Tag Archive: rpg

Alvora Tactics Combat

Alvora Tactics

itch.io Page || Steam Greenlight Page

This new pseudo-sequel to Voidspire Tactics, which may be my favorite game from 2015, polishes up the existing formula while adding in some useful features and taking a rather large risk along the way. The risk in question is the introduction of procedurally generated areas which incorporate handcrafted rooms and, for the most part, this is a success. This is a shorter and in some ways a much more straightforward game than its predecessor, but it’s also cheaper, the procedural generation gives it more replay value, and the various improvements and new features allow Alvora Tactics to stand on its own as a great addition to any game collection.

Touhou – Wandering Souls

RPGMaker.net Page

You know an indie game has made it big when other indie developers start making fangames based on it and the Touhou series has a ton of fangames. I’ve played my fair share of Touhou fangames over the years and at the end of the day Touhou – Wandering Souls remains not only my favorite Touhou fangame, but one of my favorite freeware indie games. This sidescrolling action RPG perfectly translates the gameplay of a bullet hell shmup series into an entirely different genre alongside some surprisingly deep mechanics and an outright obscene amount of content all while being made in the utterly unlikely RPG Maker VX engine.

Creepy Castle Title Screen

Creepy Castle

Official Site || Steam Page

Retro sidescrolling adventure RPG’s and minigames are two things which don’t seem like they should go together, yet Creepy Castle, for the most part, makes this odd combination work. With a combat system based on performing various WarioWare-style minigames, around 15-20 hours of gameplay spread across five scenarios, a surprisingly engaging story, and plenty of secrets to find along the way, Creepy Castle makes for a particularly memorable experience. There are a few points at which it begins to overstay its welcome and I am not particularly fond of the third scenario for reasons which I will cover later, but when the formula works, and it does work for the vast majority of the game, it works exceptionally well.

Dark Fear

Steam Page || Official Site

Dark Fear is a horror-themed adventure game with some light RPG mechanics which puts its best foot forward. While it has some jumpscares, the focus is less on scaring the player and more on exploring the strange and haunted lands the amnesiac protagonist finds himself in. The game definitely stumbles in its final act, but the journey makes up for the shortcomings which crop up near the end.

Fight The Dragon – The Lighthouse by CynicRelief

Steam Page || Official Site

The Lighthouse is the first campaign we’ll be looking at and it’s a bit on the short side with only two levels, but it makes up for quantity with quality. This is a campaign which is primarily about creating a sense of place and it’s clear that a lot of effort was put into the details. The first level takes place outside of the lighthouse where even if you didn’t read the description it would soon become clear that something was wrong as the weather fluctuates. Most of the enemies in this first level are rats and basic humanoids which don’t pose much of a threat, though there are a few well-placed archers scattered about. Other than the weather effects, I think it’s a nice, subtle touch to have a wrecked ship near the docks to further indicate the malfunctioning nature of the lighthouse.

The second level makes up the majority of the campaign and this is where The Lighthouse truly shines. Players are tasked with climbing to the top of the lighthouse while seeking out keys and help from the questionably benevolent lighthouse keeper. The most impressive part of this level is the sheer sense of verticality to it all. You are constantly moving up and down staircases and even the more open floors are kept fairly small. My favorite parts are the spiraling screens where you must fight off enemies in very confined spaces as you ascend up the lighthouse. Towers of all sorts are everywhere in video games, but usually the feeling of climbing up a tower is somewhat dampened by the tower being too big or suspiciously square. Here, the narrow, spiraling confines combine with small balconies and clouds to really give an authentic sense of climbing up a small tower. This campaign is not without a few shortcomings, namely the final confrontation is underwhelming and the red key is hidden a bit too well for its own good, but these are fairly small marks against an otherwise solid and memorable set of levels.