“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a t-hing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.”
― Douglas Adams
I have to make a confession, a terrible confession: until a few days ago I’d never read a novel written by Douglas Adams. Now I’m aware that Adams was a true genius, capable of being extremely hilarious and smart, at the same time.
Just reading one of his book, a sentence caught my attention, a sentence that I immediately linked to the release of “Ultimate Adom”.
He wrote: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be”.
I don’t know if all of you are aware of the debates that accompanied the release of this game so now I try to summerize what happened. Essentially, when the developer decided to release the full version of the game, some people got angry (or at least, concerned) because some features and some promised contents seemed to be missing.
If you are curious about the discussion, you can check the statement of the developers here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1266820/eventcomments/3050608452021202321/
Now, it is not my intention to comment this specific discussion, but Ultimate Adom can be used as an example of the possible vision discrepancies that sometimes may arise between the developers of videogames and the players, at the moment of the release of the full game.
The main problem, I think, is that the development of a videogame is like a very long journey. Now, let’s be honest, if you have to travel for years around the world, you can surely decide your final destination and try to foresee the main problems you will encounter along the way, but nobody will be able to predict exactly in which conditions you will arrive. I mean, there are so many variables and so many decisions that you have to consequentially take during your travel, so many things that can possibly go wrong that the only thing you can do is trying to adapt, adjusting your original vision and goals to the mutated conditions.
And it’s not important, if in the end, you will have just 6 classes instead of 8, or 100 spells instead of 130, what really matters, I think, is the “destination” considered as a whole. If the result is near your expectation, if the game is “still” funny” despite all, if it’s able to give you the right vibes, than, simply, don’t be too strict, stop complaining, relax and remember that what makes entertaining a journey is also its unpredictability.
That being said, just few words about the releases of this month.
That’s not a secret, September might become the most important month of this strange year for every single turn-based lovers. Many important videogames will be released in the following weeks, and each should be able to satisfy all the different kind of players.
Do you like the good old Fantasy setting? Pathfinder is just around the corner. Do you regret Fallout and its post-apocalyptic world? Encased is right there to satisfy your thirst. Do you feel smart enough to solve futuristic crimes like a tormented Rick Deckard? Well, Gamedec is the game for you!
And that’s not all. As always I’m extremely attracted by smaller projects like The Lost King of Avalon, The Amazing American Circus, Rift Wizard…
So for this month that’s all, you just have to sit down, open your mind (and your wallet…) and try to fly high, and remember: everyone can learn to fly, all one must do is simply learn to… miss the ground.
RIFT WIZARD – 1st SEPTEMBER
I don’t know how many times I put Rift Wizard on this column, but finally it seems that the time has come!
The developers describe the game like a “tough as nails fantasy roguelike”, and I’m sure that if the developers decided to choose this description, the difficulty level of the game is for sure beyond my ability!
Anyway the game feature a challenging turn based combat and a deep open ended character building.
Obviously we’re talking about a true roguelike, so don’t the graphic is essential (but quite charming) and the levels are all procedurally generated challenges.
Try to guess? Yeah…on Steam.
TOTAL WAR SAGA: TROY – 2nd SEPTEMBER
Already released almost a year ago on Epic Games, the last chapter of the Total War Saga, finally comes also to Steam in this Mythos Edition with some new pleasant add-on.
The first and, at least for me, the most awaited one is the introduction of some mythological creatures in the game. Finally you will be able to embark on three new expeditions and fight against some legendary beasts, like the vicious Cerberus, the deadly Griffin and the dreadful Hydra.
New units, like the legendary Arimaspoi and Shades from the underworld, will also be recruitable, while the existing ones will receive some “mythological redesigns”.
And if you don’t like this new “fantasy flavor” or if you simply hate dogs with too much heads, then you can still opt for the new “Historical mode”, that let’s you play the game in a more authentic mode…
Soon on Steam!
PATHFINDER: WRATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS – 2nd SEPTEMBER
Well, I’m not sure it is necessary to say something about this game.
At least for me, this is the most awaited game of 2021!
I really loved the first game, especially after Owlcat Games decided to introduce the turn-based mode, and now the second chapter promises to do a lot more and…. a lot better.
This time, a new strategic layer is added to the cRPG mechanics: we will be able to lead our army, strengthen our stronghold, send soldiers to explore ruins, and more. 24 classes to choose from, 6 archetypes per class and three new races in addition to the nine already present in the previous chapter!
So, what are you waiting for? Ah, right… September the 2nd…
On Steam very (but not enough…) soon!
ENCASED – 7th SEPTEMBER
Set in an alternate year 1976, Encased lets players explore a hostile area called “The Dome.”
This sealed wasteland is packed with amazing technology, but also deadly enemies. Players begin in one of five disciplines – science, engineering, security, management, or convict – which affect both their initial stats and specialization, opening (or preventing) unique dialogues within the game.
