Blog Archives

New Retro Picks: Steam Summer Sale #2

With a few days left, time to slip in another set of picks for the Steam Summer sale.

Last time I pointed out a bunch of games I largely already owned or ended up buying and playing due to the sale, that turned out decent enough. This time, I’m pointing out some games that I haven’t yet played, and probably games that most people have never heard of – so this is a good chance to discover some new obscure games.

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Sigma-Finite Dungeon

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.

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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.

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Magna Driver

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.

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World’s End

As my hillbilly cowboy roundhouse kicked yet another boar rider off the edge of a cliff to his untimely death, I couldn’t help but think “this is weird.” More importantly, I also couldn’t stop thinking “this is awesome.”

An important message

About 4 years in the making, with a fourth and final chapter in the works, World’s End is an excellent – and I do mean really excellent here – strategy/tactics RPG that mostly flew under the radar: a crime that must be now corrected before karmic disaster befalls us all.

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New Retro Vault: Helherron

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.

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[Freeware] Legend of Basement

In the fantasy dark ages, most household basements also contained giant rats, the lair of some horrible creature and probably an ancient world-ending cult or two. Legend of Basement takes a modern look at the question of what happened to all those vast subterranean networks after society moves on into the 21st century?

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A short cute adventure about cats – or a gameboy-styled dungeon crawler? Well, that all depends on how you play Legend of Basement.

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[Freeware] Fabled Quest: Return of Valnis

Fabled Quest: The Return of Valnis is a charming little retro RPG with cute pixel graphics and classical turned-based combat, though there’s not really much to it.

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not sure if error… or Zelda II reference

Fabled Quest comes with all the familiar JRPG trappings – explore, loot chests for equipment, kill monsters for XP, and find the big bad and end him. It’s pretty much as barebones as that, though the charming pixel art and quirky monsters elicit a sense of fun nostalgia.

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Depth of Extinction

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.

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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.

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Rumble Road

This week we’ve been digging through the whopping 400+ submissions for the latest GBJAM. For our next entry, we’ve stepping onto the mean streets of Rumble Road.

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Rumble Road is all about two things: roads, and rumbling. Well what else did you expect!? Revolving around the classic old school turn-based JRPG style battles, it’s kind of like a (very) mini-Epic Battle Fantasy for the Gameboy.

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New Retro News: Dungeon Diving

This week we spend time in our favourite places: dank dark desolate domains, otherwise known as my apartment fantasy dungeons.

  • Look behind you: its a 3 headed Monkey Tavern!
  • I Get Deep Yo: Labyrinth of Andokost!
  • Jagged crawl: Amiga classic Hired Guns ported to PC!

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