Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 10, 2011
It’s time (past time) for a round-up of news, and info on the indie computer role-playing games in development or recently released / updated. This time, we’ve got an iPad game that may or may not be coming to the PC, some awesome recent releases, and whatever else might be remotely newsworthy (or that I actually know anything about). Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of indie RPGs in development – just ones that have, well, something to talk about recently:
The Mac version of Spiderweb’s newest RPG – and the start of a brand new series – is now out, with the PC version coming hopefully around May or so. Early reports seem positive – it’s a technological improvement over Spiderweb’s previous titles, but not a revolutionary one. But it features a new game system, a new world, and the standard Spiderweb attention to the qualities that make a story-rich “old-school” flavor RPG.
In Avadon: The Black Fortress, you play a spy / warrior of Avadon, fighting to preserve a fragile alliance of nations. But besides conventional attacks, someone is assassinating Avadon’s defenders, one by one. And you could be next.
Mac gamers can check out the free demo right here. We Windows users will have to wait a little bit longer.
Winter Wolves’ new combination of sci-fi RPG and “virtual novel” has finally been released. While sporting the manga visual style, it also bolts from many of the jRPG conventions, serving up a unique experience. I’ll post more when I’ve had more of an opportunity to play it. But here are the basics:
Planet Stronghold is a story-heavy single-player RPG where you can play a character of either gender and one of four character classes. The gender thing can be important, as there are three unique romance storylines for each gender. The dynamic story is dependent upon player choices, so it should not be yet another linear RPG. The battles are turn-based with abstract positioning (sounds familiar… 😉 ) with plenty of detail and tactical choices with up to 8 NPCs that can join you. The game advertises up to 50 hours of gameplay, so it’s a good bargain.
I’m looking forward to spending some more time playing this one.
A third-person dungeon-crawler made in Unity for Mac / PC, this game advertises turn-based combat. The video shows very satisfying dice-roll sounds when you search for loot. It’s due this summer, and is currently in alpha testing. This is a pretty exciting little development that looks awesome. Hopefully it will play as well as it looks.
You can check out their new website at DungeonLegend.com
This is an “Arcade RPG” drawing some definite inspiration from the original game of Gauntlet. The free demo is web-playable, so you don’t even have to download and install anything.
It throws a few more cRPG elements into the mix than the original arcade game, however, as you do level up and can spend your hard-earned gold at a shop for better equipment (making it a little more like the later 3D games in that respect). Anyway, it’s a fun little game you can enjoy in short increments of time, which some days is all I have…
Check out Dungeon Brawl.
Inspired by Dungeon Master, this is a free, hybrid first-person 3D / 2D RPG from Catbone Software. An amusing gameplay change in this one is that when you die, you become a ghost, and the game continues.
This is an iPad title, from Smuttlework Interactive, to be released in May. It’s a top-down graphical dungeon crawler inspired by roguelikes. It looks good, but there’s no word on plans to bring it to the PC. I don’t normally talk about iPad games here, and have no intention of following iPad-only games at this point (I have my work cut out for me as it is), but I’m happy to share any information on them that drop into my lap like this one.
From the video on their website, it looks a little like a slower-paced Gauntlet-esque action-RPG. With a freaking huge dragon in there somewhere, which is cool. I don’t know if it is a true RPG or not, but it looks interesting and fun regardless.
Din’s Curse: Demon War
Yeah. I’ve talked about this one already. I can’t stress enough that if you haven’t tried it, download the demo (which now includes the expanded Demon War content) and give it a shot. I know it doesn’t appeal to everybody. But for others, it’s a very impressive, compelling game that works great for playing in short segments (though they often go longer than intended, for me…)
The sequel to the recent first-person dungeon crawler from ZoellerSoft, this features a number of enhancements over the original. The shallowness of combat was one complaint over the original, so he’s made some additional efforts to provide greater depth with better AI and more monster & player options in combat. The spell system has been expanded and improved. Rooms can be larger with more interesting layouts (and more on-screen objects). The game promises to be much, much bigger than the first one, with each level being about a third larger, and with — well, the number of levels is not set in stone, but from the discussion on the forums, it sounds like there will be considerably more levels than the first game (and the first game was not small).
You can check out more information at the Darklight Dungeon website.
Age of Decadence
This highly anticipated turn-based indie RPG from Iron Tower Studios has recently undergone some performance tweaks to make it run better on less-than-cutting-edge machines. Is this a sign that they are entering late development stages?
More information available at Iron Tower Studios website.
Additional content is sneaking its way in, mostly in the form of side-quests and optional locations, but most of the work right now is on bug-fixing. Lots of bug-fixing. And with the most disastrous, game-wrecking bugs mostly licked, we’re beginning the first, tentative steps into balancing this monstrosity. Much work was done at the beginning to take a stab at balancing the game mathematically in design. Then things changed. And changed some more. And changed some more. And now the game is a delightful mess of imbalance and exploits.
Most of the fine-tuning for balancing will be done during beta, but the team is working to get it all into the same ballpark by then. Scope-wise, I haven’t done a full tally yet, but there are now 16 “dungeon” locations, six playable wilderness areas, a crudload of basic spells (well over 100) and feats (rapidly approaching 100), and over ten levels of anticipated progression through the game. And a heck of a lot of things that can go horribly, horribly wrong. Some of it unintentionally.
This is the next title by Eridani Games, creators of The Witch and the Warrior and Ella’s Hope – both of which I felt were delightful little “casual” JRPGs . According to the developer, “In a quiet little village there’s a party planned and one young girl has a big birthday treat in store for her. With her family and friends about her Leah stands no chance of knowing how this day will transform her life forever. From land, to deep underground, to the clouds high above Estis you can adventure with Leah as she makes startling discoveries about herself, her identity and the true nature of those around her.”
You can find out more information on Leah’s Tale here.
Infernal Veil I
This is the latest RPG from Oliveair Games, involving fiends from a mysterious “shadow army” threatening a kingdom. One departure from traditional RPG Maker titles is more randomized treasure, and a skill system allowing better character customization. You can check out the free demo here.
I just found out about this one myself, so I don’t have much information. This is a game from GrayCore software, the sequel to Terra Aegrus I. The gameplay from this video reminds me a little of the 1980s-era Ultima games.
More information available at the GrayCore website.
This is a dungeon-crawling Game Maker project by community member Unit, currently in development. Originally given the term “Dungeon RTS,” it’s been renamed and is starting to take more form. The newest version should be available in the next few days. You can check out a previous version (and more information) here: Ilemi’s Curse at the Game Maker forums.
A closer look at the pole arm weapon class, and it’s representative weapon… the deadly pitchfork! And as a bonus, I imagine it can be used to toss dead enemies onto a wheelbarrow for easy disposal later…
— UPDATE —
Knights of the Chalice 2
I can’t believe I somehow forgot this one. The first game is one of my favorite indie RPGs. The new one – well, Blue Salamander is going for something a little different with this one in terms of style and visuals, which I’m not so keen on, but if the gameplay remains solid I’m sure I’ll be a fan. But he’s finally posted an update on how the new rules systems will be expanded for the sequel, and it’s pretty exciting stuff.
You can check out the updates on the Knights of the Chalice 2 webpage.
That’s all I have for now, though I am sure folks will have more updates and things I missed noted here in the comments. Still, that is A Lot of Games! Sheesh.
Happy hacking and slashing!
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