Big Block Games is creating a simple two-week game from scratch to raise money for Child’s Play, the charity started by Penny Arcade that provides toys and games to sick children. The team will be streaming live and putting up builds of Coffee Break Hero every hour or so, along with design notes and other fun stuff. It’s Flash-based, so you can play it right in your browser as it gets updated.
Higher donators will receive prizes such as free games and be able to contribute to the game’s design by naming monsters and items.
Today, Basilisk games released the Macintosh and Linux versions of Eschalon: Book II, following the Windows version which came out earlier this month. Book II is the second game in a planned trilogy of RPGs, and continues the story where Book I left off. According to an interview with one of the creators, Book II also improves on the first game in a number of ways:
Eschalon: Book II can be purchased for $24.95 and Book I, which was released in 2007, now costs $19.95. Demos are available for both games.
TIGdb: Entry for Eschalon: Book II
Also, I noticed that Spiderweb Software’s long-running RPG series, Avernum, has finally reached its conclusion this year, with Avernum 6. Like Eschalon, the last game in the series came out three years ago, in 2007. The game is available for both Windows and Macintosh.
So yeah, so far it’s been a good year for fans of old-school, story-driven indie fantasy CRPGs! For more indie RPG love, you should check out Craig Stern’s IndieRPGs.com. Craig is a developer of RPGs himself, having created a number of games under the label Sinister Design.
TIGdb: Entry for Avernum 6
The goal of this contest for the Ohrrpgce engine was to make a terrible game. The games are terrible, intentionally, but interesting. The creator of the Ohrrpgce, James `SPAM Man’ Paige, posted great video reviews of all the entries. I thought these videos were very entertaining to watch, even if you don’t play any of the “terrible” games.
Among others the games include a game where the fate of various people are determined by a random button push, an RTS where babies face off against robots, a randomly generated bacon dungeon, the Village People: The Videogame (which is exactly what it sounds like), and a game which was so terrible it wasn’t even released, even though it too is an entry in this contest (see video above).
You can find the rest of the video reviews of each game after the “jump”.
The weekend-long contest apparently revolved around trying to create a playable RPG in 48 Hours around the theme ‘LOFI’, allowing developers to interpret that anyway they want. GirlFlash decided to interpret it through gameplay, employing the supposed bare-minimum required of an RPG. The result is The Linear RPG, an incredibly simple RPG where very little happens. Run right, kill everything. If that fails, run left until you kill enough that you can keep running right and killing everything. The story is told in the background, as the player runs around on the foreground which is represented using a very stylish 3D-Effect. Most of the enjoyment I had through the game came from reading the tale in the back, which is about absurd as it is completely awesome. You’ll never see Alphabetti Spaghetti quite the same way again.
Overall it’s quite a sweet dig at JRPG’s, playing off stereotypes and cliche whilst simplifying the gameplay to an almost insulting degree and yet still maintaining an easily recognisable formula in even current generation mainstream titles. An awful lot of RPG’s rely upon their story to be the main distinguishing factor between themselves and other titles in a genre, and if nothing else this game effectively demonstrates what many RPGs are at their very core. So at the very least, thank you GirlFlash for reminding me just how much I hate the opening of Xenogears!
Bernie, one of my favorite freeware developers (take a look at TIGS history), is working on his first RPG. At least, I hope he is! There hasn’t been any news since it was announced, but, assuming he finishes it (as Bernie is wont to do), it will be “simple, colorful, and easygoing.” To contrast these dark times we live in.
The game is tentatively titled “Kitty RPG” as it stars the kitty from A Game With A Kitty, which seems to get linked to in any post that so much as mentions Bernie.
In case you missed it, you can find A Game With A Kitty here.
Exit Fate is a new RPG from the creator of Last Scenario. Whilst sharing a number of similarities such as the portrait artwork, its general style is a lot closer to that of the JRPG Suikoden. In this regard there is a far greater number of recruitable characters, up from the 7 of the first game to a staggering 75. Unique portrait work for each as well as battle art is an astounding achievement for a single man development team. It also features some interesting mechanics, such as the large overhead tactical battles similar to Suikoden, as well as a bribery system which alerts you to nearby enemy encounters an lets you buy off fighting them in order to continue adventuring without conflict. The battle system is fairly standard turn-based combat, but with the interesting twist in that you gain MP as you fight, rather than slowly deplete a mana pool. This stops you from instantly nuking foes from the offset, giving the battles an interesting flow.
Enemy art and backgrounds I believe are also hand-made and the entire project feels rather well put together, though the 150MB size might put off some people from trying it. Give it a go though, and see what you think.
In the extended are my main criticisms of the game, where I’m suprisingly mean and consequently feel like kind of a jerk! (EDIT: And is in no way an actual review.)
To start with, I don’t really like some of the portraits. This isn’t a real criticism since they are certainly well drawn, it’s just to do with my own personal taste. If I don’t like the look of the main character though (He has a big face) then I’ll find it hard to engage with him. However, a major gripe I do have is that there is only one portrait for each character whenever theyâ€™re talking, which can lead to some goofy juxtapositioning such as the main screenshot here where Ayara recounts a tragic night ambush yet looks fairly pleased to do so.
Another large problem I have is that the game is described as being a Suikoden style RPG, but to spoil the first hour of gameplay; Thereâ€™s a suprise ambush on your protagonistâ€™s camp, he is nursed by the enemy forces, heâ€™s branded a traitor by his old countrymen, he joins the enemy army and en route to another objective will travel through a forest and FIGHT A MIST MONSTER.
