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Heartbound - A roller-coaster ride of emotions with an intriguing narrative

Sammy J

Game: Heartbound

Publisher: Pirate Software

Release Date: Available now in early access

Price: £6.99

Purchase on Steam or download the demo

Genre: Non-traditional RPG



If there was ever a good time to get nostalgic and play some 16 bit gold on the SNES it’s right now after the recent release of the SNES software on the Nintendo Switch. Having said that, I have never needed an excuse to boot up the old machine before because in my opinion, the SNES is still my favorite console of all time due to the plethora of high quality content that was released for it. Why is this relevant? Because the game we are going to have a look at reminds me of certain cult classics that were released on the SNES that I pray get a release on the Switch’s SNES emulator. Nostalgia aside, It is fair to say that Heartbound grabbed me where it hurts and left a pain within me that will not go away until I get closure from its rich narrative and heavily focused character development tropes within the full game.





At it’s core, Heartbound is a non-traditional RPG set in a dark world of lush pixel art visuals and an atmospheric sound track. The hook of the game appears to be its angle of being non-traditional, what that basically means is that there are no stats to level up and character progression is not built upon like it is in other traditional RPG’s. Instead, character progression builds the further you explore the game by learning about who the characters are, what secrets they are hiding, their bonds with other characters and generally getting a feel for how each character feels. Heartbound is definitely a game who want to be gripped by a deep story line and people like me who is a sucker for a heart-melter. The demo was my chance to lose myself in such an experience and as soon as I started, I was instantly reminded of two classic SNES games: Earthbound and Secret of Evermore. Not only does the name sound similar to Earthbound but Heartbound contains similar dark tones within its story telling in a similar vein to Earthbound. While Secret of Evermore shares a similarity to Heartbound in that you control a boy who has a tight bond with his dog.


The demo starts you off in bed on a dark, gloomy and stormy early morning where you see the first slice of character interaction between the character you control called Lore and his dog Baron after you wake him up. What struck me as odd is that the dog talks to you, whether the reality is that the dog can actually talk or it’s all in Lore’s head or if Lore can understand dog language is up in the air at this point but I’m sure more could be revealed on that front in the full game. Whatever the case, it’s clear from early on that the bond between Lore and Baron is a strong one and that Lore would go to hell and back for him. I won’t spoil too much of what happens in the game but I will say that after you take out the trash (literally) you both go back to sleep only to find that when you wake up again the house has been trashed and Baron is missing! The mission at this point is clearly to find out what on earth is going on but most importantly to find your dog and return him home safely. But what becomes apparent is this is more than just a typical dog-napping, the demo showcases some of Heartbounds dark turns and eerie dialogue.





Despite the dark tone of the setting of Heartbound with its dingy unloved house you start in with its dead plants and garbage everywhere, the game actually does look very good. The pixel art stands out and really brings the dark setting to life, a highlight for me being the reflection of the rain and lightening against the floor boards. Accompanying these visuals is an atmospheric soundtrack that fits the games purpose extremely well. There is a moment in the demo where the music stops completely and all you can hear is the sound of your footsteps in an almost pitch black environment which I thought was a nice touch. Controlling the game is straight forward, I used my Xbox One controller but you can use mouse and keyboard if you desire. While you are free roaming, there is not a lot you have to remember in terms of how the controls work in the demo at least. Walking around and interacting with characters and objects is what you will spend a lot of your time doing while reading a lot of text. You will also be tasked with some puzzle solving to break up all the reading you have to do such as moving objects around, solving riddles and hitting switches. While not a necessity to read absolutely everything in the game, sometimes you get the odd joke thrown in which is a nice way to lighten the otherwise intense and dark atmosphere.


What we have not yet addressed is how Heartbound handles combat, again being a non-traditional RPG you will not be upgrading weapons and armor or leveling up stats of any kind. Instead, you will be defeating enemies via a series of mini games which means each encounter will require you to be skillful and have quick reactions instead of you relying on critical hit chance stats etc. Although I only got to do battle twice in each of my playthroughs in the demo, I enjoyed what I was doing. For example, one of the mini games against the enemy required me to hit a fireball back at it with my axe back and forth like a game of tennis until it hit home (Ganondorf battle in Ocarina of Time?). Another mini game would be to simply remember which order of buttons to press in order to do damage, get it wrong and the enemy does damage to you! So a very unique take on combat but one that left me wondering what other kind of mini games the full game contains. Also they are a nice way to break up the pace of the game. Another thing worth mentioning is that the games story changes depending on how you interact with the world creating replay value. You are able to finish the demo in three different ways depending on which portal you take and I wonder if collecting all the socks hidden around the world makes any kind of impact?





Heartbound is available to purchase on Steam in early access and has already got some DLC love to boot. If you are on the fence I would at least give the demo a try, the combat is fun and unique but it is the story alone that has made me want to take a stab at the full game. Pirate Software have done a good job with Heartbound so far and it would be nice to see the game make it to consoles.If you have tried the game or are thinking of trying it I would love to hear all of your thoughts down below. Thanks for reading!


Pathfinder: Kingmaker - Possibilities are Endless


Developer: Owlcat Games

Genre: RPG, City Management

Price: £34.99 Humble (regularly on sale up to 50% off)

Jimmy knelt as the arrow sped mere inches above his head trailing faint blue light in its wake, his back was tucked against the rough rock outcropping that obstructed the middle of this tunnel, there wasn’t long left before their foe descended upon them and he would need all of his focus lest he pay dearly for what was to be attempted. Harrim stood to his left, stout and well armored, Warhammer poised to strike in one hand, shield presented in the other and though he barely stood 5ft tall the Dwarf was as immovable as he was stubborn. Valerie flanked Jimmy on the right side, she was an imposing figure that towered over Harrim, eyes piercing the darkness ahead as they searched for movement to accompany the faint scuttling ahead.

