life issues that have nothing to do with game development.  Indie gaming reminds us these games are made by real, individual humans, I guess.

Whatever the case, this little low-tech-looking game has some old-school western RPG heart, and entertaining gameplay. It’s certainly worth a look if you haven’t tried it yet.  Just be sure to get a look at the instructions on the website first – while the gameplay is a little more intuitive than many of the games it was inspired by, it’s still not a game I’d advise without ROTFMing first.

Sword & Sorcery – Underworld at ClassicGamesRemade.com

Din’s Curse / Demon War

Din’s Curse is currently up to version 1.014, with patches that fix both it and the beta of the Demon War expansion (if you’ve pre-ordered and have access to the beta).  You can check out the changes here. Or just grab the patch here.  A description of the Demon-Hunter class (from the expansion) and the three skill trees associated with it (Reaver, Warden, and Demonologist) can be found on the Din’s Curse Classes Page.

Dungeons of Dredmor

This is a graphical roguelike that looks pretty sharp. Scheduled for an April release, it’s got attitude, good looks, and old-school gameplay. And 87 bazillion cheeses. Yeah, I think this has the potential to be very, very bad for me…

Dungeons of Dredmor at Gaslamp Games

Legerdemain

I’ve been hearing rumblings from a lot of people about this surreal but highly entertaining roguelike. It’s been out for a while, but never mentioned here, so I thought I’d remedy that problem right now. As the game is described:

Legerdemain takes place in a strange and cracked fantasy world called Phenomedom. You assume the role of an imprisoned magician seeking to learn the nature of your captivity. Along the way you’ll uncover vast conspiracies, morbid secrets, and the secrets of ancient puzzles. You’ll likely slay a few thousand monsters along the way too.

Legerdemain draws heavily upon interactive fiction and Roguelike games to provide an experience focusing on story and depth of play. From interactive fiction we inherit elements of scene description, exploration of new environments, and conversation with the game’s inhabitants. From Roguelike games we derive a top-down two-dimensional perspective and numerous strategic elements. Legerdemain’s glyph-based UI is also reminiscent of Roguelike games, but here we forego ASCII for the myriad and more modern conventions of Unicode.

You can check it out yourself at the website:

Legerdemain at Roguelikefiction.com

Inaria

Okay. This one is special to me. Many summers ago, I decided to take up a challenge to write an RPG – from scratch (kinda), with no engine and no non-freeware tools or resources – in a single work-week (40 hours).  Something I really ought to do again without quite so many restrictions one day… ;)  Anyway, Anthony Salter (Viridian) took up the challenge himself and did the same thing. Better than me, I think. He created the game Inaria.  He’s now gone back and is upgrading the game and giving it some real attention, with the intent to create a commercial product. It’s planned for release on March 6th, 2011… his birthday.

The screenshot to the left is from the latest (as of last week) version of the game. You can check out the original here:

Inaria Postmortem

Caves of Qud

This is a far-future, post-apocalyptic roguelike, which has just entered open beta.  It requires .NET, which is a little unusual, but you can check it out here.

Darkwind: War on Wheels

The massively genre-blending turn-based 3D auto-combat-racing strategy / RPG hybrid  Darkwind: War on Wheels was recently updated with two significant features.  First of all, there is now checkpoint-to-checkpoint racing in the wilderness. Secondly, they’ve provided an addition of player-created quests (!).

This is an online game, but the core game is free with no time limits – create your characters and compete Car Wars style in races, death-races and arena combat.

Darkwind: War on Wheels

Magical Diary

From Hanako Games, makers of the Cute Knight series, comes the next anime-style game that is likely to cause me to lose development hours and manliness points, but the truth is her games are simply way fun. This one sports 3D dungeons, too. Entitled Magical Diary, it is a story / sim / role-playing game about a school for young wizards. But not quite like the one you are probably familiar with from a certain book and movie series that will not be named here. :)

And it’s now available for pre-order at a reduced price.  Hey, everybody’s doing it! You can check out the latest screenshots there, too.

Magical Diary at Hanako Games

LambdaRogue: The Book of Stars

I dunno what this trend is about roguelikes with graphics and intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces. Don’t these guys know that impenetrable interfaces are half the charm of these games?  Seriously, guys… :)

But, okay. I gotta admit. Color me intrigued on this one. It offers multiple resolutions, and an ASCII text mode for the hardcore who can’t enjoy a roguelike without the ASCII. But more intriguing is that this seems to have a well-thought out world and history for the player to explore. I haven’t tried this one out yet, but I hope to be able to soon.

LambdaRogue: The Book of Stars

Rogue Survivor

Rogue Survivor is a free zombie survival roguelike sandbox game with unique features and modding support. The game takes place in a town famous for being the headquarters of the powerful CHAR Corporation.You wake up amidst the chaos and you must find ways to survive.”

Dang! This thing is feature-laden. Again, I’ve not played it yet, and I know all too well that what sounds great on a bullet point may not be that exciting in implementation. But… well, I’ll leave it to you to judge.  Then you can tell me about it and convince me to alter the order of my giant RPG-playing backlog YET AGAIN. Meanies… ;)

Warning – from the screenshots, it looks like it does contain adult language. Not that this should surprise anybody at all about a zombie apocalypse game.

