After several months with no updates, a rather large one has just popped up for the Lovecraftian roguelike Infra Arcana, giving it a new lease of life and many improvements. The reason for such delay would be clear from the changelog – there’s a new map generator for a start.
If you haven’t come across Infra Arcana before then prepared to be soaked into retro sentiments. The graphics are a lovely combination of tile-set and ASCII, which leaves the game’s visual intricacies to your imagination while still offering a smooth look all round. Controls-wise, you’ll be using your keyboard only and in true retro fashion will have to issue commands and actions with the several lettered keys. There are help menus for those that need them which can be brought up by typing in a question mark.
The setting is of interest too, taking place around the early 20th century, your goal is to explore the lair of a dreaded cult called The Church of Starry Wisdom. It is only by travelling down through their decrepit dungeons that you’ll hopefully come across an artifact called The Shining Trapezohedron. It’s very likely that you’ll die on the way down though.
Being a roguelike through and through, the game features randomly generated levels and with the new update they seem even more varied than ever before. The dangers lurking within are even more threatening too – not only are there more monsters but the older ones have some new abilities. Being Lovecraftian, there’s always a sense of something lurking while you’re playing, and if you’re not careful then the game is all too happy to inflict a sudden drop of sanity upon you via fear or shock.
It need not be said, but Infra Arcana is highly replayable and certainly very challenging. You can grab your free download of Infra Arcana from the Downloads page with the later and all of the older builds present, a couple are available for Linux as well as Windows.
More information on Infra Arcana can be found over on the game’s official website.
Perhaps the only game based around golf that we’ll happily play for more than 10 minutes, Metagolf‘s last beta has been released and this means it’s your last chance to pick it up for half price.
Metagolf is a sidescrolling action platformer with a mini-golf twist. It supports up to four players and challenges them with whacking a golf ball from the start of the level to the hole as is usually the case. Not so typical of your golfing experience are the many hazards, puzzles and mazes that lay in waiting. Landing in the rough or a bunker are the least of your worries. The gravity fields, creatures, teleporters and conveyor belts (plus lots more) should be more of a concern. You better hope that you have a normal ball too, though having a Bouncy, Sticky, Death, Cubic, Rugby or Hedgehog ball is much more exciting.
As you can tell, Metagolf‘s quite the triumph on principal alone, and it’s much better giving it a go your self – check out our experience with the game in our preview. We haven’t even mentioned that it has a level editor yet – a wonder for replay value.
With the release of what its developer is saying is the last beta, now is the last time to grab the game for the $4 minimum from the official site, Desura or Indievania.
Metagolf is due for release in August 2012 on PC, Mac and Linux so get the practice in now!
The rolling gravy train on the journey to greater indie gaming coverage on Linux has been given a solid push in the right direction with the news that Gaijin Games’ delightful reflex-taxer Bit.Trip.Runner is now available for purchase over on the Ubuntu Software Center.
As far as we’re aware, the Linux version of the game is a near-perfect replica of the Bit.Trip Runner experience many gamers have been enjoying on both PC and Mac since its home computer release, having originated on Nintendo’s WiiWare service. Furthermore, owners of the fourth Humble Bundle package, of which Bit.Trip Runner was part, should now be able to run the game through Linux without having to make a second purchase. Take that, buyer’s remorse!
“This is going to be the best free game ever” is what they say. They being fans of 0 A.D. and presumably RTS’ in general. To be fair, there are elephants and that immediately makes a game go from “yes, this looks alright” to “oh hell yes, there are bloody elephants in this game!” Quite.
Impressively, 0 A.D. is being developed in the most modern way imaginable – by an international team over the internet. They’re all volunteers and the game is free and open-source. There’s probably a medal for that or something. But on a serious note, this is an impressive project no matter what angle you approach it from and, most importantly, it seems to be a rather good RTS too.
The latest alpha release, codenamed Jhelum, has some graphical improvements, new Hellenic factions (Athenians, Macedonians and Spartans), basic technologies, civilization phases, wall building functionality and priests can now heal others. There’s also nine new maps. We’ve missed lots of other features out, so feel free to have a good browse of the list right here. If that hasn’t sold you; bloody hell there’s elephants!
Of course, you don’t need to be “sold” as such because 0 A.D. is completely free, and it’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
More information on 0 A.D. can be found over on the game’s official website.
Fleshed out with Gameboy Color graphics, I’d be very surprised if Soldier Of doesn’t immediately appeal to a lot of you on visuals alone. Wait until you hear the music and sounds then! I’m actually writing this with the demo playing in the background because the music is just a chiptune wonder.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the development of Soldier Of for a little while now (shh, don’t tell the developer) and it’s always impressed me for its style and simplicity. It encompasses what it aims to be – a Gameboy Color action RPG – perfectly and after having spent a little bit of time with the pre-alpha demo, I’m all the more confident it’s going to be a really great game come release.
In the game you’ll be playing as Simon Brower as he returns home to find that his city, New Pitria, has been attacked and invaded. The idea is to make your way to the center of the city where your home is located and find your wife, Tracy. Then comes the escape! The armed soldiers aren’t the only obstruction in your journey, as Soldier Of incorporates classic metroidvania aspects, most prominently having to find items to progress. Your first item will be Jump Boots which quite simply allow you to jump over obstacles.
