“Indies in the time of Covid“
I hope Gabriel García Márquez, wherever he is now, can forgive me for my quote, but I think that even if we aren’t confronting a Cholera crisis these days, we are still facing a terrible menace and everything with the usual hope and passion.
It’s clear that this damned virus is influencing every single aspect of our life: our affections, our job, and our way to spend our spare time. The common denominator is: everything is much harder than before.
Even developing videogames.
But if whoever works for a big company can still think to have his shoulders covered, for the thousands of indie developers scattered across the world the situation is very serious.
It is certain that the economic crisis and the impossibility to properly manage the personal relationships with the investors have made very difficult the raising of funds needed to sustain the dreams and the projects of the indie developers.
For this reason, I expected a significant reduction of releases during the upcoming months but luckily… I was far from the truth.
If you take a look at the list below, you can easily realize how many indie projects we will see during August and we are talking about a month usually very poor of releases. So the question is: why?
I don’t have a true answer. We can assume that this is just a coincidence or that, even during these hard times, the love and the passion behind indie videogames are stronger than the virus.
I don’t know about you, but I strongly believe the latter answer is the right one.
The Battle of Polytopia – 04th August
Released two years ago on Android, The Battle of Polytopia is a turn-based strategy game in the vein of Civilization.
Set in the strange and flat world of the Square, you have to choose between one of the 12 civilizations offered by the game and become the ruler of the world.
Even if the game looks like a simplified and more friendly version of Civilization, don’t sleep on this one it is rather compelling!
Approaching Infinity – 7th august
Approaching Infinity is a sci-fi turn-based, tile-based Traditional Rogue-Like of incredible scope, accessible to new players, challenging to experienced rogue-likers. Explore an infinite procedural open-world universe full of unique environments as you lead your ship and crew to victory or death. Okay, mostly death.
- Infinite Universe in Bite-Size Pieces: You can win after 20 levels, or keep going to sector 5000 and beyond! Manageable maps keep you from getting lost in this open-world space adventure.
- Infinite Gear: There are always new weapons, shields, and devices to find, craft, or buy. They just keep getting better, the further you go!
- Infinite Challenge: Sure, your stuff keeps getting better, but the aliens, robots, and monsters get stronger too!
- Infinite Death: Did I mention the monsters? Because MONSTERS! …and black holes and ion storms and horrible diseases and laser-gates and cave-ins and lava and …
- Multiple Victories: Find and escape with the Amulet of Yendor. Become the conscience of a fledgling robotic civilization. Avenge humanity’s decimation or befriend their overthrowers. Ascend to quasi-god-hood. Destroy the universe(?!). Diverse satisfying endings await the intrepid explorer.
- Procedural Crafting: Each new game scrambles the crafting recipes! So you think
“surge frequency diode” + “quark screw” = “cloaking device”? Not anymore…
- Sentient Alien Species: 12 alien races with their own stories, agendas, and quest-lines. But remember: taking sides makes not just friends but enemies too.
- Turn Off Perma-Death! Just want to explore? Turn Off Perma-Death! (and achievements.)
Company of Crime – 8th August
Under some points of view, this game may be approached to the more famous “Empire of Sin”.
Both games are turn-based and have the same goal: build and manage a true criminal empire, but here there is another interesting option, you can be a good guy (a bland detective) or a bad fella (a fascinating criminal).
Another interesting feature of this game is that the turn-based combat phase will be focused mainly on melee fight in tight space!
It takes place in 1960s London, the cultural capital of the world, and home to a plethora of subcultures and businesses. Your task is to build a company that will own the criminal underworld, or if you play as the chief inspector of Scotland Yard’s famous Flying Squad, tear it down piece by piece. In the process, you will go to pubs, clubs, vets, tailors, harbors, and many other locations as you expand your influence over the city. Your team consists of either gang members possessing the different skills required to pull off criminal tasks, or detectives that have mastered the art of investigation.
Personally I’m eager to play this game! I really love the setting.
Popup Dungeon – 12th August
Another very interesting release, at least for me. Popup Dungeon is a peculiar RPG that lets you create almost everything (stories, weapons, abilities, enemies, heroes).
It seems a game and a creation tool at the same time, with a tabletop game flavor too! And, if this isn’t enough for you, the game shows also a very nice and cute papercraft art style!
The Key Features are:
- Insane Customization: Create your favorite heroes, toss a sphere of annihilation at a politician, or turn your cat into a heavy-ordinance hairball launcher, the only limit is your imagination.
- Multiple Game Modes: The game includes fast-paced rogue-like runs, multiple story-driven campaigns, and hand-crafted challenges.
- Endless Content: Many games boast procedural content, but Popup Dungeon’s easy-to-use creation systems allow for inexhaustible handcrafted content.
- Game Creation: Tie a few nodes together to create your own games; from classic RPG adventures to personality quizzes and interactive fiction, you can do it all — no programming knowledge necessary!
- Persistent Gains: Collect charms to power up your party and delve further than before.