Another arrow flew through the air, the trail of blue light stronger this time, beginning to illuminate the passage ahead. Octavia stood proud, almost regal in the way that she carried herself, and though she would never be intimidating physically there was an aura about her, unseen but most definitely there, and that was a dangerous thing indeed. The scuttling had grown louder, closer, and although he was now focusing on Octavia, the unseen aura drawing his attention, he could tell it was almost time and began to unsheathe his twin Rapiers. Holding them loosely, tips to the floor, Jimmy gently began to loosen his limbs to avoid his body failing him when he needed it most.

A faint hum began to build up in the darkness, it’s melody almost familiar yet not quite feeling right, as Linzi stepped up from behind Octavia to play her part in all of this. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, Linzi was by far the shortest and smallest of their group, even Harrim would look down upon her when stood in conversation together, yet Linzi brought more to the table than martial prowess or sheer raw strength, and as she continued to hum her tune, the sound grew in power until every note washed over the group, a sense of clarity and confidence steadying the nerves. 

The scuttling had grown into a deafening crescendo, as their foe burst from the darkness of the passage, giant bulbous bodies carried forward, eyes glistening, fangs bared, the cluster of giant arachnids closing in. Harrim & Valerie braced themselves, the rock between acting to help funnel their foe, Octavia was quite literally glowing by this point, and as the first Arachnid began to lunge darts of pure electrical energy arced from her hands to strike home. This was the moment, battle was joined and now was Jimmy’s time, one weapon in hand, the other held in his teeth, Jimmy stood turned and vaulted over the rock in one swift motion, flanking the first of the Arachnids to fall upon his companions. His rapiers flickered out, striking weak spots with a deathly precision before coming back up in a guarded stance as the next foe came at him, Harrim & Valerie  both charged from their positions shield first and the bloody work began


Pathfinder Kingmaker is an ambitious adaptation of the Pathfinder RPG that many people around the world will know and love, though if you haven’t heard of either then just imagine Dungeons & Dragons, as the rule set was based on a revised (older) edition of that legendary game. Looking at the PC game itself, you can see that it really aims to capture a true reflection of the table top game, and the actual campaign setting it gains its name from, while drawing a lot of inspiration in style from the like of Baldur’s Gate, and as such offers a huge variety in play style and replayability, even if that does create a huge learning curve for anyone who hasn’t dabbled in the RPG previously.

The core of the game revolves around exploration, dungeoneering and no small amount of deadly combat, during which you take your bright eyed and bushy tailed character on a perilous journey through the Stolen Lands, and the wider River Kingdoms south of Brevoy. True to any RPG you level up along the way, picking up new abilities and specializations, tailoring your character to the play style you enjoy, though leveling up in Pathfinder isn’t a quick thing, and by the time you reach the first major boss (The Stag Lord) your party will only sit at level 3 or 4. The devs have very kindly put together some archetype characters, and the ability to have them progress along pre-defined paths, if you don’t want to invest too much time into figuring out how different choices truly affect the play style of your characters, and when you can have 6 characters in your party, as well as numerous others sitting on the sideline, this might be an option you want to take on the first play through if you aren’t coming from a Pathfinder/D&D playing background.

Pathfinder doesn’t solely rely on combat and exploration to take up your time though, as the game includes a lot of “story” based encounters, where the choices you make, push the story further towards an outcome. These are full of flavour and provide an interesting narrative way of playing out an encounter, and I still remember clearly the first one that I got ‘wrong’, hacking down an ancient tree and bestowing a curse upon my party! Having played through the opening portion of the game a few times, trying different things along the way, there are real choices to make in these interactions, with end results differing depending on how you play things out!

Somewhat unexpectedly to a Pathfinder virgin, the game also develops over time to include a City/State management system, which is a real plus in my eyes, as you take hold of the Stolen Lands and given the ability to grow and rule it as you see fit. This is only the beginning of the game, everything that came before is nothing but a prelude, and introduction, and you are suddenly faced with keeping a population happy, managing the external diplomacy, and reacting to all of the problems and opportunities that your Barony will experience.


In my eyes though, dungeons are where things really stand out; multiple levels, NPC’s to interact with, puzzles to solve and a multitude of differing enemies to test your party of adventurers with. This is the meat on the bone, the cherry on top of the cake. There is a real need to prepare your party carefully for these, bring enough rations, potions, scrolls and begin a journey into hostile territory, my only real advice here would be to save (F5 by default) and save often as having your party wiped will send you hurtling back and seeing progress wiped out. 

The game does have some pitfalls, the tutorials are helpful for explaining game mechanics, but if you aren’t a tabletop player, the game will likely overwhelm you to begin with, as there are so many stats, skills and abilities that trying to figure out how things affect each other is a trial and error game, so I would strongly suggest having Google to hand! There are also several encounters within the game that just feel impossible if you encounter them too early, at which point you’re again left with loading up from your last save.

Overall though, Pathfinder is an extremely deep and entertaining game if you can stick with it long enough to understand what’s going on, because once you’ve got that knowledge the whole scope and replayability of the game truly becomes apparent to you. There are 15 distinct classes to create your characters from, each of which contain sub-classes that work slightly differently, and as you level up you can dabble in more than one class at a time (imagine sneaky Rogues with some Wizarding powers) and that gives you so many possibilities to test!

I'm currently addicted to Pathfinder, so if you’ve given the game a whirl, let me know what classes have you tried!

HappyFeet #CraftFightSurvive



Swords and Souls: Neverseen - A Black Hole of Fun


Game: Swords and Souls: Neverseen

Publisher: Armor Games Studio

Price: $14.99/£11.39 

Release Date: 22nd July 2019

Genre: Adventure, Turn-Based RPG

Multiple warnings were provided to me about the addictive nature of this game, but it wasn't until I found myself at 4 in the morning, birds chirping, and my alarm to get up for work just a few hours away... that I realised maybe I have a problem here.

