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.
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.
Ah, Helherron. A relatively hardcore tactics-RPG game. Treats you mean, but keeps you keen with amazing tactical combat, rewarding exploration, and satisfying character progression.
It was an old, tough beast, not dissimilar to Mum’s old mutton dinner, with an unforgiving difficulty curve and even more unforgiving U.I., but probably was the best tactical RPG out there. Hell, it probably still is.
Then the developer left it all behind to become a Buddhist monk in Japan. Yes, really.
But now, Helherron has been resurrected, as the developer – some 10 years later – returned to civilisation, adding innumerable bug fixes, balance adjustments, improved A.I. and, of course, more loot. And there’s more to come.
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.
Get your Sean Connery on. No, no, not with a pistol and martini of the shaken variety, but with sandals and robes. Wait, bear with me… The Abbey of Crime Extensum may be about abstinent monks, but it also happens to be a pretty darn polished and challenging The Name of the Rose murder mystery. So it may not have secret agent action, but it does contain a license to kill.
Playing as Franciscan monk Fray William and his young novice Adso of Melk (yes, you sort of have to control both at once), you are thrust into a race against time to find the perpetrator of a series of grisly murders in a Benedictine abbey.
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.