Posts Tagged ‘indie’

Dungeon Fray Review

Dungeon Fray Featured

Dungeon Fray Boxart

Developer: Nitesh Gupta
Publisher: Nitesh Gupta
Platform: PC

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

 Do you like roguelikes? Well, you’d better if you choose to give Dungeon Fray a shot. That’s because this title follows the genre conventions pretty stringently. You begin the game as one of a handful of classes, then get to work clearing dungeons, collecting loot, and leveling up (or dying). So why is it that, as routine as the game is, that I can’t stop playing?!

With simple mechanics, Dungeon Fray is extremely easy to get into. There’s very little pretense here. You just select your hero and are plunged in the middle of a dark dungeon. Maneuvering around is simple, as is fighting enemies. All you’re required to do is bump into them to initiate an attack (Y’s anyone?) although you can also cast spells. Once they’re dead, you gain much-needed XP.

Dungeon Fray Featured

With enough experience your character levels up and that grants a free, much-needed health boost. Of course, you’re also collecting money from treasure chests and the like. With this you can increase stats (health, strength, defense) or choose to buy potions and spells. It’s important to improve your character but also maintain a healthy amount of items otherwise you’ll find yourself dying quickly.

Visually, there’s very little impressive about the experience. It has much less finesse than its brethren Hack, Slash, Loot, but somehow that quickly becomes a non issue. I prefer this game by far because it’s tough, but fair. You can always keep a close enough level to enemies by clearing floors, and there are a great deal of objects in dungeons to aid you. With easy to understand gameplay/controls and fast action, Dungeon Fray is the kind of game that compels players to go “just one more dungeon” (before playing many more).

Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas

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Dragon Fantasy Book II Review

Dragon Fantasy Book II Featured

Dragon Fantasy Book II Boxart

Developer: Muteki Corporation
Publisher: Muteki Corporation
Platform: PS3, Vita (Reviewed)
Review code provided

Many genres fall in and out of favor over the years but one that has stood proudly throughout time is the RPG. Popular in various flavors across the world, the genre has produced some of the best known series’ in all of gaming history. Every once in a while you have one which attempts to poke fun at itself, but they’re not as common as you might think. Dragon Fantasy Book II attempts to inject a RPG with some much-needed humor.

This is evidenced from the very start when you are introduced to the hero Ogden. Instead of being a spry young male, he is instead a bald, bearded man. Although I did not play the original game, it doesn’t seem you need to. Players are easily ushered into the world and get going on their quest. However, players do begin with characters already leveled up somewhat to compensate for the first chapter.

The first thing that players notice (and what may attract them to the game to begin with) is the graphics. Dragon Fantasy Book II is made to look like a 16-Bit RPG that would be right at home on Genesis or SNES. However, the enemies seem more like Earthbound creatures sometimes with a man in a shark suit and rocks with pirate hats in just the first area.

Dragon Fantasy Book II Screenshot

One interesting feature of the game is that the battles are not random. Instead, enemies can be seen on the field at all times, meaning you can sometimes avoid them. This is mostly just a technical truth though because most of the time pathways are so small you won’t be able to avoid an enemy. Other times, they will jump out of the bushes and initiate a fight themselves. There’s a dash of Pokemon in the gameplay too as you can catch weakened enemies and add them to your party.

Unfortunately, there is one gameplay based problem that is continuous. After walking into a new screen (area, building, etc), if you continue to press in a certain direction that direction will not function upon entering the new area. If you let go and then press the direction again it will work, but there’s something odd going on to keep it from being mapped initially. The issue is not game breaking of course but is annoying when all you want to do is hammer up to hurriedly run through an area. In an area that is sure to annoy writers, a fair amount of the text also features typos.

Dragon Fantasy Book II Featured

I played the game on Vita because that’s where it seems the best fit. It is suited easily toward quick bursts of play since you can just fight through a few crowds of enemies before pausing. The game also happens to be fully playable with both controller buttons and touch screen. Using the touch screen actually is my preferred way of navigating the big button menus. You can move Ogden around the screen with it too, but my thumbs aren’t keen on hovering over the screen continuously, considering the size and heft of the Vita.