The story is a simple one that brings familiar tones and notes that are common with every fantasy story. You play a voiceless hero who has stumbled onto the island of Neverseen, only to be immediately approached with trouble and tales of a powerful witch in a tower. There is a mighty quest for magical items and weapons to defeat this witch and meat fodder sidekicks along for the adventure. What makes the narrative stand out particularly in this game is the characters and tongue in cheek humour. The sarcastic Sir Pupset who reluctantly trains you and Hop the Innkeeper with his monstrous pet Pupsy. It all may seem rather a cliche and that is part of the charm as it works more akin to a parody then a sweeping epic... plus the twist at the end will surely make you double-take and think back to clues that were placed along the journey.




There is a 'kookiness' that I love and even when I was nearing the end of the game and was met with a few surprises, it kept that light-heartedness while still delivering a worthy antagonist and plot.
At first glance, the gameplay may seem rather simple, but with every victorious battle I emerged from, a new mechanic was introduced, a new fun toy to play with. Whether it was mercenaries, taming wild beasts to raise as your own or simply investing into the town -maybe building yourself a new little house- there was always a sense of achievement. Furthermore, every time I played around with the new mechanics, I discovered that it isn't just aesthetic, it has a purpose. My investment has made me filthy rich, my house gives me XP bonuses, and fixing up the training camp helps you level up the ranks quicker to reach that coveted Soulmaster tier.




This is a meaty game, for even after completing the story there are still more hidden secrets to uncover, fish and monsters to catch and pets to train up to be powerful allies. All this and I haven't yet mentioned the Endless Mode that you unlock once the main story is over and done with. Truly you will be occupied for a while, making this a good hearty purchase.
There is always something to do in this game. I am never bored and every time I load up the game it sucks me deeper into a black hole filled with fun, and the thirst to train till I am the strongest hero of the land.


This game really should come with warning labels.



Hidden Gems #1

Hi there!

It's me, Kyathil, your friendly indie game reviewer/gamer. With this post I will kick off a series consisting of indie games that I personally think deserve some extra recognition! Ever since I started with indie game showcases on my channel (rip) I've felt the need to show off some of the games I tried a little bit more. Some games are really great for playing on your own, but are hard to stream (especially slower games with no voice acting). These will also be featured on my future youtube channel that I'm also working on whenever I can! Anyhow, the idea for this writer block series is to review 2-3 games per episode and keep it on a monthly basis. Without further ado, here comes the 2 games that I've chosen to start with 😃

1. Nariri - Tower of Shirin

Publisher: Another Indie

Genre: Point-and-Click

Price: 9.99€ Steam link

Release Date: 2018-11-29



When you check out a game and think to yourself Oh gosh! It's so cute!I and it's actually super cute and not also hellishly difficult, that is Nairi! Nairi is an absolutely adorable little adventure about an upper class girl who suddenly have to leave the comforts of home and have to find her courage as she tries to return to her family. Along the way she makes friends, and enemies, and discovers long forgotten secrets about the areas that she explores. You can actually play as other characters as well, but i've only done playthroughs with the heroine so far so cannot say if the story will be any different if you choose somebody else.

The art style of the game is heavily influenced by the work of studio Ghibli and, as such, in this fictional world we will not only find humans but also human-sized cats, rats, ducks and various other animals. It does feel a bit like those magical adventures aimed at children, but is also quite enjoyable by us adults too. All of the characters and environments are beautifully drawn and to further increase that magical atmosphere, the developers have added some absolutely stunning music. The only really negative aspect here is the sound made when characters "talk" (no voice acting), it sounds a bit like a typewriter which can become quite annoying after a while.




The gameplay is typical for point-and-click adventures and very story-driven, but also featuring some clever puzzles. I personally enjoy this type of games when I'm experiencing less happy times and just cannot focus on more action-based games. As previously mentioned, the art is beautiful and the music is soothing... Which can really calm a troubled mind. Just be aware that some puzzles can take quite some time to solve and are not entirely obvious!

My experience of the game was really pleasant, apart from that typewriting sound... Some puzzles  were a little frustrating, but not near as frustrating as the last boss in Sekiro. The story was captivating enough and albeit the charactes might seem a little silly, they did fit the style of the game and thus they didn't feel off. It's not a very long game, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Another positive aspect is that it's totally family friendly and I can see how children would really enjoy this game too!

I hope this review did make you curious about the game and I want to thank Another Indie for kindly letting me try out their game!


2. Photonic Distress

Publisher: GRIP420

Genre: First/Third Person Puzzler/Platformer 

Price: 3.99€ Steam link

Release Date: 2018-08-03



Photonic Distress is one of the first games that I included in my monthly indie game showcases and is a puzzler/platformer featuring randomly generated dark levels. You can choose to play it in first or third person and the goal is to finish a certain amount of levels and collect 100 memory fragments... The game takes place in an internal representation of your character's conscience and after collecting all of those fragments, the character will finally wake up. There is not much more story to the game apart from that, but it does provide us with an ultimate goal.

You complete the levels by going from point A to point B... But, the they are completely dark and if you are not careful you might end up accidentally jumping off a cliff. There will also be some obstacles which you have to remove by solving some puzzles. The only tool you have to get through the levels is your Photon gun, which can illuminate the dark by shooting out small colorful balls that will light up a certain area for a limited amount of time. As you progress you will unlock upgrades for your gun and provide more abilities. The levels will increase in difficulty as you progress, making up a decent challenge. If you find the puzzles too easy you can always increase the difficulty of the game, there are 4 difficulty levels - Easy, Medium, Hard and Impossible. 