As with all classic RPGs, the game is a mix of exploration, combat, and quest interactions. As you travel through the game world, supplies and weapons must be made and you try to make sure that today is not the last.As you level up you will encounter six different factions that have appeared in this zone. Whether they become friends or enemies is entirely up to the player.
If you want to learn more about the game, you can also read the interview I got some time ago.
Finally on Steam very soon!
THE LOST KING OF AVALON – 15th SEPTEMBER
The Lost King of Avalon is an ambitious turn-based rogue-lite RPG set in a medieval fantasy world. It is one of those game that promises a great freedom: here you can be whatever you want, a mighty warrior, a wise magician, a dreadful demon or even a celestial angel.
Its slogan could be: “Be who you want and do what you want!”.
Gather a party of heroes or fiends and live your adventures in the fantastic world of Avalon.
Among its features:
- 12 playable classes: paladin, knight, cleric, hunter, thief, mage, shaman, cultist, dark knight, elemental, demon, angel.
- 7 unique perks for each class.
- Team RPG – gather a team of 4 brave adventurers.
- Open world. Move wherever you want, an 8,000 square mile procedurally generated island at your fingertips.
- Make alliances with lords or go to war with them. After all, 4 heroes can defeat an entire army, right?
- Unique turn-based combat system.
- 50+ different monsters.
- Magic, illusion and the simple power of persuasion will allow you to avoid conflict if you don’t want to.
- 4 fundamentally different endings of the main plot, as well as 20+ options for the development of the story.
- Replayability – your story never repeats itself.
In the middle of the month, on Steam.
GAMEDEC – 16th SEPTEMBER
It’s rather natural to compare this game with the well-known Disco Elysium. Both can be considered atypical turn-based RPG with a great emphasis on storytelling.
Here you are a private detective, and your job is to solve crimes inside virtual worlds. What decisions will you make in a world where child slavery is a F2P game, where murder over a game-clan dispute is an every-day reality? Who will you become in the XXII century?
I haven’t tried the demo yet, but I think that in Gamedec, like in Disco Elysium, it is almost impossible to find any real “combat option” (at least not in its usual meaning).
Instead, like in many others detective games, you will have to use your wits to gather info and clues from witnesses and suspects. But maybe the most important feature of the game is its “adaptiveness”: in Gamedec, indeed, you will have to make a lot of choices and there will not be good ones or bad ones, just choices and consequences.
THE AMAZING AMERICAN CIRCUS – 16th SEPTEMBER
After a bit of a delay, The Amazing American Circus is almost among us!
Finally a game that tries to offer something different and original, at least in terms of setting.
Personally I can’t even remember a game whose story is related to the management of a circus. Anyway The Amazing American Circus is set during the Gilded Age and tells the story of a man (you) who decide to build his own circus empire.
Obviously, in order to do so, you’ll have to travel all around the USA, visit legendary places and meet real historical characters!
Among the features of this very interesting game we shall find:
- Become a legend! Save a run-down circus, gather a troupe of performers, and dare to defy the greatest showman on earth – P.T Barnum himself.
- Recruit and train over 12 different types of circus artists
- Take part in exciting battles on the circus arena using the beautifully illustrated collectible cards
- Upgrade your circus caravan thanks to different types of wagons offering over 100 possible modifications
- Meet both historical and fictional characters deeply embedded in American folklore, such as John D. Rockefeller, Susan B. Anthony, or Nikola Tesla
- Immerse yourself in a story taking place during the turbulent era of the fading Wild West and enter the beautiful and dark world of Native American folklore and the immigrant populace
- Listen to a unique soundtrack inspired by classic circus music and American country & folk
Next month on Steam!
SHELTERED 2 – 21st SEPTEMBER
A brutal survival management simulator set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Keep your faction of survivors alive, maintain your shelter and scavenge the ravaged world for resources. Befriend and trade with the factions you meet or conquer them by force.
Sequel of the original game from 2015, this second chapter brings a deeper strategic gameplay, a new faction system, a brand-new 3D graphic engine and a revisited combat system!
LEMNIS GATE – 28th SEPTEMBER
It’s hard to define a game like Lemnis Gate.
Watching some videos of gameplay is almost impossible to consider it even a turn-based game, but the description of the game is quite clear, Lemnis Gate is a time-warping, turn-based, multiplayer combat strategy FPS.
Over five alternating turns taking place in a 25” time-loop, you are called to master the unique abilities of a varied cast of deep-space operatives and outskill, outsmart, and outmanoeuvre your opponent in mind-bending, four-dimensional battles.
A bit tricky? Yeah, I have a terrible headache….
