Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Indie RPG News Roundup, April 2011

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 12, 2011

Time for the latest news that’s fit – or unfit – for online bits. This month seems like it’s the “movie edition,” but that’s just how the dice land sometimes. I’m kind of amused at how we have both an Age of Decadence and an Age of Fear (fear following the decadence?) this month, and goodly supply of both jRPG-style titles and more western-style RPGs to sink our teeth and claws and swords into.

Age of Decadence

The Iron Tower guys are now committing to providing monthly updates, because people tend to assume the worst when they haven’t heard anything in a while.  This month’s update includes information on new combat animations, improved performance, and other little changes and polishing tweaks.

Age of Fear – The Undead King

This is billed as a fantasy turn-based strategy game more than an RPG, though I think RPG fans will find plenty to enjoy about this one. What’s more: It was just released, and for the next few days it is enjoying a pretty steep discount for those bold early adopters! I haven’t played it yet, but with it’s non-gridded open geometry and turn-based tactics, this looks like a game that Jay Isn’t Allowed to Play If He Ever Wants to Go Beta. But I’ll let you watch the trailer and judge for yourself:

Check out the Age of Fear website and try the free demo.

Darkness Springs

This online game is new to me, and is free-to-play up until level 7.  A premium account costs only $9.99, so it’s not exactly a threat to the wallet should one get addicted to the free version. From the website: “A role playing game with more than 100 maps in the default realm – dungeons, forests, villages, cities, secret caves and others, more than 2000 items, 8 trainable skills, 4 trainable attributes and 30 magic spells.”

More information on Darkness Springs is available here.

Dead State

This upcoming indie RPG of survival in a zombie apocalypse keeps looking better and better. The most recent updates provide teasers on character portraits and character models (including some interesting technical details for the developer-types).

Din’s Curse: Demon War

There are a couple of new reviews for Din’s Curse: Demon War – one at i-luv-games, and another at Diehard Gamefan. Additionally, creator Steven Peeler has been interviewed at Indie RPGs, and at Indie Game News.

Driftmoon

Driftmoon is slowly but steadily approaching release, with the latest alpha going out to testers and those who have pre-ordered, and a public beta demo anticipated within about two months. Early feedback is reported to be very positive, and hinted at the existence of a Hoe of Doom. Hoe of Doom? Okay. Interest officially piqued, as I recall the Hoe of Destruction from Ultima VII Part 1. Here’s the new trailer for the game:

I know some folks aren’t super-keen on the top-down perspective, but I’m fine with it. And this game is looking pretty sweet to my eyes.

For more information, visit the Driftmoon website.

Dungeons of Dredmor

I’m getting more and more excited about Dungeons of Dredmor as it gets closer to release. A humorous Roguelike with very polished graphics (is that a contradiction? Some might say so…) it looks like a lot of fun. Here’s an “infomercial” for the game discussing its traps:

Embric of Wulfhammer’s Castle

This is a jRPG-style indie RPG with a rather unusual focus. From their webpage: “Embric of Wulfhammer’s Castle is a fantasy RPG with an uncommon focus on the relationships between adventurers and the people who have to live with them, with only a fraction of the combat.”  It’s donation-ware, and warns that while cute and amusing, it does contain material that may be considered inappropriate for younger audiences.

You can check Embric of Wulfhammer’s Castle out at Wulfhammer.org

Flare

This is a freeware Diablo-esque 2D Isometric action-RPG from Clint Bellanger and other contributors. Or rather, it’s a game engine with an attached game (it stands for Free Libre Action Roleplaying Engine). It’s an interesting approach – Flare sounds like what is effectively a full-fledged game as a “test project” for the game engine.  Sorta like the original campaign for Neverwinter Nights, huh? >:-)

The latest release version, v. 0.12, is now available for playing and testing. The final release is anticipated before the end of the year. I haven’t checked to see what kind of license is on the source, but if the engine proves solid, it may be an interesting platform for other indies to use in the future.

