Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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Player-Created Delve Deeper DLC Gratis Grottos Free on Steam

Happy news incoming from Lunar Giant Studios as they announce the release of new Delve Deeper DLC, available now automatically to download on Steam. The add-on is packed full of player-created content and comes at no cost for those who own the title.


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Delve Deeper DLC Treasures and Tunnels Now Available

Delve Deeper has always had a special place in my gaming heart. The combination of retro board game-like gameplay mixed in a unique dwarf fantasy setting just really spoke to me. And, to be perfectly hnest, the game was just plain fun. Digging, exploring, fighting, etc. is a great way to spend an afternoon, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, as happens with all games, you get bored with the same ol’ same ol’. Luckily for us, developers Lunar Giant have released their first ever DLC pack! Check it out:

With an official release date of mid-July, “Treasures and Tunnels” can be found even earlier by playing the Steam Summer Sale metagame. Extend Delve Deeper with 10 new levels and 25 brand new relics; that’s 50% more Delve Deeper maps and 30% more treasure. Each level is custom-tailored to be tackled by different team combinations, and each relic custom-designed to add new excitement to every map!

More levels and more items! Can’t argue with that. The DLC also ships with the 1.3 patch which promises a slew of upgrades and big fixes:

Delve Deeper 1.3 adds a whole new auto tile selection system that makes gameplay faster and more intuitive, fixes all of the remaining Steam achievements that were previously unachievable, fixes a number of other bugs, and addresses balance issues. Thank you to all of our gamers who contributed to making this patch happen.

All of this should be available now for free as part of the Steam Summer Sale metagame they’ve got going on. If you don’t wish to participate in that then the DLC will be available in a wide release by mid-July. No word yet on whether this will include the XBLIG version.

[Steam]


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Indie Deal of the Day: 5 for $5 Bundle

It seems like indie bundles are going to be a fairly regular occurrence from this point on. As gamers look to get the most bang for their buck, it just seems to make sense for developers to package their games together in an attempt to generate mass consumer interest with fantastic savings. Today’s “Indie Deal of the Day” is just such a bundle.

The 5 for $5 Bundle is a bundle that is true to it’s namesake. For $5 you get five DRM free games. And these are quality games too. I can, personally, attest to three of these games being a lot of fun and worth your time. Here are the games involved:

  1. Delve Deeper (a personal favorite of mine)
  2. Spring Up Harmony
  3. Mactabilis
  4. Steel Storm: Burning Retribution
  5. Digitanks (great strategy gem)

The deal is only going to be around for a little under two weeks though so if you don’t act fast you may have to resort to buying these games at their original prices, each of which is at or over $5 by themselves. Check out the trailer below for more information.

[5 for $5 Bundle]

Trailer

 


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Top 10 Indie Picks of the Steam Holiday Sale

steam-logoAlright, I’ve already spent over $80 on Steam games today. I’ve maxed out my limit, seriously. That said, however, I still have yet to even scratch the surface of the Steam Holiday sale. As such, I figured it would be fun to put together my top 10 indie games you should check out for this year’s holiday indie sale.

Keep in mind, these are of my personal opinion. I’m not basing these top 10 games off of score, pricing, or anything of that nature. Also this list is in no particular order.

Super Meat Boy – $3.75

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This game released, literally, a few weeks ago. It is quite possibly a game the year contender for both myself and DIYGamer and, really, should be an instant purchase for anybody who doesn’t yet own the game. Seriously, it’s amazing.

[Link]

Metal Drift – $4.99

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Released back in 2009, I”ve recently fallen back in love with this game’s unique multiplayer ‘splodey action. It’s a fast and furious gravity tank game that allows for a progressive leveling to assemble bigger and more bad ass weapons.

[Link]

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom – $0.49

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Some people didn’t care for this game, I loved it. It’s whimsical and very charming in that early 1900s sort of way. Plus at less than what a candy bar costs at the local super market? Easy choice.

[Link]

Zero Gear – $4.99

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Zero Gear, in my opinion, was a better game than the newest Mario Kart. They have some fundamental differences, granted, but on a pure kart-game basis, I’d choose Zero Gear any day. It’s just plain ol’ fun.