You can download the pre-alpha demo for Soldier Of on Windows, Mac and Linux from this link, but be warned that there are many issues with the game as not everything has been implemented yet. For instance, you can’t even die, plus you can get stuck in some parts of the level.
There’s also no explanation of the controls – X is your primary action button, C is your secondary, Enter opens the inventory and you use the arrow keys to move. Pressing the number keys also increases and decreases the size of the window.
More information on Soldier Of can be found on the game’s official development blog.
When you think long and hard about it, video gaming comes across as an alarmingly inward-looking medium. We’d like to think that no matter where you are, what you stand for or how you’ve been brought up, you’ll rise to prominence if you’ve got the poise, the talent and, most importantly, the desire. In reality, though, big-name video gaming monoliths stem predominantly from the the ‘conventional’ regions of the globe – the USAs, United Kingdoms and Western Europes, if you will.
That’s why casting a glance over a Belarussian-developed turn-based RPG wets our whistles more than just a smidgeon. What’s even better is that it looks mightily impressive.
We’re talking about Legends of Eisenwald, a beautifully rendered role-playing strategy-em-up from Minsk’s Aterdux Entertainment. A measured, tactically-driven experience, the game is currently embarking on a Kickstarter campaign that has managed to accrue over $46,000 as of this writing, with over ten days left to run.
Tales of Maj’Eyal (aka TOME 4) is a bit of a sleeper hit. A heavily tactical, graphical and story-driven roguelike, relatively unknown compared to the recent success of Dungeons Of Dredmor but very much a fan favourite, with it edging out even Dredmor in a public vote late last year. Development on the game almost halted in a very permanent way last week, as the developer totalled his car.
Fortunately, it seems that he got away with relatively light injuries, although there’s not much left of his poor car, so to help fund a replacement, he’s put up a request for donations. Completely optional, of course, but well deserved, as TOME is one of the best roguelikes I’ve played, period. For those who haven’t tried it, give it a shot – it’s far more easygoing and accessible to start out with than most games in the genre, with a focus on gradually escalating tactical challenges rather than your personal war against the random number generator.
There’s been one major update to the game, and one minor update since the accident, and the change-log for the two combined is pretty enormous. The two updates introducing new weapon types, skill trees, balance revisions and some useful tweaks to quest structure, including helpfully putting quest locations on your map, rather than leaving you to stumble around in the woods until you find what you’re looking for. It’s available for Windows, Linux & Mac, so there’s really not much excuse to pass on this one.
Phil Hassey‘s rather explosive action-stealth game, Dynamite Jack, is now available on Steam for both PC and Mac, plus there’s a 20% launch discount too!
It’s a strange proposal – a stealth game in which you use bombs…a lot, but that’s exactly what Dynamite Jack is all about. You play as a space marine, who, after being imprisoned, is in need of traversing the dangerous mines of this mysterious planet with guards and weird creatures ensuring it won’t be easy.
Luckily, those bombs will make things a little easier but they do have the adverse effect of attracting quite a lot of attention. You also have a flashlight to use in all sorts of imaginative ways – luring guards into traps or keeping monsters at bay – but the game’s various challenges means you won’t always have access to these tools. As Dynamite Jack is primarily an arcade style of game, you’ll be pursuing high scores and speedrunning rather than a deep storyline, but that means there’s plenty of replayability up for grabs.
Currently, Dynamite Jack is available on Steam with a 20% discount, but it only costs $5.99/£3.99 anyway. Not sure if you’ll like the game? You may as well read through our review (video review included) to help make up your mind then!
It’s also worth nothing that you can get the game for PC, Mac AND Linux from Phil on the official website for $4.99 as he’s using that hand Humble Store we keep seeing everywhere.
More information on Dynamite Jack can be found on the game’s official website.
Geeta Games appear to be offering something quite enchanting with their upcoming release, Lilly Looking Through. Having played through the publicly available demo, I can advise you that point-and-click puzzling is the order of the day, all undertaken within a unique fantasy world that is as compelling as it is dark and unsettling. The visuals are immediately arresting – the scenes, as we might expect from our indie adventures these days, are beautifully drawn and painted. The game presents a sweeping, ominous art style that seems at once at odds with the innocent playfulness of the characters that move through it.
Lilly is our protagonist, a young girl who we first meet engaging in an entertaining spot of frog-bothering. She mimics it, hopping alongside it as the creature watches uncertainly before eventually slipping away in fear. The frog may not be happy, but this initial encounter does a fine job of setting the tone and indicating the childlike, fairytale nature of the game.
Following the hugely successful Kickstarter campaign enjoyed by StarDrive, a 4x real-time strategy game set in the sprawling outreaches of space, the game has now been acquired by publishers Iceberg Interactive, who will assume publishing rights for both digitally downloadable and boxed retail versions of the game.
It’s likely that this news will spark yet more debate over whether or not an independently-developed game can still be deemed ‘indie’ once it’s been picked up by a third-party publisher. As it stands right now, neither Iceberg nor developers Zero Sum Games have indicated that the former will supply funds to the latter during the ongoing development process, and the game maintains its presence on Desura as an invitation-only Alpha testing scheme.