Fans of roguelikes are being positively spoiled this year; between The Last Fortress, Neon Ronin, Desert Revenant, and many others, there are so many challenging, repeatable adventures to try! This edition of Keep An Eye On It includes all those upcoming titles and more.
It’s not all roguelikes, though! Puzzle gamers may want to take a look at unique dungeon crawler Lord Ambermaze, while 4X enthusiasts should brace themselves for The Pegasus Expedition later this year. If historical games are more your thing, Second Front offers deep tactical options for World War II buffs and Crown Wars: The Black Prince is perfect for those who prefer their battles Medieval.
Many of these games have demos available, and as always you can wishlist and follow the games you want. Not only does this keep you updated as development continues, but it also helps the developers by letting their distribution platform know players are excited for their game!
The Last Fortress
Not to be confused with the mobile game Last Fortress, Bitmen Studios’ upcoming title is a roguelike born from your wildest Dwarf Fortress playthroughs. As a clan of dwarves in a fantasy world, you’ll do as your kind have always done, digging too greedily and too deep. Excavating more of the tunnels below the fortress grant you more resources but also awaken dangerous monsters that were better left undisturbed.
With base-building, combat, and the fortress’s economy to manage, we expect there will be much more depth in The Last Fortress than what’s offered by the average roguelike. Players will be able to find out this fall, when the game is scheduled to enter early access.
Die Like a Hero
If you’re expecting a challenging roguelike from a game called Die Like A Hero, you’re absolutely right… but that’s only half the story. The title is a play on words, as the protagonist is a humble six-sided die who dreams of becoming a hero instead of just a randomization mechanic in somebody else’s story. Each time a die moves, they rotate according to the direction; the number that’s currently facing up is their combat power.
Die Like A Hero requires careful timing to strike when you’re strong and the other dice are weak. It’s also very easy to get caught in a hopeless situation, but the next attempt is always just a click away! No release date for the game has yet been announced.
We’ve all been there – you’re having a great run in your favorite roguelike when suddenly you realize you misclicked or forgot about a key enemy trait. Now it’s all for nothing, and you’re doomed to go back to the title screen and start over.
Oakenfold introduces time travel to roguelike tactical battles, letting you pop back and forth in the timeline to fix your mistakes and improve your strategy. You can even bring upgraded equipment back in time with you, effectively restarting a mission with better gear. There’s a demo available to try right now, and Oakenfold is scheduled to launch on 31 October.
Kreationware’s Desert Revenant looks like a sandy Slay The Spire. The setting feels like a blend of D&D, The Mummy, and The Thousand And One Nights, packed with djinni, sorcerers, and other magical creatures. The battles take place atop sand-buried pillars, lending the game some panache beyond the usual stone dungeon corridors.
With multiple plotlines, upgradeable cards, and giant bosses, Desert Revenant could be your new favorite deck builder. While no dates have been set in stone, the game is expected to enter early access in the reasonably near future and remain there for at least a year.
Part puzzle game, part Zelda-like adventure, Lord Ambermaze takes place in a world where time has stopped. As the wielder of the Sword of Motion, your hero can cause time to advance – when they move, so does the clock. Making your way through Lord Ambermaze’s dungeon full of traps and monsters will require using this unique mechanic to your advantage.
Whether you’re carefully moving across spike floors or delicately planning your next moves in battle, each move you take will give your foes a chance to act as well. This should provide plenty of challenge in each room, to say nothing of the boss fights! Lord Ambermaze is expected to release in 2022, and a playable demo is available now.
The Pegasus Expedition
Kalla Gameworks’ ambitious title The Pegasus Expedition adds a narrative element to space 4X gameplay. Sent from the Milky Way to seek a new home for humanity in the Pegasus Galaxy, you’ll need to settle and develop a thriving settlement capable of sustaining the rest of Earth’s population. Pegasus, naturally, is filled with several other spacefaring civilizations and you’ll need to conduct careful diplomacy to carve out a place for yourself.
The dynamic galaxy and changing politics allow for multiple playthroughs. The Pegasus Expedition is a very cool concept, and we’ll get to see how it turns out when it launches later this year. In the meantime, the free demo lets players get a head start on exploring the new galaxy.
With the exception of the many first-person shooters that take place during the conflict, World War II games often have levels of complexity that can scare off casual players. Second Front aims to offer something for everyone; it includes hundreds of historical units, weapons, and vehicles, and there’s enough depth under the hood to satisfy hardcore gamers, but it’s also entirely possible to play the game just for the fun of rolling tanks over the European countryside.
Each battle takes place over sixty turns representing a twenty-four hour period, and units keep their fatigue, losses, and experience between missions. Second Front also includes a full map and campaign editor, allowing players to create their own what-if scenarios. The game is expected to launch later this year.
As the title suggests, Neon Ronin is a grimdark cyberpunk game with a heavily Japanese aesthetic. By enhancing your team with cybernetic augments and other gear, you’ll stand a better chance of surviving the game’s many battles against gangsters, cultists, and psychic mutants. Of the five playable characters, you can choose three to form your team for a playthrough.
Neon Ronin’s grid-based battles challenge players to use the terrain to their advantage. When characters fight, detailed pixelated combat animations play out like a sci-fi Fire Emblem. It’s a very stylish game, and is expected to launch in September.
Crown Wars: The Black Prince
Edward of Woodstock, commonly as the Black Prince, was the first Prince of Wales and one of England’s greatest commanders during the Hundred Years’ War. Artefacts Studios’ Crown Wars: The Black Prince is named for him and thrusts players into the middle of one of the most impactful conflicts of the Middle Ages. However, the game isn’t just about the struggle for the French throne – players will lead their troops to expose and destroy a sinister cult using the bloodshed to feed a malevolent entity.
Information on Crown Wars is fairly scarce at the moment, but its historical setting, castle management, and magical storyline make it one to watch. It’s not expected to release until 2023, but you know what to do – keep an eye on it!
Path of the Midnight Sun
Path of the Midnight Sun is a visual novel with JRPG battles. The branching narrative gives players important choices at nearly every turn, and your decisions during story sequences will have an impact on your team’s stats in battle. There’s also traditional character advancement via skill trees, and being a visual novel the game has romance options galore.
With hand-drawn character models and professional voiceover, Path of the Midnight Sun could be one of the closest games we’ve seen to create an interactive manga. Players will get a chance to try it fairly soon, as it’s scheduled for a Q3 2022 release.