[Link]

AI War: Fleet Command + expansions – $9.99+

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Probably the most expensive game on my list but oh so worth it. Seriously, this game offers an incredible amount of depth for a fraction opf what it would cost elsewhere. And now it costs even a fraction of that! Solid choice for strategy fans.

[Link]

Delve Deeper – $2.49

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Charming, hot seat action involving Dwarves mining for gold, fighting monsters/dragons and competing with other teams of Dwarves. Seriously, does it get any better than this? Not by much. A great strategy hot-seat game.

[Link]

Amnesia: The Dark Descent – $9.99

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Does the phrase “scary as shit” mean anything to you? Pardon my language, but that’s literally the best way to describe this very, very frightening game. People willing to subject themselves to horrors such as this should definitely enjoy the sale.

[Link]

VVVVVV – $2.49

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Another great action platformer in the same vein as Super Meat Boy, only this time your taking control of Captain Veridian as he attempts to save his ship mates from impending doom. It’s a challenging, but very satisfying game.

[Link]

Plain Sight – $4.99

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Another fantastic multiplayer game that features none other than robot ninjas. Combined with some amazing 3D action and a few unique game modes Plain Sight is a great catch for anybody who’s looking for a new multiplayer game.

[Link]

AaAaAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity – $4.99

Aaaaa!

Last, but certainly not least, who can certainly not enjoy a game about base jumping and flippng people off? While the game is getting a little older, this is certainly one of the best first person indie experiences available today.

[Link]

Solid list if I do say so myself. Of course, don’t let this stop you from trying other indie games. There are a lot of really, really good games for sale this holiday season and chances are, even if none of these sound appealing to you, there’s something on Steam that you’ll really enjoy.

Happy holidays.


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Delve Deeper Update Arrives

Delve_Deeper_Update

Lunar Giant has released a a sizable new patch for their adventure strategy game Delve Deeper, now available for owners to download on Steam.

The update brings lots of new additions, improvements and fixes to the game. Highlights include hot key support for dwarves, added speed settings, a monster spawn cap and plenty more.

From the notes:

  • Delve Deeper should now run on the Intel GMA onboard family of GPUs
  • Added speed setting 6 (for instant movement), and re-timed all faster and slower animation modes.
  • Added 11 new relics for your enjoyment! They’re super awesome!
  • Added a ‘Discard’ button to the first phase of Tile Selection so you can skip the Tile Drop phase much faster
  • The tutorial is now completable with a controller.
  • Added a monster spawn cap to the gameplay options menu; allows for control over how many monsters can spawn (max) on a turn.
  • Several fixes for achievements
  • *Opportunist (only unlocks if you win without turning in any gold, gems, or mithril) *Slime’s Sappin Mah Sentry *Blacksmith *Brewmaster *Ties for 0 points no longer count as wins for the purpose of achievements
  • Added an option to Start In Fullscreen
  • Fixed the relic sale bug which was causing the sales display to disappear prematurely.
  • Added W,A,S,D support for moving the camera
  • Added BACKSPACE support for ending your turn
  • Set Tile Rotation and Tile Select Next/Prev to Q and E, for easy use with new mapping
  • Added support for hot selecting dwarves on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • The map can now be panned while you have a dwarf selected to move.
  • Updated the controls screen to reflect the aforementioned changes and inform people that ‘Fullscreen’ is on F12.
  • The game must now be in focus to register mouse clicks
  • Mimics now glow!
  • Mimics (also) no longer display warning axes if they are the only monster present on a hex!
  • The camera will not focus on mobs unless they are moving into combat on speeds 1 – 5, and will not focus on mobs until combat begins on speed 6
  • Fixed a bug with mis-pricing of oogler sales of negative value
  • Fixed hexes on maps that were ‘unreachable’ or ‘imbalanced due to their “reachability”‘

Delve Deeper is available on Steam for $5, check out our review.


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Delve Deeper Hits Steam, Dwarf-Sized Discount Offered

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Lunar Giant Studios has announced the launch of their adventure strategy game Delve Deeper onto digital distribution giant Steam. The turn-based title with RPG elements let’s up to four players forming dwarf mining teams build maps as the game unfolds.