For more information, check out Flare‘s Website

Frayed Knights

Development continues. Much to say, but not much of interest to people who aren’t knee-deep in development.  But there’s been updates on how (and why) Endurance works in the game, changes to how the story and setting are presented, and the amusing pain in the neck that has been the Frayed Knights conversation system.

Inaria

Anthony Salter of Viridian Games reports that his RPG, Inaria, should be released this weekend. Originally a 40-hour game challenge, the game has been massively expanded and improved, sports an awesome retro 8-bit look and sound, with a soundtrack that sounds like a classic chiptune on steroids.

You can have a look (and listen) for yourself at the Inaria Preview at Viridian’s site.

And with a lot of luck, I might have even spelled the game correctly this time.

Legion Games

Legion is a series of RPG Maker VX games for Windows by the appropriately-named Legion Games.  Two are completed, and all of them are free.  You can check them out at the Legion Games website.

Millennium 4: Beyond Sunset

Okay, I’m pretty far behind in this series, now, as I haven’t even played the third one at all yet. It’s not for lack of desire, believe me!  Aldorlea’s upcoming fourth game in the Millennium series is in development, subtitled “Beyond Sunset.” It is expected to ship sometime this month or next, so the wait shouldn’t be very long. I’ve felt the Millennium series has been among the most visually appealing of Aldorlea’s games, and this fourth one, judging from the screenshot on the left, is unlikely to prove an exception to the rule.

You can get more information on this one in the forums at Aldorlea’s website.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile is an upcoming competitive online-only action RPG focused on a dark-fantasy setting with more gritty, realistic graphics that has been in development for five years. In theory, a public beta is supposed to be available sometime this year. The makers do not classify it as an MMORPG, as it features heavily instanced areas with a very small player cap. It’s gameplay features sounds pretty Diablo-esque, but the online focus is something different. We’ll see how this one turns out. The developer recently had an interview with GamePro about the title, which you can read here.

You can check out the Path of Exile website here.

Rainblood 2:  City of Flame

This latest game by Chinese indie Soulframe continues in the tradition of its Wuxia-inspired prequel.  It stands out as being an RPG Maker-based title that doesn’t look much like RPG Maker – showing what’s possible with the engine. Here’s a somewhat lengthy but cool trailer / “making of” video:

There’s some more information at the website, but much of it is in Chinese.

Swords & Sorcery: Underworld

A bit of good news / bad news here… First off, there’s a pretty extensive, thoughtful review of the game by Leszek Wronski at RPG Codex that’s worth a read.  On the bad news side, it sounds like the porting process to the inferior version of Game Maker for the Mac hasn’t been going well, and a comment by Charles suggests that it may be getting put on the back-burner for now (UPDATE: Problems with the Mac version of the engine have been insurmountable, so the project has been indefinitely shelved. Bummer.).

You can check out Swords & Sorcery: Underworld here.

Telepath RPG: Servants of God

Besides some nifty screenshots of a scene in the game, Sinister Design has put up a preview from the game’s soundtrack – final boss music. Featuring the actress who plays Malis singing opera-style… in Arabic.  For your listening pleasure:

Some additional tidbits I managed to pry from a guy frantically trying to wrap up the project (but you can pre-order it and play it right now):

“The mission I’m currently working on begins when you talk to Baz, one of your organization’s wealthiest backers. He suggests that you do a favor for a friend of his in exchange for access to his friend’s private army. He arranges a meeting between the two of you. The friend introduces himself as a businessman. He just wants you to wipe out a group of bandits that have been plaguing his operations. With the formidable private retinue this guy has, you would think he would simply take care of the problem himself, but he doesn’t want himself linked to the attack. Why not? What’s his angle? And if do a little digging and you figure it out, will you turn him down and risk offending Baz in order to avoid doing something morally dubious, or will you go ahead with it anyway and acquire his soldiers in order to accomplish your group’s goals?”