Check out Rogue Survivor

Driftmoon

I’ve mentioned this one before, but the game is now in Alpha 3 and still in pre-order stage.  You can check out the latest updates here.

Aveyond: The Darkthrop Prophecy

Hey, I couldn’t get away without having at least one traditional jRPG-style RPG on the list, could I? But this one is a real winner, from the award-winning Aveyond series.

The final installment of the Aveyond: The Orbs of Magic series has been released! If you’ve been following since the first game (Aveyond: Lord of Twilight), you already know about this one. Young rogue Mel has gone into hiding now that she has discovered she has the powers of magic at her command. But her best friend – and ousted heir to the throne of Thais – searches her out, in hopes that they, with their other companions, can prevent the Darkthrop Prophecy from ever being fulfilled.

Check out Aveyond: The Darkthrop Prophecy

Age of Decadence

The latest screenshots and this combat video leave me with little doubt that this game is going to kick all kinds of serious butt. It also looks like it’s pretty far along. With my luck, it’ll release the same week as Frayed Knights. *Sigh*.

More info on Age of Decadence here.

Recettear

Japanese indie RPG / item shop game Recettear has managed to sell over 100,000 copies. For an indie game, that is nothing short of phenomenal. And no, we won’t even try to compare it to Minecraft’s 1 million copies. That’s in a whole different plane of reality. Anyway, many of these sales were at deeply discounted prices, so it’s not exactly a slam dunk, but localizing company Carpe Fulgur has an interesting commentary on what hitting this figure means – and doesn’t mean.

Frayed Knights

I guess I have to sneak in an update here on Rampant Games’ own upcoming indie RPG, Frayed Knights. As has been reported, there is now somewhere north of 75 unique feats for characters to take, and spells – well, let’s just say that with the spell upgrade options, the total number of spells available to characters (and monsters) has gotten a little on the crazy side. There are over 100 base spells now, and each one sports an average of about four additional variations / upgrades.

Combat and AI have been modified significantly to make fights much more tactical and interesting.  There’s now a functional monster journal, and lots of general improvements to the overall game. Right now, work is winding down on general game bug-fixes and improvements, and focusing on very specific problems (this chest in this dungeon doesn’t work, there’s no quest journal update after this conversation, this monster is still using stand-in art, etc.) It’s a very, very exciting time for me.  You guys are missing out… ;)

Planet Stronghold

Winter Wolves Games has posted a video explaining how “aggro” works in the upcoming science-fiction story-based RPG, Planet Stronghold. MMO players (or anybody who has played the indie RPGs Deadly Sin or Deadly Sin 2: Shining Faith) will have no problem understanding the concept, but here’s the video anyway…

End of Line…

And that’s it for this month. In spite of the size of this month’s round-up, I’m sure I’ve missed a few newsworthy items. Please inform me of my gaps in coverage, horrible spelling and grammar, and even  my poor table manners, in the comments!


Filed Under: Indie Evangelism, News - Comments: 11 Comments to Read



  • Viridian said,

    Um…it’s actually ‘Inaria’, not ‘Inara’. Inara was the consort on Firefly :)

  • Viridian said,

    Oh, and thanks for the mention!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Can you tell that I was bleary-eyed and under-caffeinated when I wrote / edited this? I even THOUGHT I double checked the spelling because of the name resembling the character in Firefly, but I guess I was beyond being able to see the letter ‘i.’

    Anyway, it’s fixed I think.

  • Whiner said,

    it’s got attitude, good loos, and old-school gameplay.

    Finally! A dungeon with proper bathrooms!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I agree that this WOULD be cool.

    Stupid spell-checker. “Gameplay” gets red-lined, but no, “loos” is just fine. Not that I pay attention to the spellchecker very much when I’m making these posts anyway. When using fantasy names and arcane weapons and gaming jargon, it seems half of what I write gets flagged as misspelled.

  • Zerbin said,

    Man, when you said “end of the line” I thought that you were going to tell me that Lysander86 had finished Blurred Line. Got my hopes up…

  • skavenhorde said,

    Legerdemain is awesome. It’s difficult in the beginning, but not so much that it becomes frustrating.

    If you order the cluebook you’ll get the tiles that go along with the game and a huge novel. Not sure how long it took him to write that, but it was worth every penny since it’s not just a walkthrough. You get a lot more detail into this bizarre world.

    I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s free if you don’t mind ASCII and if you don’t like that then just buy the cluebook and you’ll get the tiles. It’s nothing fancy, but it is much better than staring at ASCII. Either way the game is great.

    I played a little of Rogue Survivor. I have such a backlog of games that I want to play that this one will have to wait. He’s always updating so maybe when I finish a few more games he’ll have a more updated version out.

    If you really have a need for a zompocolypse then this one will fit the bill until Dead State is released.

  • » Inaria! (Sung to the tune of SEGA!) GameDevDad said,

    […] good news: Inaria got a mention in Jay Barnson’s roundup of upcoming indie RPGs! Welcome to everyone who is visiting this site because of his […]

  • UDM said,

    Wooo thanks for including Darkwind in there, Jay!

    Inaria is also looking like it has some solid potential, even though I’d never heard of it before, so thanks for that too.

  • UDM said,

    Also, can’t wait for Driftmoon to finally be released on Gamersgate.

  • Mario Donick said,

    Thank you for mentioning LambdaRogue in this article :-)

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