The $5 title can be had for the slightly improved cost of $4.50 for the rest of the month with the offer going through Thursday, September 31.

Geoff’s got some good things to say about the title in his review, and a demo is also available for those interested.

[Delve Deeper]


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Indie Links Round-Up: Socially Aware

Indie_Links_NDAOur latest set of Indie Links gathered from far and wide consists primarily of conversations and connections between developers/enthusiasts and gaming journos/bloggers. There’s really nothing more easy going out there than those who work in the indie slice of the industry. Often, both sides reach out to one another often to form both a business and personal relationship and we all benefit for it. Check out today’s picks.

The Worth(lessness) of NDAs (IndieFund)
“It’s been almost two weeks since we opened up the submission process and the response has been fantastic, if somewhat overwhelming. We’ve gotten over 70 applications so far and we’re working through them as best we can. Please be patient with us… we will get back to you. One thing that has come up a couple of times is a request to sign an NDA, and that’s actually the focus of this post. We do not sign NDAs and would like to share the rationale behind this decision.”

Inteview: Andrew Goulding on Jolly Rover (Martin Mulrooney, Philip Jong/Adventure Classic Gaming)
“Jolly Rover is the debut adventure game from indie developer Andrew Goulding and his company Brawsome. Goulding is no stranger to the games industry, having worked for years as a game tester, programmer, and producer. Although comedy pirate adventures are certainly not unique to the genre, Jolly Rover seems to have taken on a new twist to an old theme by casting all of the game’s main characters as canines. Indeed, it is this unique design choice that makes Goulding’s game different from the competition.”

Unity Giveaway Contest Winners (Henley/IndieDB)
“Our Unity contest has come to a close, with over 50 entries and 10 amazing finalists, the quality of entries has been amazing. We asked for original concepts and we had an amazing response but in the end there can only be 2 winners.”

Interview: Dejobaan Games’ Lambe, Jaitley On Doing Things A Little Different (Mike Rose/GameSetWatch)
“Mike Rose sits down with two of the principals from super-quirky independent developer Dejobaan Games — creator of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity and The Wonderful End of the World – to reference upcoming title ooo! ooO! oOO! OOO! and their unique way of approaching game creation.”

Talking Shop: Carpe Fulgur On Recettear (Alec Meer/RPS)
“The demo of Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is one of the best things I’ve played in a while. A Japanese indie game pitching an RPG shopkeeper as the star… well, you can read all that in the last post. Given the slightly unusual nature of the project – it’s only available here thanks to a third-party translation company- I thought I’d chat to said translators about the why, how, who and what next. Interesting stuff – there’s this whole vein of (slick) indie gaming that we otherwise hear nothing about. Take it away, Carpe Fulgur’s Andrew Dice.”

LIMBO Review (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“Playdead’s action-based, puzzle-platformer, LIMBO, [is] out for Xbox LIVE Arcade and to put it bluntly: prepare to die!”

Tom Jubert Talks Projects, Plots, Penumbra (Lewis Denby/RPS)
“At the Develop Conference in Brighton last week, I had the opportunity to sit down for a beer and a chat with Tom Jubert, perhaps most famous for writing the excellent horror adventure series Penumbra. They’re dark and sinister games whose writing, and the structure of their storytelling, were often their strongest asset. Read on for Tom’s thoughts on the writing process, tales of game design tribulations, and his involvement in a major new title.”

Alhóndiga Bilbao Announces International hó Play Competition (Eric Caoili/GameSetWatch)
“Spanish culture and leisure center Alhóndiga Bilbao has announced hó Play, a new project that aims to present and promote video games that “stand out for their originality, creativeness, and innovation.”"

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Delve Deeper (Justin McElroy/Joystiq)
“This week we talk Lunar Giant Studio’s Adam Eidukas (Lead Developer) and Neil Wickman (Creative Director / Lead Artist) about how Adam FULLY beat Final Fantasy with just the thief. … Oh, also they made a game.”

Interview: Riot Games’ co-founder talks about Season One of League of Legends (John Callaham/Big Download)
“The game didn’t get a lot of attention from the mainstream game industry or the media when it launched last October but today it looks like League of Legends has been a huge success for its developer/publisher Riot Games. The company made the free-to-play multiplayer RTS-action game with some of the people behind the popular WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients.”