Dragon Fantasy Book II is a cute little RPG that packs a lot of gameplay value into the experience. It isn’t a very in-depth game or up to par with the best SNES visuals, but it’s likely it still will exceed expectations. If you like classic RPGs then give it a look. Just be aware that it is rough around the edges. Still, it’s hard to go wrong with a game that oozes an obvious love for RPGs of yore.

Score: 3
3 out of 5 alpacas

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Hack, Slash, Loot Review

Hack, Slash, Loot Featured

Hack, Slash, Loot Boxart

Developer: David Williamson
Publisher: David Williamson
Platform: PC

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

If you’re looking for quite the difficult dungeon crawler then Hack, Slash, Loot is likely up your alley. With a roguelike style, it appeals to the hardcore player but also anyone who has found themselves interested in the whole “die once – start over” mechanic. But this title isn’t a one trick pony. There’s so much to master that this game is likely to suck up hours and hours of time.

First, let’s start with the basics. You begin as a specific character class and choose the level you wish to undertake. In the beginning there are only three characters but there are a massive 32 in all. Each has their own skills and attack ranges. Of course that’s not all there is to it. There are a multitude of enchantments and the like which can be applied to your weapons, health, or defense. This is on top of the general stats of all your gear which you can change via new loot pickups.

Hack, Slash, Loot Featured

Loot is one of the most important aspects of any dungeon crawler and it’s littered everywhere in Hack, Slash, Loot. You’ll find a great deal of potions around, but also new weaponry as well as boots, shields, and more. Oftentimes, loot is worse than what you’ve got already, but some is incredible! Try to trek around an entire level before venturing to the next to make sure all loot has been uncovered.

There is a definite learning curve to this game. At the start I was lost but also entranced to keep playing, death after death. This is due to the simplicity of play. More than anything, it seems like luck is the biggest factor working for or against players as they start out. Simple to understand gameplay paired with deeper concepts and an attractive pixel aesthetic make Hack, Slash, Loot a roguelike that’s incredibly easy to recommend.

Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Review

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Featured

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Boxart

Developer: Red Wasp Design
Publisher: Red Wasp Design
Platform: Android, iOS, PC

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

H.P. Lovecraft was a 20th century writer who is desperately loved to this day thanks to his incredibly odd, and sometimes horrific, fiction. He is best known for being the progenitor of the Cthulhu mythos. A handful of games have attempted to make use of said mythology and some have been successful while others floundered. Where does Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land stack up?

You begin as a crew of four men who are engaged in World War I-era firefights. You’re on the side of the British and quickly realize there is something very wrong with the opposing force. Within the first mission there are zombie-like soldiers taking up arms! Thankfully, they are still able to be taken down with normal bullets.

How does the turn-based strategy title play out? On their turn, players can select teammates and tell them to either move, heal, shoot an enemy, or just stand still. Since each character has their own action points, refueled after a passing enemy turn, you have to make each action count. Assigning more action points to an attack can even increase the probability of a successful strike.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Featured

After each successful battle, a shop opens up allowing each character to receive upgrades to their stats or to have their loadout tweaked. It might be hard to get to the end of a level though considering most have a second objective that opens up after beating the first one. It’s easy to be caught off guard and end up unprepared for the next objective’s enemies. There are also only nine missions available, but then again, this is a title that began on the smartphone platform.

There are a fair bit of quirks players will have to become accustomed to though. For one, you can only move one teammate at once. This means you also can’t start moving another before the animation of the previous character finishes. There is a fast forward button though. Also, the default zoom for isometric perspective is far too close. Battlefields often have enemies lurking in the corners, outside of the screen completely. Yes, you can look around it manually but it’s annoying the camera couldn’t be pulled back more.

The Wasted Land is not a fantastic turn-based game or even just as a title based off H.P. Lovecraft’s work. However, it is likely much better than a lot of the mobile market offerings. Instead of being a “click/buy to win” game it is something that requires actual strategy! Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is fun while it lasts as long as you aren’t expecting the next X-COM.

Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas

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The Indie RPG Bundle Review Project Begins

Indie RPG Bundle

Indie RPG Bundle

If you’re at all a fan of PC games then you’re probably well aware of the trend of bundling various titles together for a “pay what you want” price point. Some bundles favor quantity over quality, but others, such as Bundle in a Box by Kyttaro Games, have proven themselves to take real-time in choosing the best games for a set. Their latest bundle is The Indie RPG Bundle and ends in just a few days (September 30th).