Visually I was surprised at how realistic it was looking, considering it is the first game made by a small game development team. Sure, I did encounter some bugs and glitches... Such as NPCs walking funnily, text messages disappearing into walls and a few other things. But, most of these issues were minor and many have been addressed by the developers (yay for responsive developers!). The music was specifically made for the game and makes the puzzle solving a rather relaxing experience. It almost feels like mediation at times, at least before you get to an extra tricky level. One playthrough doesn't take more than a few hours. but the randomly generated levels and the option to select different difficulties do give a bit of replayability.




All in all, I do really recommend giving the game a try if you're into this type of games or looking for something new. Granted, it's not a very complicated game, looking at the mechanics, there's not really much of a story to it and you will probably not spend 70+ hours lighting up dark levels... But, we don't always need that in games either! I truly enjoyed this game and am impresed with the level of details in it. It's also not going to ruin your economy, being set at 3.99€ at full price (and have been featured in some Steam sales!). The developers did a great job, thank you for letting me play this hidden gem!



I hope you enjoyed my first episode of Hidden Gems! Next episode may or may not feature some spooky indie games just in time for Halloween... 👻

- Kyathil

Quench - Papercraft Pilgrimage


Game: Quench

Publisher: Axon Interactive

Price: $19.99/£15.49 

Release Date: 7th August 2019

Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Story Rich



When it's been a long day at work and I just want to relax, I just want to do one thing, listen to some good music and drift away into another world. This can be done with a good book, movie or occasionally an FPS if I'm in a bad mood. There are, however, times when a puzzle game is just the ticket. Quench was that game for me this month, its beautiful soundtrack and art took me away and the puzzles kept my attention and challenged me as I journeyed through on this virtual pilgrimage.

I've yet to witness the ending at the time of writing this review, but the narrative is very poetically written. A story of a variety of animal herds migrating from polluted and drylands to reach greener fields. The word pilgrimage is used very often and it has that spiritual essence to the dialogue and the narration.
To help them on this pilgrimage is you. The fruit of the elder tree brought forth you as a spiritual bird to guide the 6 herds of the kingdom. It really makes you feel involved, you end up caring for these animals and grow an attachment to the leaders. Their safety is your main concern.
We all know that in real life animals migrate year-round and that often pollution and blocked rivers are dangers to them. This story pushes the envelope in getting you to empathise more, getting the animals from news headlines to a bird's eye view of the struggles you will save them from.


This game was made with a message, but that didn't stop the developers from forgetting that it's still a game and needs to be fun. I am truly delighted with this. Too many games have focused too hard on story and art, only to forget they are making a game.
Being a puzzle game, I will focus on that aspect. There are 4 different powers you can use in different situations. To clear paths, block enemies and support your herds. Each power is surprisingly versatile in what it can do and they are introduced one by one to learn them all effectively. Quench doesn't hold your hand with the tutorials or ever give hints as to what to do to solve puzzles, but they don't leave you guessing either. I'd say that is a well-designed game, wouldn't you?
As mentioned when I was talking about the story, the game is very good at building empathy. When clearing the path for your herd, it switches to a lemmings style mechanic where they will blindly trust you and keep moving (so you better have done a good job removing obstacles). Unlike lemmings, these are your children, your babies, you care for them and if even just one dies?... well I've restarted many times to rectify that.
Not many games are good at generating empathy... sympathy maybe, but not empathy.


Matching the sweeping poetry of the writing and story is a lovely soundtrack and a beautiful art style I've not seen often. It's almost like pixels, but it's not. Opting for shaded triangles instead of squares gives it a unique look.
Most of the game takes place overhead, seeing as you are a spiritual bird, that makes sense. When it is time to dive into the narrative, it takes a cinematic approach with very little animation. To me it resembles a tapestry, a story told from one painted scene to another with colours to match the tones of earth and nature.
Although no voice-overs were recorded for this game, they had done a wonderful job of creating motifs to accompany each different character, bringing personality and voice to them without actors.


Papercraft! That's the word I was looking for to describe the art, gorgeous is another word.
After experiencing the story and thoroughly enjoying the puzzles, I have to wholeheartedly recommend this game. The story is truly as beautiful as the music and art. Not just beautiful but subtle and I love that about it. 


If you enjoy relaxing with a puzzle that isn't easy, but it's just hard enough to satisfyingly complete, then throw away that Sudoku and get started on this pilgrimage.

Last Regiment - An Intriguing Mix


Developer: Boomzap

Genre: Turn Based Strategy

Price: £15.49 Steam

Release Date: 09 Sept 19

Fog rolled across the marsh, reducing the surroundings of the water to nothing more than half seen shadows and faint traces of movement, the rippling waves breaking the invasive silence that usually inhabited this place. Thorn crouched low behind the stump of a tree, picking at the feathers that fletched her arrow, they needed no real adjustment as Thorn had crafted these with her own hands and they would fly truer than most, but the movement proved a useful distraction as she watched her prey. 

A subtle change in the waves alerted Thorn to the fact she was no longer alone, as the thick fog betrayed the outline of the disturber. Thick muscled shoulders framed a gnarled gruesome face, sneering, it’s curved tusks menacing as they dripped with swamp water. The Bog Troll continued to emerge from the water, finally towering over Thorn despite being haunched over, though it made no move to threaten Thorn, it simply settled beside her. 

Thorn stopped playing with her arrow and glanced beyond the Troll, eyes straining to pierce the fog, before settling on new shadows further along the tree line. She did not need clear sight to know what was there, for it was time, and her instructions had been clear. 

Slowly she rose from behind the stump, bow in hand arrow already notched instinctively, as the fog almost seemed to dissipate immediately in front of her. Unheard whispers crept from her mouth, lips barely moving, as the arrow head began to smoke,  faintly yet thickening into a purple haze within seconds. Her eyes narrowed, breath stopped, and as the Bog Troll and Orcs erupted from the trees the arrow flew. Her prey had no idea, no chance, they would panic and be slaughtered within minutes, and Captain Holly Thorn would cement her control of this land


Last Regiment is a very interesting mix of Turn Based Strategy and deck building card game, allowing for visual maneuvering, town building and chess like strategy but with the flavour (and sometimes bad luck) of waiting for the right card to appear. The game sticks to very common themes from both genres of game, but the end result is an enjoyable experience whether you’re playing against the AI or other players. 

