Red Hook Studios’s gorgeously gothic RPG Darkest Dungeon went live on Kickstarter just nine hours ago, and is already looking ready to slay its goal of $75,000. Boasting the traditional roguelike staples of procedurally-generated levels, permadeath, and turn-based combat, Darkest Dungeon also promises an “uncompromising, unforgiving, and unconventional” approach to the classic dungeon crawler. Drawing influence from the creeping terror of H.P. Lovecraft’s literary works, Red Hook Studios hopes to implement an “Affliction System,” forcing the player to contend with “paranoia, abusiveness, fear, irrationality, and a host of gameplay-meaningful quirks” as they lead a team of heroes ever deeper into the dungeon.
With the game set to meet its funding goal within the first day, and with a long list of stretch goals promising ever more content and polish, Darkest Dungeon is a project I will certainly be keeping my eye on. To learn more, jump on over to the game’s site, or head straight to the game’s Kickstarter page to get on board.
Currently slated for a release in the spring of 2014, Clockwork Empires aims to provide players with a Dwarf Fortress-like experience with a Victorian-steampunk flavor. As citizens of “The Empire,” your colonists will each have unique personal histories, leading them to interact with one another, form social class structures, and work various jobs within the colony. Thrown into the mix for good measure will be elements of Lovecraftian cosmic horror as fishmen may attack from the sea or your citizens may become cultists under the spell of eldritch gods. Gaslamp Games plans to incorporate native support for “successive multiplayer” and save-game sharing, hopefully offering plenty of opportunities for Boatmurdered-like stories to emerge.
Revenge of the Sunfish was a delightful find in 2008. Equal parts horror and humor, it’s a bizarre, genre-blending game that reminds me vaguely of both WarioWare and the cult classic PS1 title LSD. Five years later, JinxTengu is following up Sunfish with a sequel that looks much more ambitious but lacking none of the crude charm and aggressiveness that made the original so enjoyable to play.
According to this interview with JinxTengu, the game is slated for an October release on PC, with iPhone and Android to follow. A $5 price tag is probable.
Routine is an upcoming first-person survival horror title set on an abandoned lunar research station. The game features some roguelike elements, such as permanent death and randomized hazards and key item locations. The game’s three-person development team has also emphasized that there will be no HUD or scoring systems so as to increase the immersion. They are hoping to provide support for the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift at release.
Lunar Software originally announced that Routine would be coming out in March or April this year, but have since changed the release date to sometime in 2013, given the increased scope of the game. It has already been Greenlit on Steam.
The three-person indie studio, Acid Wizard, has released a gameplay teaser for their current survival-horror project, Darkwood.
Billed as a “top-down, oldschool survival horror set in a procedurally generated open world, with RPG and roguelike elements,” where players must explore the dark forest surrounding their cabin and defend against the terrors of the night, Darkwood sounds like a project to follow. As the trailer shows, Acid Wizard certainly knows how to do atmosphere, and the gameplay itself strikes me as a top-down mix between Project Zomboid and Alan Wake. A great first impression, to be sure, and I’ll certainly be keeping tabs on this project as it goes forward.
This is a gameplay teaser for Among the Sleep, an upcoming horror game where you play a 2-year-old child. According to developer krillbite, the game is slated for a 2013 release.
The Dream Machine is an episodic horror adventure game that stars Victor Neff, a young man who just moved into an apartment with his wife. The first three chapters of the five chapter story have already come out and are now available on Steam. With each short chapter costing $5, it really makes the most sense to try chapter one for free at the game’s website and then buy the full $15 bundle on Steam if you enjoy it.
Confusing distribution options aside, The Dream Machine has a wonderfully eerie and surrealistic atmosphere, and when I played it a year or so back, I remember the story and puzzles being quite interesting. Hopefully the final two chapters will be released soon.
Jasper Byrne released his horror-themed adventure Lone Survivor today. The protagonist, an unnamed masked man, must escape a disease-ravaged city filled with monsters and hallucinations. You can play the demo online at Kongregate. The full version costs $10.
TIGdb: Entry for Lone Survivor
A group of teenagers enter an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of town to see if it’s haunted… an unimaginative set up for a horror tale, but thankfully it’s not indicative of the rest of the game. Released in 2009 by the Japanese developer noprops, Ao Oni has since gained a cult reputation for its inventive scares and challenging puzzles. Given that it’s made in RPGMaker XP, the game’s not Amnesia-levels of scary, but it squeezes a lot out of the aging engine to provide a suitably creepy backdrop for the puzzle-solving.
Everything you need to play Ao Oni is available at its homepage, including the RPGMaker XP runtime. There are Japanese, English, and Italian language editions of the game – just download your preferred translation, unzip, and run (after installing the runtime, of course). Keep in mind that different versions of Ao Oni vary greatly in terms of plot and design… older versions are available from other websites if you’re interested (but beware of spoilers).
TIGdb: Entry for Ao Oni
I’ve been meaning to talk about Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but truth be told, it’s taking me a while to complete the game. It’s not the puzzles that are causing me to balk, but the terror of traipsing through another of the game’s dark hallways, anxiously checking my lantern oil and wondering if I’m being stalked by something horrible. Amnesia is one of the few games where item-gathering puzzles are genuinely thrilling, if only because it’s scary just to walk across a room.
Thankfully, the game’s update today gives me a good reason to make a post. On top of the bug fixes, 1.2 adds five short stories to read, as well as the DLC titled “Justine” that was created for Valve’s Portal 2 ARG and has been retooled for the update. Additionally, the Amnesia OST is now available for purchase through the Frictional Games online store (or as a free download for players who pre-ordered the game or bought it directly from the creators).
The update does not, however, come with the fortitude to see you through Amnesia’s constant thrills, which are well-crafted with various subtle and not-so-subtle cues. Frictional Games has really outdone itself with the graphics, and especially the audio, which are both top-notch, as well as the physics-based interaction that they’ve been refining since the Penumbra series. Survival horror fans and the morbidly curious should definitely check it out.
Released: September 8th, 2010
TIGdb: Entry for Amnesia: The Dark Descent