The cult classic survival roguelike UnReal World is now donationware as of version 3.16. Creator Sami Maaranen cites faster releases as the reason for the switch, saying “massive AI, end-game and graphics improvements are underway and I’d like to keep releasing new versions whenever substantial new features are up and running”. People who already own a full license to the game are still entitled to free updates should it ever revert back to a paid scheme (a possibility that Maaranen acknowledges).
Although it’s a lesser-known roguelike, UnReal World has garnered a cult following for its complex combat and survival systems, as well as its unique portrayal of Finnish history and mythology. Unlike many dungeon crawlers, UW is extremely open-ended, allowing the player to play a number of non-combat roles such as hunter, hermit, fisherman, or trader. More often than not, the elements are your worst enemy, and understanding how to survive in an Iron Age Finnish wilderness is one of the game’s major challenges.
Robit Studios and Chucklefish are collaborating on Treasure Adventure World: a commercial, HD remake of Treasure Adventure Game (a wonderful, freeware Metroidvania from 2011). Their press release shares some of the main changes to expect from the new version:
- New engine, smoother gameplay, HD widescreen mode
- High-res, hand-drawn art by Christine Crossley
- New music and sound by Robert Ellis
- More treasures and collectibles, remixed puzzles and new equipment
- Improvements to enemy AI, more intense boss fights
- More tightly-focused story, intriguing cutscenes, charming NPCs and new multiple endings
There is also some info in the Indie Statik post on TAW, which helps to expand upon the press release.
Additionally, those curious about experiencing the game’s earlier incarnations can download Karma as an exclusive bonus from the GOG.com release of TAG. The games in Karma aren’t as fully polished as TAG was, but they are great samples of how drastic development can be from one iteration to the next.
There’s no need to beat a dead horse but it should be mentioned – yeah, Diablo 3 was a pretty disappointing experience for me, too. It happens. However, just as the third Godfather movie didn’t mean the end of good gangster flicks, neither does the third Diablo game mean the end of good point-and-click action RPGs.
Path of Exile is one of the newer entries to the genre, and the one I’m most excited about. Unlike Torchlight, the theme and graphics are dark, gritty, and almost oppressive. And unlike Grim Dawn, PoE will be available to play later today, as an open beta. Unlike all the other Diablolikes, the game will always be free-to-play, with cosmetic microtransactions being the only source of the developer’s income from it.
Like Hydorah before it, Locomalito’s Maldita Castilla stays very close to its inspirations, in this case the venerated platformer series Ghosts n’ Goblins. From the overall look to the invariable jump, you’ll feel very much like you’ve stepped into the greaves of Arthur’s Spanish cousin.
So how does it stack up to its forebears? I’ve played through the game once and I think that it’s a mixed bag, although one worth trying if you enjoyed the GnG games. Compared to the best of that series (Ghouls n’ Ghosts, Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts, and Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins), Maldita Castilla lacks variety and charm. The rather dreary mythological theme doesn’t quite compare to Capcom’s colorful fantasy world, and while many of the levels will have you cursing like you’re playing a Ghosts game, they’re also more one-dimensional.
None of this is to say that Maldita Castilla is a bad game, only that it sticks so closely to its source material and falls a bit short in comparison. As I said, it’s still worth your time… but perhaps more as a highly-polished fan game than something that stands alone. As reminiscent of Gradius as Hydorah was, it was still enough of a mélange as to feel unique (the branching stage design and limited save concept also helped separate it).
When Twinbeard Studios’ Frog Fractions was released in October, I played it for only a few minutes before dismissing it as a cute parody—a humorous dig at the multitude of terrible edutainment games. Luckily, I was recently persuaded to check it out again and was rewarded with an extremely unique and surprising experience. I don’t want to say too much about the game for fear of spoiling it, but I will say this: It’s worth finishing.
Frog Fractions is free to play on the game’s site, so hop on over and try it out for yourself.
Desperate Gods is an open source “digital board game” developed by Wolfire Games for Fuck This Jam, a week-and-a-half-long game jam based around making games in genres you generally dislike. In his design overview, Wolfire’s David Rosen describes how he enjoys board games but feels that their video game counterparts lack a lot of what makes them fun. Check out the video above to see how he and artist Aubrey Serr tried to overcome these problems while developing a unique board game from the ground up.
What’s in the Box? is a clever puzzler from Finlay Costello, aka “finc”. The goal of the game is to carry a red box out of each level using your snake-like arm, a task complicated by the fact that the box is stopped by the red X’s and your hand is stopped by blue ones. Winning involves timing as well as puzzle-solving, and you’ll have to play perfectly (zero errors) to find out what’s in the box.
It should be mentioned that this is the first video game finc has ever made, using Game Maker 8. Congratulations!
Developed by a group of students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute during their Spring semester, Zineth is a non-linear action game that mostly lets you skate around, but also gives you the option to fiddle around with fetch quests, races, Twitter, and a strange Pokémon-esque minigame that’s accessible through the player’s mobile device. The main draw, however, is the skating, and it feels fast and fun. It’s complemented by a cool aesthetic and an expansive world that offers plenty of opportunities to grind, glide, and wall jump across huge distances.
Described as an “experimental, winner-generated arcade roguelike”, Mercury is a simple dungeon crawl that allows the two top-scoring players at the end of each 4-day cycle to permanently add something new to it. Released as beta last month, the game began with only one monster, item, and class, but has since been expanded by the leading players in its community. There’s also a Chaos Mode, which allows anyone to add new entities to the game at any time (this is an easy way to see how the creation system works).
Combat is handled like any other roguelike: you deal and receive damage by stepping into an enemy’s tile. The scoring system, however, is based around killing bosses for multipliers and clearing a floor of monsters for a large point bonus. The player also has to manage a finite pool of actions that is only replenished by descending to the next floor.
Mercury was created by James Lantz, with artwork by his father Frank Lantz (Drop7). Since the game’s in beta, it’s still being worked on actively – in his latest blog post, James says that future updates may allow players to create private servers.
(Source: Jason Rohrer)