The strategy game play basics are very quickly picked up as they will feel very similar to any turn based gamer, where you look to gain control over areas of the map, then building and upgrading control points to provide benefits and more options to the player, whether that’s increased gold or mana production, higher unit caps, provide extra line of sight or even raw victory points that are used to judge the winner once the games then limit has been reached. There’s no surprise that the more gold you produce, the quicker you can buy units and upgrades, and the sooner you can increase your unit cap the quicker you can start getting more units onto the field of play. 

This is where things get interesting though, as the units you spawn aren’t produced from set buildings but rather they come from the cards drawn out of the deck you’re using, alongside a range of permanent and temporary buffs that can be applied to your units. Your deck is made up of 9-12 different cards, so you can add some theming to the deck you play with, and during the game you draw cards each turn into your hand, holding up to a maximum of six cards at a time. These cards are where you spend your gold & mana to summon new units, upgrade those already on the map or provide healing & buffs to further bolster their prowess. 

Last Regiment offers a campaign story mode alongside the skirmish & multiplayer features, and while I only played through a few of the starting scenarios it does a good job of holding your hand through the learning curve,  introducing more freedom and choices at a reasonable pace so that you can get up to speed on the mechanics in good time. Though for me personally I enjoyed the freedom of deck building and taking on rivals in the skirmish modes a lot more, and with the game conditions (turn limit etc) being within your control as well, you can easily set up a game to suit smaller time frames if your simply looking to unwind for a short while after a long day. 

I was lucky enough to get the chance to speak to the Creative Director about the game and what’s planned through the Early Access phase, and there’s an awful lot going on behind the scenes to really add a great deal of depth to the game. “I can tell you that the future plans for the game are to keep releasing more and more content: more maps, more troops, more powers, more heroes, more campaigns and missions. Additionally, we're working on the tools we need to get the editor ready for release, so we can have players building, uploading, and sharing their own maps.” Boomzap really are focused on ensuring that all changes and additions contribute to a fun experience for players, and are aiming to double (as a low end target) the amount of heroes and units within the game, however, the last part around player created maps is truly great news, as once a dedicated community has the ability to get involved and share creations there will always be something fresh to try out!

I want to thank the developers over at Boomzap for letting me get hold of Last Regiment during it’s closed beta period, and want to point out that the game has only just released into Early Access, so there is plenty of scope for new units, buffs, champions and maps to be added into the game, however, as it stands now I could easily recommend this game to anyone looking for an intriguing turn based strategy game to play. 

HappyFeet #CraftFightSurvive

Dreamscaper - Face your nightmares in a roguelite like no other

Sammy J

Game: Dreamscaper

Publisher: Afterburner Studios

Add to your wish list on Steam

Try the demo

Release Date: TBA

Genre: ARPG, Roguelite

The Indie game scene may not be starved of roguelite adventures or action RPG’s so is there a reason to get excited about another one at this point? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Dreamscaper has all the tools required to crown it as the best roguelite in the current Indie scene. While that is of course as subjective comment as you can get, hopefully it is enough of a statement to get as many people as possible to check this game out for themselves whether they are into the genre or not. Very few games in the world are considered “perfect” and there are no doubt some details about Dreamscaper that may rub people the wrong way but behind these small imperfections lies a game that sits pretty in a genre rising in popularity.


Let’s start off with my personal experience with the demo of Dreamscaper and why I am full of praise for it. It’s worth mentioning that I am certainly not a pro when it comes to ARPG roguelites, on paper one would assume they shouldn’t be for me in general when you weigh up how bad I am at them. The randomly generated style of dungeon crawling along with the rush of permadeath and different starting weapons after death are all features of a roguelite that are present in Dreamscaper. These features would in the past be features that would steer me clear of games like this but the more I cover Indie games and notice how popular they are becoming the more intrigued I get. After playing several of them I can inform you that I haven’t gotten any better at them over time but have discovered that I want to get better at them and will continue to try to. I do find the hack and slash combat style coupled with the need to evade attacks quickly a fun experience and the thrill of permadeath a symbol of encouragement to make you keep trying and get better.

The Dreamscaper demo starts you off playing the tutorial mode which I must admit caught me off guard a little. The tutorial mode is the main character Cassidy while she is playing a video game herself, so we are playing that game from Cassidy’s POV if that makes sense? The game Cassidy is playing runs exactly the same as when you start to play the proper game after the tutorial and gives you the basics of how to control the main character, how to combat with melee, ranged and use abilities as well as dodge roll. What caught me off guard about it is the fact that the game Cassidy is playing looks a lot more sub-par graphically than the main game with a more pixelated look which obviously is supposed to differentiate from the main game. I like many others at this point was not aware that the visuals would get much better once the main game had started and wondered if it was an issue with my graphics card capabilities. This might have been a complaint from others previously as the developers Afterburner Studios added a notice before the game starts asking you to upgrade your graphic card drivers if you discover any graphical issues. I did that only to find the tutorial looked the same, however it was clear the tutorials look is supposed to look like this after you finish it as the main game starts directly after and looks fantastic!