I get that itâ€™s supposed to be in the style of Suikoden, but this basically IS the first hour of Suikoden II, and even then it was a fairly regular plot for the genre. After ten years it just doesnâ€™t have the same impact at all, espeically without a creature like Luca Blight driving it. The plot may pick up later but Iâ€™m afraid it was feeling too stale for me to progress much further than the Mist Monster (Seriously, he was on the misty mountain pass in Suikoden II. What the hell is he doing in a completely clear forest?). The funny thing is that the game couldâ€™ve kept my attention if it didnâ€™t insist on reminding me of a better game at least once a minute. The battle theme is pulled straight from Suikoden II, plenty of the town themes are instantly recognizable from Final Fantasy games and when you finish off a boss youâ€™re rewarded by the victory theme from Chrono Trigger.
It just doesnâ€™t seem like sensible practice. I understand itâ€™s a freeware release, so it does seem a little unfair to compare it to The Spirit Engine or the like, but at the same time the difference in quality is clear. Itâ€™s still a good game, it just feels like a game that tries to create an identity for itself whilst also taking iconography from famous titles which does little else but spoil the effect.
I appreciate the time and effort that developers put into making games and clearly a lot of thought was put into certain parts of this game, especially since the entire game apparently took two years to create. And it’s because of this that the areas where that effort is missing feel somewhat unsatisfying. I really want to like the game, but that seems entirely contingent on whether or not I can look past the unmistakable signs of RPGMaker. And I really don’t think I can.
TIGdb: Entry for Exit Fate
<img width=500 src=“http://hamsterrepublic.com/ohrrpgce-images/7/7f/Front-page_screenshot_collage.png”>
Ohrrpgce games, as I noted in the Wandering Hamster post, are generally kind of bad, but there are a few that might be worth playing, and you can always get a smidgen of good from any game. Here I’ll highlight a few of the ones I’ve particularly enjoyed.
Because there are quite a few of these I’ve put them under “the jump” (I’ve never used “the jump” before, let’s hope it works!)
Sword of Jade by Charbile and Fyrewulff is a lengthy (25+ hour) RPG with a lot of philosophy and furries. It can be very hard at first, but if you don’t give up after the first area it gets easier. If you enjoyed games with a lot of text and convoluted plots (like Xenogears or Planescape: Torment) you can enjoy this game. It’s personally my favorite Ohrrpgce game, but others feel it’s overrated, it’s very dependent on one’s tastes.
Vikings of Midgard by Fenrir-Lunaris is an RPG with a Norse mythology setting, and has some of the best pixel art I’ve ever seen on the Ohrrpgce.
Boundless Ocean is by Hardi Gosal (Orchard-L), the author of Missing and Fedora Spade. Boundless Ocean is an adventure game with RPG elements. I think it’s an interesting game, especially the storytelling and visualization, and just the sheer the idea of playing a game set in the afterlife (God and Buddha are characters you meet there).
Walthros by PHC has fairly rudimentary graphics, but don’t let them scare you away, it’s a long game with an interesting story, and one of the better games on the Ohrrpgce.
Wingedmene by Komera Waddi is an unfinished but lengthy traditional high-fantasy RPG. Well, at least the mechanics are traditional, the story surrounds a playable character who looks like this (I think that’s cute). I helped Komera with some of the game, the battle balance and one of the dungeons, but she did most of the work. It’s a very traditional RPG: if you liked the first Final Fantasy game, this game plays a lot like that, difficulty level and all.
Keep in mind these are old games so they may not work on your computer; if they fail to work, you can try downloading the newest version of the Ohrrpgce game runner and running the game’s .RPG file through that. Some of them might not even come with that game runner, so it’s a good idea to pick it up anyway.
If you’re wondering why this is only going up now rather than last week when the game was released, it’s because every time I go to write about it I decide to play just one more quick game and soon an hour’s gone by. Take that as a hell of a recommendation – DROD RPG is good. Really, really good.
Perhaps I’m a little biased, though. I’m a huge fan of the DROD series – for me it’s a pinnacle of good level design; as many people have said, it probably is the best puzzle series ever made. (At the very least, it’s the best series of puzzle games that I’ve ever played). There’s a strange word caravel games use an awful lot that I think explains it: “lynchpin”. The idea is that a good puzzle should have a lynchpin solution; that it only seems difficult until you step back and look at it the right way – at which point the solution becomes obvious and you feel brilliant for having thought of it. It’s that feeling that repeats itself so often in their puzzle games that makes them so satisfying to play: and that approach to game design, essentially, is why DROD RPG is so good too.
DROD RPG is a big departure for Caravel Games – actually it’s the first game they’ve released that isn’t another puzzle game – but it manages to bring the same design approach to a new genre in a really interesting way. You frequently feel like you’re up against insurmountable odds, but if you plan your approach and think things through, you always just manage to pull through. And it’s so satisfying when you do.
(One last thing: If you’re already a DROD fan, then you might be interested in knowing that there’s a new smitemaster selection out – Devilishly Dangerous Dungeons of Doom. I’ve played it, and… well, it’s hard. Really hard. Even by DROD standards. But worth a look!)
“I’d always steered away from working on an RPG, but now that I think I’ve finally got the requisite know-how, I’ve decided to give it a shot,” the famously modest developer says. “But already it’s more of a challenge than ”http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA022293/storehouse.html" title=“Some stuff Pixel’s done before” >anything I’ve done before…"
There aren’t any details on the game itself yet, except that Pixel “would like to avoid anything too large-scale, yet still make it fun to play… somehow.” He goes on to apologize in advance if he never finishes it. (Aw, we’d still love you, Pixel!)
Well, I’m pretty excited! How about you?
Also: Any updates, Shih Tzu?
(Source: Shih Tzu)