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Delve Deeper Delving into Xbox Live Indie Games “Late July”

DelveDeeper003

I just can’t get enough of Delve Deeper. Seriously, it’s easily one of my favorite indie games this year so far. Don’t believe me? Check out my own review of it.

Still though, despite me being so head over heels for the Dwarven mining simulator*, I can’t help but think that the game would be better played on my large screen television as opposed to my tiny PC screen. Perhaps I’m just getting older, but sitting crouched over my keyboard for hours on end just doesn’t have the appeal it used to.

If you’re in the same camp as I am then I’ve got great news for you. The developers, Lunar Giant, have confirmed to me that the game is tentatively scheduled for a “late July” release of Delve Deeper onto the Xbox Live Indie Games platform. Now, the reason why I say “tentatively” is because anything can happen when dealing with the XBLIG channel during the approval process. It’s the primary reason why we never have hard dates announced for XBLIG titles.

Still though, regardless of when it launches, I can absolutely guarantee you that Delve Deeper will be one of the premiere games available on the service, one that you should absolutely not ignore. In fact, I won’t let you ignore it. I’ll just post another news piece when it launches… so there.

*Not really.

[Buy/Try]


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One Part Mining, Two Parts Dwarf… Delve Deeper [Review]

DelveDeeper000

In my introductory piece on this game I had mentioned how Delve Deeper looked to be an astounding addition the mining game genre, assuming, of course, that the game was going to play similarly to other games in the niche genre. I was wrong. As it turns out Delve Deeper is much, much more than those other games. But before we get to the review allow me to give a brief synopsis on the game.

In Delve Deeper you’ll be creating mines, literally. You’ll be deciding what your tunnels look like, whether they go up or down, etc. Then you’ll be sending in your Dwarves to remove all the valuables to take back to your king. The deeper you go, the farther you are away from base camp and the harder things get.

But I feel like I’m putting to much emphasis on the “mining” part. Delve Deeper is a game that is only loosely about mining. Mining is just the theme of the game. Delve Deeper is really about strategy, tactics, and exploration all with just a smidgen of RPG thrown in for good measure. It’s a game that, really, would make an excellent board game. Although that’s not to say it’s a bad video game. In fact, it’s a fantastic one.

Gameplay

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As mentioned above Delve Deeper is, loosely, about mining. It’s the theme of the game. You control a squad of Dwarves that are tasked with getting the most amount of treasure to bring back to your king. Actually getting it, however, is where the other three core elements of the game come into play, all meshed together in a brilliant turn-based strategy that hearkens back to the old “just one more turn” formula.

Beginning a new game in Delve Deeper you don’t start out with a huge, already-built mine to begin to explore. No, you have to do this yourself. At the start of each turn you’re given the choice of using a tile to expand your mine in small hexagonal increments. These titles can send your mine up, down, left, right, or any combination of the aformentioned. This, in my opinion, is one of the best parts about the game. The fact that you could, literally, shape the mine the way you see fit means you have more control over your game and you’ll be less reliant on simple luck.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should just go wild and start creating mines haphazardly. There is a certain strategy involved that you’ll need to adhere to if you want to win. You see, while most of the mine is left for you to create, there will also be “pockets” that you can build into. These usually have something special within them, but they’ll also, more often than not, be filled with monsters. Additionally, you’ll probably want to avoid building into one of the other team’s mines, as you can very much attack each other to steal valuable treasure. While that may seem tempting, remember, you’re already dealing with a monster filled mine, adding other players into the midst is going to make things even more difficult.

Of course, when facing so many various challenges you’ll also need a few different types of Dwarves to manage. Delve Deeper supplies you with three types of Dwarves to get the job done: the fighter, the scout, and the miner. Each can do anything the other ones can, but each also specializes in one aspect. The fighter, for example is good at killing monsters (surprise!), the scout can mover farther, and the miner can hold more treasure. This gives the game some added tactics that you’ll want to consider before rushing off. After all, do you want to send your scout ahead to explore as much as possible first, or would you rather send your fighter in and make sure there isn’t going to be anything down there that’s going to kill you.