Buyers can nab eight games for $1.99 or higher. Of course, if you beat the average price then an additional five games are added. But are all (or most) of these games worth it? Kyttaro Games were gracious enough to share a bundle with us and as such we’ve decided to take a crack at reviewing all thirteen titles. With thirteen days of the sale there’s only one question on my mind: Is this even possible to do in time? We’ll see!

After this is all over, a new post will go live collecting all reviewed titles.

Outlast Review

Outlast Featured

Outlast Cover

Developer: Red Barrels
Publisher: Red Barrels
Platform: PC

 Having been a long time horror fan, I have long since developed specific tastes and requisites or what I think makes a “good” horror game. Of course, it is worth recognizing that games I do not find scary can still be great, or at least, appreciated by others. A game in the horror genre can be a lot of things, although scary is preferred. It just seems hard to come across one that I’d feel comfortable suggesting is actually terrifying. Is Outlast the game to do it?

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Ten Games Worth Buying on Steam’s Greenlight Anniversary Sale

Greenlight Anniversary Sale

Greenlight Anniversary Sale

Steam Greenlight is an initiative by Valve to try to get more independently produced games through to the official marketplace. It’s such a big deal because, while indie developers can sell games themselves, it is on Steam where they will tend to make the most money (except in very rare circumstances). Although Greenlight is far from perfect, it has gotten a handful of really cool games well-deserved attention.

Greenlight’s first anniversary has come and now Valve has selected fifty Greenlight successes for a sale. But what games should you actually check out? If you’re unsure, take a look at the list of our recommendations below!

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See No Evil Review

sne10 - Copy


Developer: Bigfingers
Publisher: Bigfingers
Platform: PC
Received review code

See No Evil is the newest niche adventure game on the market by developer Bigfingers. Of course, even most adventure game fans will probably be unaware of its arrival. Why is that? It seems most likely due to the fact that this is a bara game. With that said, it manages to push past whatever notions people might have in their heads about what a bara game must be. As it turns out, See No Evil is a lovely title that deserves a much larger audience.

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You Need to Play Gone Home

Gone Home featured

Gone Home featured

Gone Home is the first full game provided by developer The Fullbright Company. Having never before played their Bioshock 2 DLC “Minerva’s Den”, I was unaware of their style or skill. It’s obvious that the team is incredible though as they have created a truly intriguing new game.

Playing Gone Home is so easy that it is likely fans of all genres (and non-gamers to some degree) would be able to play and understand it. This openness is important because the story included is one which many people will understand and empathize with.

Although it probably sounds sappy, I felt certain story segments paralleled my own life so closely that it was hard to continue playing for fear of what was to follow. It was just astonishing how normal – and therefore real – these depictions seemed. It was an experience far different from what the majority of games provide. Even if you don’t love it yourself, you’ll hopefully agree that Gone Home is a novel, worthwhile title.

Experiment 12 Review

Experiment 12 Featured

Experiment 12 Boxart

Developer: 12 different developers
Publisher: Self-published
Platform: PC

If you’ve been searching for something very unusual to play then Experiment 12 is something that needs to be on your radar. It is a collection of 12 games from different independent developers. For the most part, those involved are also well known within the community such as Jasper Byrne (Lone Survivor), Richard Perrin (Kairo), and Zaratustra (Eversion).  The multitude of developers decided to each create their own game in the span of 72 hours.

The main experimentation of Experiment 12 was not simply to make a game in a short period of time since that’s what game jams do regularly. Instead, each member of the team had to craft their chapter, pass it on, and the next person would continue the story from what was currently available. Therefore, the story was being generated bit by bit by each member on the team as they finally got their shot at making a chapter.

Experiment 12 Featured

Some of the chapters are longer than others but most take 5 to 20 minutes to complete. Things start out creepy and end creepy but there are definitely changes in between. For example, Ben Powell’s segment gives you gameplay like Missile Command in reverse. A few other sections completely change the “feel” of the narrative, but it’s not a flaw.

Only a few of the chapters are difficult making it a good entry point to indie games for many if they are interested. Experiment 12 is free and worth plunking an hour or two into just to see a creatively designed game. I would be interested in seeing more multi-developer work like this come out from far less ‘recognizable’ names.

Score 3:5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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