Through

Man, what is this sudden emphasis on roguelikes with graphics and accessibility for newer players? Some hardcore roguelike fans are gonna get annoyed. But I’m not a hardcore roguelike fan, so I’m okay with that.  I think there needs to be more introductory-level RLs in the world. Just so long as the hardcore ones don’t go away. Anyway, Through is a new roguelike created as a master’s thesis at Guildhall, emphasizing tactical combat and resource management. And easy introductory play with 8-bit style graphics.

You can get more information on Through here.  Including a video.

Okay. That is a Really Big List of Indie Games for this month. And, no doubt, I’ve still left some good ones off the list that have had news-worthy events this last month. But if you are a fan of CRPGs, there are some exciting things happening!

And extra-special thanks going out to everybody who sent me links and news this time! Your help was invaluable!


Filed Under: News - Comments: 15 Comments to Read



  • Travis said,

    This is the greatest blog post I’ve ever seen. Do you… do you do this monthly?

  • UDM said,

    Rainblood 2 looks good. I was holding out for a promotion for Rainblood 1 on Gamersgate, but there’s never been one thus far. Maybe I’ll pick it up along with Rainblood 2 when the latter is out on GG.

    By the way, if anyone is interested, S&S Underworld is available on GG too.

    Still eagerly anticipating Driftmoon and Dead State!

  • Demiath said,

    Ah, nice! This is by far my favorite recurring news roundup feature available on the interwebz, and I was obviously pleased to see Age of Fear on the list. It may not be an RPG, but it does have XP and it is currently taking precious free time away from that ambitious second playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins I have been working on…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I had a lot of help this month from people sending me info. I think about a quarter of the games here I hadn’t even heard of before.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    @Travis: I try to. I still get things falling through the cracks, though.

  • getter77 said,

    I too enjoy adding new “backlog bookmarks” via these roundups while mentioning some as I can. Heh, probably already have some goodies for next roundup…

  • Rampant Games posts new Indie News Roundup @ IndieRPGs.com said,

    […] Barnson over at Rampant Games has taken the time to put together a big post with ton of the latest news in up-and-coming indie RPGs. There’s some good stuff in there, […]

  • rune_74 said,

    Man I always look forward to these, I always seem to find a game I have never heard of.

  • Milkman Dan said,

    I’d played Embric of Wulfhammer’s Castle, it didn’t occur to me that it might have room for a wider audience. I think the most fun aspect of the game, besides the humor, was finding all the endings. I think there’s about a dozen of them.

  • Felix Pleșoianu said,

    Turns out, Flare is GPL/CC-BY-SA (for code/art, respectively): https://code.google.com/p/flare-engine/

    Of course, that does not preclude using it for a commercial game…

  • Sabrina said,

    I just bought Age of Fear online, aside for nasty tactics it has pretty decent fantasy story too!

    I did not even hear about this game before – thanks Coyote for tips like those :)

  • Viridian said,

    Thanks again for the mention, Jay! Hopefully for the May update you’ll be saying that the game is finally available for sale.

  • Will Swannack said,

    Thanks for mentioning Through! I’m still hard at work adding various features to hopefully get it comparable with more hardcore roguelikes while maintaining the accessibility.

    Also excited to check out Dungeons of Dredmor which looks really charming.

  • Shaf said,

    Another fun game is TOME 4.0.x (formerly “Tales of Middle Earth” now called “Tales of Maj’Eyal: Age of Ascendancy”).
    Although it can be played as a Roguelike there are other easier options, it uses T-Engine so can be used as an adventure creator. It can be found at http://te4.org/.

  • skavenhorde said,

    I bought Driftmoon and played through a little tiny bit of what is being released to us.

    I can tell you from personal experience that the top down view isn’t annoying at all. They game actually does look really nice and after the initial 5 minutes you won’t even care that it’s at an odd veiwpoint because everything loos so nice.

    Before I never cared for the topdow viewpoint at all, but this game I hardly notice it once I get going in the game.

top