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The only thing that really irked me about the actual Dwarves you control, is that you can’t queue up their movement, like you can in other turn based games. For example, let’s say you’re trying to get your Dwarf scout back to homebase, which is 13 hexagon tiles away. Each scout can only move 6 hexagons each turn. This means each turn you’ll have to manually set them back on the course for where they want to go as opposed to the game just doing it automatically. This is something that really annoyed me, especially after my years of playing Heroes of Might and Magic where this was such a common feature.

Immediately from the onset you’ll notice that Delve Deeper has a lot to offer. While it’s not a game that really provides hours of entertainment within the bounds of a single game, there is plenty of replay value. Delve Deeper comes with a number of pre-made maps, each of which has its own turn limit and unique map layout. However, should you feel like these maps are woefully inadequate, feel free to create your own. The game comes with a very extensive map editor, if not a little confusing at first. Still though, the fact that they included this at all is good seeing as how it can only add to the game.

The only feature that’s really missing from a game such as this, is any sort of multiplayer. Which is kind of a shame. I mean, I’m not one to play a game like this online, but I can definitely get into a good game of “pass-the-laptop” hotseat every once in a while. Plus, this game has short enough turns that it certainly wouldn’t hamper the experience at all. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe the Xbox version will get a multiplayer mode. Nevermind, I’m daft. There is multiplayer, I just didn’t realize where it was. When selecting your choice of team, a player only has to plug in an extra controller and you’re good to go. Each person selects a team and you guys are set up for some hotseat multiplayer action. There is still no online mltiplayer, however.

Finally, and I just have to mention this, Delve Deeper comes with full support for an Xbox 360 gamepad on the PC. This should be a mandatory requirement for almost all PC games. I love the mouse/keyboard combo for some types of games — RTS’s mostly — but for a game such as this, it’s far more comfortable to be able to just sit back and use a gamepad. Kudos to the developers for including this.

Style

Graphically, Delve Deeper is very charming. I won’t say it has the best graphics or that they’re particularly unique. But the game looks good, and there’s really nothing to complain about. I wouldn’t even go so far as to call it “retro.” It’s just a decent lookng game.

The audio, on the other hand, was done really well. The music all sounds very epic and Dwarven-like, if that makes any sense at all. It’s loud, orchestral, and comes with plenty of booming drums. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Story

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There’s really no story to Delve Deeper. You’re basically just trying to score the most treasure for your king. That said, however, I will acknowledge whoever wrote the descriptions for the various treasures. While not directly story related, the treasure descriptions were well done and often funny.

Everything Else

Despite being a relatively short game, usually less than an hour, for some reason the developer didn’t include a save/load feature. Which means if you want to quit, but come back to your game later, you’re just going to have to leave the program open, in pause, and come back later. I don’t know why this wasn’t included, but it definitely makes me more reluctant to load the game if I’m under any sort of time constraint.

Regardless of a few key problems, Delve Deeper is a great experience and you’re getting it all for $5. For a game like this, that’s a great price. In fact, I’d say $10 wouldn’t be unreasonable were the developer to include some missing “features.” Still though, I highly recommend at least giving the game’s demo a run through. It’s totally worth it!

[Buy/Try]

[The developers of Delve Deeper, Lunar Giant, gave us a copy for reviewing purposes. This, in no way, affected the outcome of the review.]


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Impulse Keeps Building Indie Catalog

BOH_ImpulseA week has passed since I wrote on how Stardock’s digital distribution store Impulse had caught our attention by making it a mission to tirelessly add indie titles both new and old to their catalog. Well since that writing a whole slew of games have made their way onto the hub’s listings including the worldwise release of Simone Bevilacqua’s retro arcade shooter BOH. Here’s what’s popped up just this week:

BOH – Simone Bevilacqua
“BOH is a unique retro-flavoured top-down shooter that combines maze exploration and action with terrific results.You move in claustrophobic, traps-packed, mind-boggling battlefields searching for the Evil Masters, who throw countless enemies at you until you discover and face them in the final battle. Although your quests are made slightly less hard by the bonuses and power-ups scattered all around, carrying out the missions demands lots of concentration and quick reflexes. With BOH the fun never ends: new missions can be added anytime and you can even create your own! And, as if that was not enough, you can also customize entirely its audio-visual aspect!”

