“This is the end
This is the end”
– The Doors
The original title of this article was supposed to be “A “meh” month? No, a “meh” me” and it should have been a reflection about my progressive difficulty to get attached to new games, because of my mental laziness and my inability to learn and understand all the way new mechanics and new features.
But, then, something changed. What was just a far intention, has grown, becoming, first, a goodbye and, then, a real farewell.
Partly behind this decision, there is the fear of becoming repetitive, writing articles that haven’t anything really new to say, or, maybe, the simple necessity to look at new things.
For years I wrote the column “On The Radar” and “10 turns Interview” always trying to say something original and not specifically related to the world of videogames. The best part was the chance to meet and talk to so many devs, sharing their thoughts, hopes and ambitions. For this, I’ve to thank only one person: Marcello, who has my deep gratitude.
It’s never easy to say goodbye. Once someone said: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” and this is true. After all, saying “hello” and “goodbye” looks quite similar, in both cases you don’t know what it’s waiting for you just up ahead, with the difference that a “farewell” always contains a loss.
For me, saying goodbye to Turn Based Lovers is a very hard and sad thing, but I think this is the right moment to turn the page.
I feel ready to try new adventures, perhaps writing for someone else or about something else. One thing is for sure: I can’t live without videogames and without people that, just like me, loves videogames, but, for now, I’ve done with Turn Based Lovers. Maybe, later on, I’ll come back (If Marcello still wants me) to write something foolish again, as usual, but not for now.
Perhaps, after years spent writing ABOUT videogames, this is the right time for me to write FOR a videogame. I’m pretty good at creating stories and, out there, there are so many good videogames without a good story, so who knows? If anyone is looking for a crazy writer, let’s just say that I’m here!
Anyone who knows me quite well, knows that I like quotes very much, so this is for everybody who had the patience to read everything I wrote. Thanks.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” – Dr. Seuss
SUPERNOVA TACTICS – 1st AUGUST
We covered Supernova Tactics a few days ago with an overview of the indie dev Peepod Inc. auto battler Sci-fi RPG. The formula is quite simple, players will choose the army, items, and traits and try to survive as much as possible in order to unlock permanent upgrades, which will help them reach deeper levels in future runs.
- Permadeath – When General Praxis falls, the run will come to an end.
- Race Against the Clock – At the start of each run, you’ll have a randomized list of units you need to collect to win. If you take too long to gather them all, the enemy may scale in difficulty to dangerous levels!
- Masochist Mode – In this game mode, when your units die you lose up to 3 copies of them. This is a more unforgiving version of Classic, see how far you can get!
- Persistent Upgrades – At the end of each run you will be able to unlock permanent upgrades to enhance your future playthroughs!
- Endless Scaling – The enemies you face receive stacking buffs over the course of the game. As the number of rounds you win increases, so too will the difficulty of the enemies you confront.
- Multiple Difficulties – The game has three difficulties to increase the challenge and reward. Win on Normal to unlock Hard, and beat that to take on Impossible.
- Random Battles & Loot – No two playthroughs will be exactly the same. The enemies you face and the items you receive will vary with each encounter.
- Upgrade Your Units – Use your gold to buy units from the shop, acquiring three of the same unit will upgrade it to the next tier!
- Compete on the Leaderboard – Compete with other players on the leaderboard, Supernova Tactics features an endless amount of rounds. See how many rounds you and your legion can survive!
HARD WEST 2 – 4th AUGUST
I have to be honest, I didn’t appreciate the first chapter of this saga and the weirdest thing is that I really can’t explain why. Maybe because at that time I was expecting a sort of Jagged Alliance with an intriguing dark-western setting, or maybe because there wasn’t enough freedom in the gameplay, but, this time, I get the feeling that the game will be a blast!
Hard West 2 blends a classic Western world with a supernatural mythology, where legends tell of an elusive ghost train with a bounty of gold for the taking. But when first-class man Gin Carter raids the transport, he discovers this “ghost train” is exactly that! Now Gin must lead a posse of strange outlaws and chase down the Devil across a land touched by darkness, battling forces both living and undead.
My favorite of the month!