Each dungeon you play through is one of Cassidy’s dreams and nothing gives you a better dream vibe than the games top quality soundtrack! The serene and ambient music is a great match for when you are watching something from a dream sequence. It perks up when you start combatting enemies (known as nightmares) and overall really is a top quality soundtrack. Also the edges of each room are not always visible until you get closer to them when they fade in which is also a nice “dreamy” touch. The last thing I will say about the graphics as we must move on, is that it is nice that you seem to have a different backdrop each dungeon. The first is like a snowy wintery style while the second dungeon is more green with a lot of trees. I’m looking forward to seeing what other backdrops are in store in the full game. The game controls pretty flawlessly if you are using a gamepad which the developers recommend using, I was using an Xbox One controller and didn’t have any issues with the controls whatsoever. Your left analogue stuck moves Cassidy around, the right is used to aim your ranged attack which is fired using RT, A is dodge roll, X and Y are your light and heavy melee attacks, B picks up items, LB  uses your abilities and LT uses your shield, tapping LT will perform a parry and pushing the left analogue stick down enlarges the minimap in the top right corner. Also DOWN on the D-pad used bombs but I’m not sure if the other directions did anything.

I managed to defeat the boss of the first dungeon with relative ease by utilising my ranged attacks a lot and using a couple of light melee attacks before dodging his massive hammer swings only to discover that this boss was a normal enemy in the second dungeon! But again, this is a roguelite, it’s not for the faint hearted and will keep you on your toes as often as it can. You will encounter enemies that will either attack you close up or from afar and it can get overwhelming trying to take on multiple enemies in one room so you will have to master the art of taking down an enemy while at the same time keeping an eye on projectiles coming your way from other enemies and dodging them when necessary. Dungeons contain shops where you are able to purchase upgrades and potions to help you on your travels which feel like a god send the further you progress in a dungeon. Speaking of upgrading your weaponry and abilities, there are a tonne of upgrades to discover in Dreamscaper, once you beat a dungeon you will be able to use your currency to buy a higher chance of finding the weapons/abilities you desire and there are a lot of them. From cool looking melee weapons such as katanas and hammers to ranged attacks such as laser beams and fireman hoses and even neat abilities like short distance teleporting, there are so many upgrades that will keep the game feeling fresh.



In terms of story, Dreamscaper offers a deep plot which explores the subconscious mind of young Cassidy who is struggling to come to terms with her new life after moving into the city away from the people she knew and grew up with. Cassidy used to love dreaming until after the move where her dreams are now being invaded with nightmares but she struggles to open up and talk to people about them. An unexpected tragedy has sent her down a dark hole which she is struggling to get out of and you must help her by unravelling her story and defeating the imposing threat that enters her dreams. Believe it or not, in the full game the dreams are only half the battle in Dreamscaper, in between the dungeons you will play as Cassidy in her conscious state. You will be able to explore the world in which Cassidy lives while she is awake as well as in her dreams, on one hand you will be vanquishing nightmares in her dreams and on the other you will be talking to people, building relationships and unlocking her story while she is awake. Your actions in your conscious state will affect the world of your unconscious state and vice versa, a killer feature that I am stoked to dive into, Cassidy might not have a visible face as such, but I cannot wait to discover her back story and help rid her of her depression. Even though I have barely scratched the surface with the game, I already feel somewhat attached to Cassidy and I am willing to go out of my way to help her!

Dreamscaper has only recently completed their Kickstarter campaign which was hugely successful having smashed their goal of $25,000 raising over double and achieving several stretch goals in the process. Afterburner Studios managed to raise a staggering $52,104 and it pleases me to say that not only will you be able to play Dreamscaper on Steam but also on the Nintendo Switch thanks to hitting the stretch goal. I know Dreamscaper will find a successful home on Steam as well as the ever so Indie friendly Nintendo Switch and I cannot wait to play more. Make sure you check out the games Kickstarter so you can see how development is coming along and all the stretch goals that have been met. There is not much more for me to say about Dreamscaper at this point apart from try the demo out as you will no doubt very much enjoy it!



What do you all think of Dreamscaper? What are your hopes and dreams for the game with its full release? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below. Thanks for reading!


Devader - How to blow things up in space!


Game: Devader

Publisher: Falkenbrew

Price: 12.49€ Steam Link

Release Date: 2nd of Septemer 2019

Genre: Shooter, indie



Devader is a game that I stumbled upon due to one of my streamer friends (thank you, Erik!) and was approached by the developer to try it out. I didn't know what to expect from it, but could see from the trailer that it was some sort of shooter in space. It is described as an "intense 90's style twin-stick shooter" and surely it does bring me back to those good old days as I play! When you start a playthrough you can choose between four difficulty levels, from beginner to insane god mode, and the goal is to keep your base alive during up to 100 waves. Now, I haven't reached the end of my first playthrough yet but according to the game description there are 19 possible endings. Which means that there is a decent amount of replayability! You can play with either keyboard + mouse or a controller, this review was done with an Xbox controller.

The waves are not going to be happening one by one until the last one, but rather are set up in sets or rounds. Each round features a boss and afterwards you get to upgrade some skills before the next round, your difficulty settings decide on how many skills you get to upgrade and what kind of enemies you will face and how many waves. At the start you will also get to choose between some aid/weapons that will make it easier to protect your base. 




The game itself is really vibrant and colorful, with lots and lots of explosions all over the map. The map is pretty small, but you get surrounded by enemies all the friggin time so it doesn't really bother and you don't have the time to think about many things except how to kill as many enemies as quickly as possible... And avoid getting yourself killed. Because, dying is bad you know? The music and sound effects are great and really suits the game, pumping you up for the mass slaughter of your enemies! The game mechanics are easy to learn but difficult to master, which I think is great in any game! There is a story to the game, saving an ancient civilisation from the mysterious Krin... And between the rounds you get some more information about what is happening. It's not a very deep story, but still a nice touch!




Did I enjoy playing this game? Hell yeah! It's not a very complex game, but neat! Was pleasantly surprised over how much fun I was having while shooting to the left and right. If you're into this type of games, I would recommend giving it a try. It is also a great game if you don't have the time to play something for several hours... Maybe you want to just stop thinking about work for 30 min? Or, maybe you just want something which is not very deep or complicated? I might add that I haven't encountered any bugs yet so the game feels very polished! Thank you for reading and a big thank you to Falkenbrew for letting me play the game!