Tactical Troops: Anthracite Shift – 20th August
What a month! Another very promising game.
Tactical Troops: Anthracite Shift is an indie turn-based tactical science-fiction game set on the beautiful yet dangerous planet of Anthracite. Command a troop of elite soldiers using an advanced teleportation technology and their overwatch technique.
Even if the combat system is in turn-based mode the world of Anthracite follow the rules of physics: weapons require manual aiming, bullets and grenades can bounce off obstacles. Your troop can even push objects and use them to their advantage!
Soon on Steam.
Blocks!: Crusader Rex – 27th August
Marcello (aka the Boss of this blog!) is a very nice guy and has a particular skill: he is able to find even the little known turn-based game on Earth!
About Blocks: Crusader Rex I don’t know anything, but I found this description on their site:
“Crusader Rex is a wargame covering the 3rd Crusade. One player plays the Christian Franks, the other, the Muslim Saracens. The objective of the game is to control important Victory Cities such as Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus, and Antioch.
The board depicts the Middle East from Antioch in the north to Egypt in the south.“
From the images, the game looks like a true board game and offers a single-player campaign as well as a multiplayer mode.
Now, try to guess? Yeah, on Steam…no, not this time, you can buy it here.
Against The Moon – 27th August
Against The Moon is a turn-based strategy where chthonic monsters will challenge your tactical skills. Lead a squad of superhumans in a desperate attempt to save humanity’s last stronghold, the intelligent city of Arx.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos – 27th August
This is another interesting tactical game, with a bit of spice.
Our heroes, in fact, aren’t the usual white and fearless knights, but some clumsy and dumb guys involved into an heroic mission.
The cartoonish graphic style is very well done and gives the right feeling about the unusual setting.
The game promises an expansive bestiary (more than 100 enemies!), epic boss battles and a destructible environment (including beer kegs) with surprising status effects will turn the tide of battle for the better…or worse!
Luckily, in addition to the tactical fights, there will be also puzzles, traps and other amenities.
Wasteland 3 – 28th August
I think Wasteland 3 needs no introduction. Personally I completed the second chapter in a week, and, despite it had some limitations (probably for the low budget), I really loved it.
I’m quite sure the third chapter will be even bigger and better. I’ve to admit that I’m a bit tired of tactical RPG (especially if they imply the use of cards). Now I want a REAL RPG (obviously with turn-based combat) and Wasteland 3 could be exactly what I’m looking for.
Anyway for the (very) few who doesn’t know anything about it, Wasteland 3 is the third chapter of one of the oldest CRPG ever realized (it is sufficient to say that the first game was published in 1988!).
Obviously one of the main fascinating aspects of the game is its setting. Wasteland, in fact, was the first CRPG to use a post-apocalyptic setting, years before Fallout.
This time our mission will bring us in a frozen Colorado where survive will be difficult as never before. We will have to guide our squad, take hard moral choices and survive till the end!
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars – 28th August
This August is certainly running for the best month of the year.
At the end of the month another very interesting game should be released. We’re talking about Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars!
In a few words (taken from the developers) the game is: “Total War meets turn-based meets Vampires!“. Quite an intriguing description!
IRWV is a strategic game that blends together a deep empire management section with turn-based combat and unique card-game elements (oh hell…).
Despite the card elements (!), the game looks really promising and it can claim one of the less abused setting for a strategic game. If you love vampires (the real ones, not the Twilight-ish fashion/glamour/always in love teenagers) you can’t miss it.
Battle Barn: Tactics – August
As some of you maybe know, I really love pixel art. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my age, but my humble opinion is that there are entire genres of videogames that can safely do without polygons and turn-based RPG are one of them.
Try to watch the image above and tell me if I’m wrong…
Anyway, in Battle Barn: Tactics you will have to battle your way through bite-sized combat until you hit the next zone. There are two very interesting features in this game. The first one allows you to capture and control every unit on the screen. The second one is that every unit here is…unique! In fact, every animal will have a different move pattern, dozens of abilities and countless combinations of upgrades.
After this game your barn will never look the same!
On Steam someday during August.
Slimesphere – August
Slimesphere is an isometric turn-based tactics game, where the goal is to kill the enemy slimes within 3 rounds. Its deterministic mechanics make the levels feel like puzzles, and you have to figure out the best strategy to win!
Usually, when outnumbered by enemies, you have to rely on traps to beat the AI. Spikes, crossbows, treadmills, launchers, etc. As the difficulty increases, the player has to pay more and more attention to the surroundings, and take advantage of that. There are 12 levels and 14 achievements; if that’s not enough, you can create your own maps with the in-game level editor!
Please note: for any consideration about pixel graphic see above!
On Steam during August.
Baldur’s Gate III – August (E.A.)
No need for introductions for the new Larian Studios title. The new chapter takes us into the world of Baldurs’ Gate and we are super excited for everything that lies ahead.
Here’s the Steam Page
Please let us know what you think about the August releases and if we missed something in this list. Wish you all a good and hot August.