Cogs – Lazy 8 Studios
“Cogs is a puzzle game where players build machines from sliding tiles. Players can choose from 50 levels and 3 gameplay modes. New puzzles are unlocked by building contraptions quickly and efficiently.”

Downfall_ImpulseDownfall – Harvester Games
“Quiet Haven Hotel was supposed to be just a one night shelter for Joe and Ivy Davis. But things soon start to go wrong. Ivy’s panic attacks get worse and soon she disappears; and in the morning, the hotel changes too. Nothing is what it seems anymore. Joe is left alone, trying to understand what is happening, trapped between reality and the nightmare. Then everything changes again and the world turns black and white. Only the color of blood is still red…and it’s all around him. While the raging storm outside gets worse by the minute, it turns out the hotel isn’t completely abandoned. There’s a party on the third floor… but the birthday girl surrounded by her silent guests just keeps crying… The doctor in room 202 is hearing voices coming from the walls telling him to perform a certain experiment… And one girl who is asleep in her bedroom is dreaming a strange dream that soon turns into her worst nightmare…”

Zombie Shooter 2 – Sigma
“Zombie Shooter 2 is a unique blend of two game genres – Action and RPG. Every player can choose a character to their liking, get experience to develop skills, earn money and spend it on weapons, medications and useful devices. All of this will be used against thousands of enemies. The zombies fill the game screen, never letting you rest, even for a minute. Imagine yourself coming to visit an unknown city and seeing it almost ruined, with all the citizens turned into zombies. What will you do? Call for help, organize a large-scale rescue campaign or… Try to dig your way out of the situation, find out what happened and use your last chance to save the person you love!”

Delve_DeeperDelve Deeper – Lunar Giant Studios
“Take command of five Dwarf adventurers as they dive into long-abandoned mines to search for incredible wealth, lost treasures, dangerous monsters and bragging rights at the drinking hall. Be wary though, up to four teams set forth at once, and your greatest obstacle may be a fellow Dwarf with a different colored hat! Delve Deeper is a Adventure/Strategy game which pits you against monsters as you and up to three rival teams build an ever-changing dungeon map and compete to pilfer its loot as quickly as possible.”

Din’s Curse – Soldak Entertainment
“Din’s Curse is a single player and co-op multiplayer action RPG with 141 class combinations, infinite number of dynamically generated towns, real consequences, and a dynamic, evolving world. Din, champion of the gods, has cursed you into a second life of service because you selfishly squandered your first one while causing misfortune to those around you. To redeem yourself, you must impress Din by building a reputation for helping others. Travel the spacious western plains of Aleria and save desperate towns from the brink of annihilation. Until you’re redeemed, you’re doomed to wander the earth alone for all eternity. In Din’s Curse, you will explore an extensive underground, slaying dangerous monsters, solving dynamic quests, dodging deadly traps, and in your spare time, plundering loot. Quell uprisings, flush out traitors, kill assassins, cure plagues, purge curses, end wars, and complete other dangerous quests or the danger WILL escalate. Not all is as it seems though, traitors will gladly stab you in the back, renegades can revolt against the town, spies can set up ambushes, and items might even curse or possess your friends. Open the door to Din’s Curse. Surprising adventures await!”

Labryinthica: The Quest of Lima – Pompi Pompi Entertainment
“It was just another ordinary day for Lima. Though unexpectedly, the routine chore of picking apples, will send Lima into a dangerous journey. Labyrinthica: The Quest of Lima is a single-player, melee focused action game. Labyrinthica has similarities to rogue games, but is based on real-time action. You move Lima with the keyboard and aim with the mouse. Unlike similar games, you will need to fight monsters face to face rather than shoot them from a safe distance. You use both your weapon and shield in battle, though using a sword is not always the only way to harm enemies! Potions should be used wisely. Drinking that green potion might prove fatal. It might be poison! And throwing that bronze potion on the boar creature might make it go berserk. Potion colors are randomly assigned to each type. You will have to discover on your own what each potion color does. Labyrinthica awaits to test your wits and reflexes.”