- Kyathil



Monster Sanctuary - A Diamond in the Rough


Developer: Moi Rai Games

Release Date: 28th August

Genre: Metroidvania RPG, Turn Based Combat

Price: £13.99 Early Access from Humble

Tomas stirred from his thoughts, the long descent through the cave system had taken much out of him and once he’d reached the wide open cavern it was the easiest decision to stop and rest for a while. His eyes scanned slowly in all directions, searching for the source of the noise that had stolen him from his reverie, though the faint light from above combined with his torch was nowhere near powerful enough to pierce the thick blackness that owned the edges of this space. 

Again, the faint scurrying seemed almost deafening amongst the silence that had existed only moments before. Tomas was not alone, though he hadn’t been alone in the first place, as Amra raised her head, ears pricked, now also searching for the watcher in the dark. Tomas calmed himself, fear was anathema to his kind, and accompanied by a Spectral Lion as fierce as Amra there really was no rational reason to be afraid of much in this world. 

Suddenly a trio of creatures burst from the dark, seemingly born of the shadows that only moments before had harboured nothing but the promise of exploration. Amra rose, slowly, deliberately, haunched over and coiled like a tight spring, she did not move but stared intently on the intruders, teeth bared in challenge. 

Tomas rose, the monsters charging across the cavern floor, closing the space between them in quick fashion. One short breath, Tomas smiled, glanced down at Amra and clicked his finger. Flame burst across her back, illuminating the cavern and overpowering the darkness that had held dominion, and as she leapt towards her foe the sound of a deep guttural roar shook the walls themselves.


Monster Sanctuary is the Early Access release that has us all reminiscing about Pokemon & Terraria, and make no mistake, it is a monster battling, training, spelunking bundle of gaming goodness! Though while it may take some inspiration from such games, you’d be gravely mistaken if you assumed it didn’t bring anything fresh to the table, and even with my relatively limited time in the game I’m already watching development of the game with an excited anticipation. 

While the battles themselves will have a familiar feel for any gamer, all the way down to the strong/weak elemental system, you can see the depth that lies underneath the basic battle sequences of picking abilities and targeting your enemy monsters. Battles take place between two sides of up to three monsters; and this is where the fun begins, the buffs, debuffs, passive abilities and offensive attacks available even in the early stages allow for some creative sequences of moves as well as a variety of ways to tackle the foes before you. These choices become more important when you begin to take advantage of the ‘combo’ system, as your team uses its abilities they stack up to provide a team buff for the rest of the turn. Choosing the right order for your monsters to make their move builds this combo bonus up, so that you can hit far harder with the right ability to finish your turn, sometimes to devastating effect!

Outside of battle you can see the beginnings of a true RPG style progression and customisation system, as your monsters begin to level up you are introduced to the unique skill trees they have access to. Not simply limited to new offensive  abilities, you can choose to level up specific stats as well as interesting passive passive abilities to begin creating a well balanced team of monsters fully designed to compliment each other and tackle whatever foe’s may come your way. These skill tree choices can be further enhanced through the equipment and foods you choose to give to your monsters, yes that’s right, they have equipment slots to help boost certain stats, and can be fed meals to give them an extra boost!

The game already holds some real challenge in the “champion” monsters that inhabit the world, rarer than normal encounters these bosses take more of a beating, hit harder, and can use more than one ability in a turn. They prove a real challenge if you are unprepared for the fight, and rightly act as a measure of progression within the game. 

The game does currently have some design choices which can be jarring, as there is no functionality for mouse usage which continually proved a frustration, coupled with D-Pad movement as a default keybinding rather than a standard WASD format it leads to instinctive keystrokes causing all manner of menus and actions to occur when you simply want to make a basic move, not game breaking by any stretch it does make you sigh as you have to correct yourself. 

Overall, Monster Sanctuary may initially look and feel like the lovechild of other very well known, if not legendary, games but it already feels like it has something new and refreshing to bring to the table, and is definitely a game to watch very closely as it continues its journey through the Early Access development phase!

Let me know below if you've taken the game for a spin, and how you're feeling about it!

HappyFeet #CraftFightSurvive

Rashlander - How to die in space


Game: Rashlander

Publisher: Hitcents

Price: 3.29€ RASHLANDER on Steam

Release Date: 6th of August 2019 

Genre: Action, Indie


"This game looks cute!" - Kyathil, 2019




Have you ever started a game bursting out things like "Oh gosh, this is so cute!" only to realize that the game is not only cute, but also hellishly difficult (looking at you Ori)? This was the case for me while starting up Rashlander. The game brings me back to the good old days of Moonlander, but with some modern touches such as integration with Twitch. The overall game objective is not very complicated, you have your little space vehicle that your steering through the void that is space and you're supposed to land your vehicle on a set target platform... And on the way you might encounter fueling stations, upgrades, messages and various obstacles. For each level you successfully do so, the distance might increase and/or obstacles are added to the map. Sounds easy, right?

That is a very wrongful assumption! This game is by no means easy, at least for me. Even when I switched from keyboard + mouse to an xbox controller. Steering the little vehicle proved to be quite difficult and I'm embarrassed to think of how high my deaths/minute ratio must have been during my first twirl with the game. Now, I'm not very used to this type of games which will obviously contribute to this ratio... Still, my pride took a couple of hits while playing. However, I did have lots of fun while dying as well! 




The Twitch integration is a fun way to add some difficulty to your game experience with the viewers steering through set commands in the chat room. Which is, according to me, always a fun addition to a game. Sadly, I wasn't able to try this out myself during my first time with the game but I do hope I can give it a try during my next planned stream experience of the game! I don't think Mixer integration in a similar fashion has been added, yet... So any Mixer user that would like to see this on that platform as well, do give the developer a friendly poke!

