The remarkable thing about zero-budget indie RPGs made by guys in their basement is that can compel us to still play them under the shadow of top quality million dollar triple-A ventures. Case in point: I recently acquired The Witcher III, and yet here I am, playing Sigma-Finite Dungeon. That’s not to say the Witcher isn’t great, because it is, but there’s always room to indulge in that sense of old-school satisfaction that pushing yet another pixelated goblin to its death in a spike trap elicits.
Sigma-Finite Dungeon is an intoxicating mashup of Final Fantasy Tactics party-based battles with roguelike dungeon crawling, with a party to equip, skills to leverage, and monsters to slush. It’s not quite as deep as FFT or Nethack, but its tactical combat provides some solid satisfaction.
I have a confession to make: I don’t really miss JRPGs all that much. After gluttonously gorging on Final Fantasy‘s heyday (6 and 7 in particular), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and more, I’m incredibly blessed. But I don’t really want more.
Yet… If it’s one thing I really do miss from those days where trifling matters like paying taxes were not on my radar, it is the FF5/Tactics style job system. That shit was awesome. JRPG derivations are a dime-a-dozen now, but this one enticing element is never authentically replicated.
Magna Driver heard my call, though, emerging at my darkest hour. It may be a prototype-level demo, sure, but that same addictive crack-like quality of the job system is still there, and I devoured it gleefully for about an hour until I had unlocked every job and ability for each character.
Ever thought Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley were good but suffered a distinct lack of Orcs? Well, you’re in luck my friend, as Orcish Inn has increased the Orc content by a mere infiinty%.
Orcish Inn’s goal is similar to those games, but, instead of farms and marriage, the action here is about as self-explanatory as the title suggests: you’re an orc, and you want to build an inn. That’s it. But it will take a long time as you must, quite literally, build it from the ground up, all while the spectre of winter creeps forward.
Despite being a pre-alpha demo, Orcish Inn’s concept is already surprisingly fleshed out, with enough to keep you busy for a while. Don’t think of it as leisurely busywork , though. Although the game calmly tells you “there is no hurry,” this is immediately followed by a threatening “except for winter, where you will likely starve and freeze.” Oh. Right.
Drift Stage is another retro-inspired racer that isn’t afraid to express its love for neon. Admittedly, the alpha demo (download below) isn’t much and came out ages ago (sorry about that), but the project looks very much alive and has been receiving regular updates, anyone interested might want to test the ignition.
Ever thought Alone in the Dark was all but the perfect progenitor of survival horror, suffering only from a distinct lack of melons? The answer to that problem which nobody asked for is Melone in the Dark, a pretty impressive jam game experiment that recreates the look n feel of Alone pretty awesomely well, though not much else.
Last year was a good year for old school shooters – with Z-Exemplar, Zenodyne R, Arengius, and Xydonia, among others emerging in either completed or demo-based flavours. Hawking suggests that 2017 will be no worse off, providing yet another new 80-90’s style arcade experience.
Time for a quick update on some new retro happenings. This week’s them is: terrible controls don’t die, they just fade away. Also, basketball.
- Double Dragon returns, again!
- More masochism – stair quest ascends!
- Boom-shaka-laka! NBA JAM updated!
Capcom may be taking its latest zombie-or-hillbilly fest back to its survival horror roots, but Murder Mansion takes the same concept back to its roots in a much more literal way – placing a Jill Valentine lookalike in an eerily familiar looking mansion full of undead creatures waiting around for you to shoot the crap out of them.
It’s more of a homage than actual survival horror, with its easy to disaptch enemies and tongue-in-cheek humour making it more fun than scary. It also has a little, unexpected surprise…
Spend some quality time with underwater mercenaries and those giant sharks from Deep Blue Sea: Welcome to Depth of Extinction. A tactical 2D XCOM wannabe of sorts,
A tactical 2D XCOM wannabe of sorts, Depth replaces everyone’s favourite psychic murderous aliens with emotionless killer robots. It’s about as barebones as a roast turkey after thanksgiving, or a piece of otherwise inedible KFC after a drunken night out, but like said example foodstuffs, Depth is equally as strangely compelling.
I spent far too many hours having “just one more go”: a fully fleshed and well-stuffed Depth of Extinction is a game I’d happily chow down on.