Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Quick Preview: Inaria

Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 19, 2011

I’ve had some serious distractions lately – pretty much since returning from my vacation. Besides catching up at the ol’ Day Job, I’ve had a number of games demanding my attention. Some you are probably familiar with (Portal 2, and The Witcher 2).  Others are indie games that you have probably heard a lot less about. I’ve not had much time to spend on them, as I am supposed to be – you know, working on my game ‘n stuff – but I’ve had a good time playing around with them.

Three of them are unreleased titles still in (late) development. I will talk about each one separately. Today, I want to talk about Inaria.

Inaria is an indie role-playing game for Windows that harkens back to the old 8-bit days. The graphics are part of it, but the chiptunes-on-steroids style music is really what kicks it in high gear.  I told the author, Anthony Salter (who wrote this great guest post the other day) that it really invokes the old Ultima III vibe for me.

For me, this is a good thing. On the nostalgic side, Ultima III was the CRPG that “blew my mind” and made me fall in love with the genre. While fairly simple by today’s standards, it felt deliciously deep and complex at the time, full of mystery and thing to explore.

I’m quite certain that this comparison is not coincidental. While Inaria is its own game, it’s clear that the author wasn’t trying to hide its sources of inspiration.

The game begins in a beleaguered city which has barely survived an attempted invasion by the Slorn army.  The king sees only one path to survival – to assassinate the king. The generals, he theorizes, will war among themselves to seize power, giving the remaining forces of freedom time to regroup. Which basically means you, the nameless hero, must save the kingdom by whacking the Slorn king.

But you are pretty much a nameless nobody to start, so en route to playing Seal Team Six on the Big Bad, you need to buff up and improve on your equipment.  This is an RPG, after all. So there’s lots of dungeon-delving, monster-slaying, treasure-hunting goodness to be had.

Your character starts as either a male or female character with base attributes of 2 in everything, level 1, with no equipment but a pocket full of gold to buy a dagger, cloth armor, and potions. Potions get more expensive as you level (!), so it’s not a bad idea to stock up a bit at level 1.  From there, you get to talk to people. In the current version, people may have several things to say, so it’s a good idea to click on them a few times to get the full story.

Dungeon-delving makes up the bulk of the adventuring (so far), and is the only place where I’ve had combat. Maybe there are monsters to fight outdoors later in the game, but I’ve not seen them. Dungeons fully respawn when you re-enter them, so it’s possible to loot a dungeon many times. Early forays tend to be short, as you retreat from danger to return to town to get healed (for free) rather than blow through all your expensive potions. The cost makes potion use more of an emergency thing rather than a regular resource.  And emergency use is necessary – especially in the first three levels of life, my characters died often. After that, a combination of greater survivability of my character and a better handle on how to play made death a bit less likely. Plus, I learned to save more frequently.

The dungeons are custom-made, and (so far) all have a different flavor or “theme” to them. This keeps things interesting.

While your starting character has no customization, at each level you have several points to put into your character’s attributes as you see fit. Attributes not only give you immediate advantages such as more hit points or greater damage in combat, but at certain thresholds also unlock certain abilities and spells.

Equipment includes mana and health potions, armor, weapons, and “trinkets” (jewelry).  You can equip one of each.  Some equipment can be purchased in stores, based on your current character level, but the more interesting stuff is found in dungeons. Some of these items will affect your attributes in addition to their primary function. I’m not sure if they have any other abilities.

Anyway, the game is a good ol’, small, traditional RPG. Fortunately for me, it’s a good one for playing in small doses – a 15-minute stretch may be enough to explore a dungeon, gain a level, and get closer to the ultimate goal.  It’s pretty close to release now, though there are still some rough edges and at least one crash bug that I hope will be fixed before release.

I’m unaware of his further plans with the game, but it seems an ideal candidate for porting to mobile devices as well.

Check it out when it releases at Viridian Games.

Filed Under: Game Announcements, Impressions - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • OttomoBiehl said,

    I am greatly interested in this game. Can’t wait for it’s release.

  • UDM said,

    ^What he said!

  • sascha said,

    ^^ What he said! But then looking at their website, I find nothing but yawning emptiness … http://www.viridiangames.com/?page_id=5 Cool!

  • skavenhorde said,

    You have to give him some time to finish the game first. Then he can work on the website 🙂

    Inaria definitely has that old-school feel to it with the added bonus of not having to use a keyboard. You can do everything with the mouse which is a little easier.

  • UDM said,

    Well it’s finally released! Joy! 😀

    (probably gonna wait until he releases it on Gamersgate or something though)

  • CFX said,

    Hey Coyote, thanks for the blurb!

    I’m the composer of the Inaria soundtrack.

    “…chiptunes-on-steroids style music is really what kicks it in high gear…” that just sounds cool. 🙂

    (And hey, if you like it, you can get the high-quality version with two hidden bonus tracks for $0.00 from my website.)