SGS AFRIKA KORPS: TUNISIA – 28th SEPTEMBER
As usual, when I have to talk about a war-game, I limit myself to reporting the description found on Steam: “SGS Afrika Korps: Tunisia is a complete standalone game that covers the famous Tunisian campaign of November 1942 to June 1943. Hold Tunisia as the Axis, or expel your enemy from Africa and set the stage for the Allies invasion of Sicily“.
On Steam at the end of the month.
ASTRIA ASCENDING – 30th SEPTEMBER
Even if, in recent times, we are witnessing an extraordinary evolution of the JRPG (Final Fantasy and Nier Automata are the most significant examples, in this sense), now and then, someone still demonstrates a deep love for the more “classic” example of the genre, and tries to develop something like… Astria Ascending.
The game boasts great collaborators like Kazushige Nojima and Hitoshi Sakimoto and its intent it’s quite clear: giving to the numerous fan a new great classic JRPG.
That being said, even if I usually don’t like JRPGs , I have to admit that this time something seems different. Undoubtedly Astra Ascending is rather charming, it has a gorgeous art style (all hand-drawn), no random encounters with “visible” enemies, puzzles and dungeons. Yes, I think I’ll give it a chance, and you?
Quite soon on Steam.
ROGUE LORDS – 30th SEPTEMBER
“It’s good to be bad”, this could be the slogan of many recent games and I have to admit that, sometimes (but not too often) be evil can be quite… satisfying.
So, Rogue Lords is a roguelike strategy game where you control the dark forces and use their evil powers to take revenge on the miserable Demon Hunters.
Among its features:
- Create your team of 3 Disciples from Dracula, the Headless Horsemen, Bloody Mary, the White Lady, Lilith, Hecate, Baron Samedi, and Frankenstein and his Creature.
- Each Disciple has their own unique story, abilities and gameplay: combine their skills to create devastating synergies, and deal with the mortals that dare stand in your way.
- Collect souls and exchange them for new skills, upgrades and powerful relics that can strengthen your Disciples.
- Sacrifice some of your health to control the game interface: nothing will stop you – and certainly not the rules imposed on mortals.
- Manipulate the health bars of your Disciples and enemies, optimise status effects to suit your fight tactics, open portals on the map, tip the odds in your favour during events… there are many occasions to use your diabolical powers throughout your run.
- Increase the terror gauge by winning fights and completing interactive events to earn valuable bonuses for your Disciples.
- Complete each event to your liking to reduce the influence of the Sanctua Lumen, give mortals good reason to fear you, and decide the fate of traitors who have allied themselves with your enemies.
After a short beta, on Steam at the end of the month!
BLOOD BOWL 3 – SEPTEMBER
Sometimes during this overcrowded month, it will be released the third chapter of the award-winning series Blood Bowl!
I played only the first one, many years ago, and my thoughts, at the time, were “Am I dumb or this game is terribly complicated?” Obviously, the right answer was the first one, but one thing was for sure: Blood Bowl was not intended as a game for all kind of players.
Under many aspects, the game reminds me the game of chess, but.. more complicated!
Despite that I know for sure that there is a lot of quality behind this game so if you are a fan of the tabletop version don’t hesitate!
That being said, what’s new in Blood Bowl 3 are you wondering?
- Based on the official rules of the latest edition of the board game, with new skills and overhauled passing mechanics
- 12 races to choose from including, for the first time in a Blood Bowl video game, the Black Orcs, the Imperial Nobility, the Old World Alliance and the Chaos Renegades
- Fields with special game rules to vary the types of match
- New customization options for your coaches, cheerleaders, teams and every piece of armour worn by your players
- A solo campaign open to all races
- An improved competitive mode with new league management features and an official ladder
- A flexible timer so you are free to organize practice sessions between experienced and rookie players
On Steam (perhaps) during September.
SMALL SAGA – SEPTEMBER
Have you ever wondered what lies underneath your feet? You can be skeptic, but below the streets you will find a medieval kingdom where rats, mice, moles, squirrels fight for… uhhh… justice.
The first thing that can be noticed looking at the screenshots is the marvelous art style of the game, combined to the construction of a great imaginative world where the adventures of a bunch of misfit rodents will take place.
Developed by a single talented person, Small Saga wants to represent “an epic RPG of miniature proportions” heavily focused on telling a rich story of bravery and friendship, with a light touch of humor.
Among its features:
- Team up with a colorful cast of misfit rodents.
- Encounter awe-inspiring titans. Clash with a swashbuckling water vole, a pious lab rabbit, a poetry-spewing kraken, and many more.
- Meet the hideous vermin who run society, then overthrow them.
- Brandish your tiny weapons in strategic, turn-based combat.
- There are no random encounters, and no grinding. This game is all about a rich story and memorable boss fights.
That’s all folks and thanks for having the patience to read my article.