VANARIS TACTICS – 4th August
From Brazilian indie dev comes Vanaris Tactics. Narrative tactical RPG experience that tells a story about refugees fleeing their occupied motherland. Fight in Final Fantasy Tactics like turn-based battles, and take into account heights, positions, initiative, and unit classes in order to complete the fifteen unique story encounters.
- Vanaris Tactics implements a combat initiative unit turn system inspired by the greatest fantasy tactics RPGs of all time.
- Unite a band of unique characters with their own strengths, skills, and stories.
- Gain new abilities and increase your range of options to deal with new challenges.
- Different combinations of weapons and accessories and see a unit’s playstyle change drastically.
- Travel the land of Vanaris to discover powerful treasures and hear untold stories. However, keep your guard up as danger lurks in every corner.
- Unravel the story through fifteen unique story encounters and hand-crafted in-game cutscenes, as well as optional battles and boss fights.
TYRANT’S BLESSING – 8th August
Tyrant’s Blessing could be defined as Into the Breach “but with swords, spells, and dragons.”. In other words, it’s a turn-based strategy game with mechanics rather similar to Into the Breach, but with a more “traditional” fantasy setting.
Exactly as in the aforementioned game, here the players, before any move, have to put the utmost attention to what the enemies will do in their next turn. So pick your heroic roster carefully, among a huge number of characters, and fight your way across the face of Tyberia!
- Dark Blessing: Whoever dies will become one of the Dead Army, including your heroes!
- Hero selection: Start with any of the 10 unlockable heroes in the game to start the journey.
- Scavenging: Gather food, weapon, and other resources to sustain and become stronger.
- Plan your tactics: The enemy attack is predictable in every turn. Analyze the enemy move and come up with a counter.
SGS OPERATION DOWNFALL – 9th August
Ok, this is a wargame so, according to our tradition, I’ll quote the description on the Steam page:
“Project Manhattan failed! Operation Downfall, the Allied plan for the invasion of the Japanese home islands is set in motion. Start with Operation Olympic to capture Kyushu, and move on with Coronet, the landing near Tokyo. Force Japan surrender with the largest amphibious operation in history.“
SUPER BULLET BREAK – 12th August
Quite crazy turn-based game this one…
Even if in the description is possible to read: “Save the world of online multiplayer games from a rogue AI in this deck-building strategy roguelite!”, I’m not sure I understood what kind of game this is.
At its core it looks like a gacha game but without microtransaction. To improve your deck, you can purchase any item you want using just the in-game currency that you receive as a battle reward or that you can find inside one of the many treasure chests scattered around the map!
Not exactly my genre, but who knows?
MONSTER TRIBE – 15th August
Here”s another gacha game!
There’s a lot of buzz right now about Pokemon Legends: Arceus experimenting with open-world exploration, but Boundless Games’ Monster Tribe is an open-world monster battler that deserves attention as well.
You won’t be capturing your critters in capsules here, though; the Ateyan are caught in the space between dimensions, and by binding your spirit to them you’ll be able to call them into the material world to fight on your behalf.
With multiple biomes, crafting, and a positional battle system that promises added depth to monster battles, Monster Tribe has much to offer. The island of Akama is waiting, and you’ll be able to start unearthing its secrets in August. In the meantime, the game also has a demo available to try on Steam.
IGNITED STEEL: PROLOGUE – 17th August
Well, this is a quite peculiar case.
Usually, when an indie dev wants to draw the attention of the public he releases a demo or a prologue BEFORE the full game (exactly for this reason they are called “prologues”), but nowadays we are leterally buried by prequel that come after the main chapter (STAR WARS docet) or sequel that comes first (ok, at this point my mind is rather confused…).
Anyway, what I mean is simply that, this time, AFTER the release of the full game, the devs decided to offer a free prologue with a standalone campaign, giving to anyone the chance to try their game.
Anyway, for fans of robots/mecha, Ignited Steel: Prologue is a mech roguelike turn-based game that at a first glance looks pretty intriguing. Don’t sleep on this one, and not only because it’s free!
SEFIROT SHARDS E.A. – 26th AUGUST
Part collectible card game and part turn-based strategy, Sefirot Shards tries to say something new in a rather overcrowded genre.
In a world fragmented into many levitating shards, each one with its unique characteristics, you and your squad must explore the land and face a dreadful invasion of undead. Fight, complete quests, solve riddles, conduct investigations and unveil all the secrets Sefirot has in store for you!
And would you like to know what is the best news? Sefirot Shards is totally free, so what are you waiting for? Oh, I forgot, it hasn’t been released yet…
SOUL hACKERS 2 – 26th AUGUST
Atlus is one of the most unpredictable studios you could think of. They released Persona 4 Golden on Steam out of nowhere, and now they are releasing a sequel to their 1997 cult classic, Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. A game that even in Japan, wasn’t very well received.
Not all fans of the original game are happy with how different the sequel looks and feels. Yet despite these misgivings, the fanbase remains excited to see what this obscure series can achieve and bring to the massive and crazy world of Megami Tensei.
LA PUCELLE: RAGNAROK – 30th AUGUST
Well, I’m not paid enough to write something interesting about every single game is going to be released, indeed, on second thought, I’m not paid at all!
So, just for this time, forgive me if I quote the official description of this very old JRPG: “Discover the world of La Pucelle: Ragnarok as it makes its North American debut. La Pucelle is back with tons of new content including the Overlord Prier scenario. Engage in isometric tactical combat, use the power of the Goddess to close portals to the Dark World and stop the flow of Dark Energy, and convert monsters to fight on your side–you can also recruit Laharl, Etna, Flonne, and Prinny to join your adventures. Extra DLC characters such as Rozalin, Cornet, Hero Prinny, and Ellie are included as well.“
- Fast leveling system — Character skills increase quickly. No more waiting around for those awesome combos & powers
- Plan out your strategy — use your tactical knowledge to lead units into battle, achieving victory
- Carry up to 149 items at once — and use your powers to strengthen items in real-time
- Use your powers to purify defiled ground and enemies — defeating them in an all-new way
- Over 100 hours of gameplay with multiple endings
WORDS CAN KILL – AUGUST
Do you know those spelling mobile games where you have to fight foes forming words with random letters?
Ok, Words Can Kill promises something a bit different. Imagine an illegitimate son of Slay the Spire and Scrabble, exactly Slay the Scrabble, a sort of deck-building game where your deck is full of letters instead of cards.
According to what stated by the developers in Word Can Kill what really matters are your tactical decisions and your resource management. We will see.
- Indirect synergies. It’s hard to consistently use a powerful weapon that requires 6+ letters for bonus activation with a deck full of rare letters and without additional draw sources.
- Plan your future turns. Are you ready for a strong enemy attack on the next turn? Don’t use words now, place your letter tiles on the board and wait. This way you can make multiple blocks on the next turn and defend yourself.
- RNG management. Replace tiles in your hand any time you wish. But pay with your health.
- Upgrade your deck. That tile with ‘Q’ poisons your life. Remove it from the deck on your next visit to the forge.
- Easy to learn, hard to master. The game has simple mechanics but deep strategy. Only a true hero can save the princess!
- Dozens of random enemies, random maps, 100 unique items. It’s still a roguelike, so yet another stupid death awaits.
QUEEN’S WISH 2: THE TORMENTOR
Spiderweb Software is a legendary dev, famous for their Avernum and Geneforge series. You can expect the same depth and complexity in the next chapter of Queen’s Wish, called The Tormentor.
A huge world to explore, offering over 50 hours of gameplay, more than 100 quests to take – and a ton of artifacts to find. If you love the “good old RPG” you simply cannot miss it!
- Epic fantasy adventure with over 50 hours of gameplay.
- Open-ended story in the barbarian lands of the Rokaj. Make the choices you want, and enjoy the terrifying consequences.
- Suspenseful tactical combat. Select from sixty different abilities. Build and rebuild your warriors to face rapidly changing foes.
- Gain strength with a unique fortress system. Build and equip fortresses. Customize your Empire to gain power or please the locals.
- Explore (Conquer?) an enormous outdoors and a huge variety of dungeons and enemy fortresses.
- Not just orcs and elves. Explore one of the fascinating, detailed worlds that make Spiderweb Software adventures unique.
- Over 100 quests and hundreds of magical artifacts to hunt for.