During my first play through I did encounter a few bugs, which I reported, and the developer has been very quick in addressing these! Always pleasant to see good interaction from developers of games :classic_smile:

If you feel like having a break from the ultra realistic games of today and play something simple, yet hard... I would really recommend giving Rashlander a try. It's easy to over complicate things in games and we sometimes forget that less is, sometimes, more! I really had a fun experience with it and will jump back to it very soon!



- Kyathil


Raccoo Venture - A nod back to the golden age of 3D platformers

Sammy J


I have many fond childhood gaming memories which I doubt will ever be forgotten or replaced as time goes by. I have many years ahead of me to make new memories with my gaming experiences but none will ever surpass the moment my brother and I opened our joint Christmas present which turned out to be a brand new NES complete with Super Mario Bros. Or the time my Dad got us Street Fighter 2 on the SNES which we had to wait what seemed like an eternity until my primary school's Summer Fete was over so we could go home and play it. Let's not forget the time my brother and I begged and begged our Dad to trade in the SNES for an N64 which he finally agreed to, then booting up Super Mario 64 for the first ever time was a feeling unlike any I had ever felt before. Ah yes the N64, an absolute relic of a machine that pushed graphical boundaries further than our imaginations could handle at the time. A lot of games on the N64 may not have stood the test of time graphically compared to todays standard but still play like a dream. It gives me great pleasure to be able to say that Raccoo Venture takes me back to a time that I adored as a kid which I am indeed thankful for.








The first thing you will notice about Raccoo Venture after the opening cutscene has finished is that the game looks absolutely charming! Developer Diego Ras has opted to go for the very eye catching brightly coloured visuals with crystal clear waters and a bright summers day feel. You will spend a lot of the time wandering around the levels because the style is so visually appealing you will want to look at everything. To go with these visuals is a sound track that you will find gets stuck in your head after a while which doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, it will have you whistling along to it regardless. Without much delay you will get to go inside Raccoo's home and you are hit with the nostalgia factor immediately. Raccoo has an N64 and a bunch of pictures hanging on the wall above it that represent games that are on the N64 like a jigsaw piece from Banjo Kazooie, a turtle shell from Super Mario 64 and a balloon with bananas on from Donkey Kong 64. As if the inspiration from this age of gaming wasn't apparent enough, we now have physical evidence in the main protagonists home!

Speaking of the main protagonist, have you ever seen one cuter than Raccoo? Nintendogs doesn't count! Raccoo's home has a wardrobe where two outfits are available to change into in the demo and more can be unlocked. Putting the pyjamas on just makes Raccoo even more cuter, but the winter outfit was my favourite. We could go on about how cute the lead character is or how nostalgic and awesome the game is graphically but just like the missus says, it's not all about looks. Once you boot the demo up, you are advised to use a controller for the best experience which makes sense with any kind of platformer let alone a 3D one. Having played with an Xbox One controller, I can inform you that the controls are simple but work very well. You move with the left analogue stick (naturally), jump with "A", ground pound with "X" after jumping and pick up and throw objects also with "X". Very simple controls but maybe more complexity will be added in the full release. One thing absent from these controls is the ability to rotate the camera which for me personally is a small bug bear when it comes to aiming jumps in 3D platformers. Apart from that, the controls work fine.






As far as the story goes, Upon entering your home Raccoo notices that a great relic and family air loom left by your Grandfather has been stolen by evil creatures known as the "Tattooed Tatus". The relic was created by equal factions of goodness and wickedness and divided it into small pieces and hid them in the middle of the forest so that it would not fall into evil hands. This relic happens to a chess set and it is up to you to retrieve it as the sole heir of the power of the guardians and find all the chess tiles and chess pieces scattered across the levels. This encourages players to explore each level thoroughly as there are several pieces to collect in each level and while it is not a necessity to get them all in order to complete a level, it adds replay value. There are many puzzles to overcome in the demo that are by no means mind boggling, but it is a sign of things to come later on which hopefully will push our platforming brains to the max. You will be picking up lots of coins throughout the levels which at this point I am unsure of their purpose apart from using them to place bets with a vulture in order to win more. All I know is you lose them when you die! After you complete a level you are taken to the world map where you can move freely and enter any unlocked level you desire, much like in Super Mario 3D World.

The rodent like enemies Raccoo Venture don't pose much of a threat but I expect this won't be the case once you hit a later stage in the full game. The normal enemies require just a ground pound to defeat while others require you to stun them or blow them up by throwing explosive mushrooms at them. Their is a boss fight too, at the end of the third level you will be challenged by the boss who actually isn't all that much of a challenge either. I was expecting him to change his pattern after the second hit making the third hit harder to achieve but it didn't happen, this isn't a complaint as the charm of the game is the exploration and finding secrets rather than boss battling. That being said, I am sure there will be tougher boss battles further in the game. I'm not completely sure how far along in development the game is but I am certainly looking forward to seeing how it progresses. As far as I am aware the game has only been announced for PC as it stands so PC gamers do yourselves a favour by adding Raccoo Venture to your wish list on Steam. Also try the demo if like me, you often yearn to be taken back and fill your nostalgic needs with a bit of 3D platforming from the golden N64/PS1 era.






I'd love to hear what your impressions of Raccoo Venture are in the comments down below, thanks for reading!



This War of Mine - Fading Embers Review


Game: This War of Mine

Publisher: 11 bit studios

Price: 3.99EU This War of Mine - Fading Embers (requires original game to play)

Release Date: 6th of August 2019 (original 14th of November 2014)

“In modern war... You will die like a dog for no good reason.” - Ernest Hemingway

This War of Mine is not exactly a new game, released in 2014 by 11 Bit Studios, but it’s been gaining new popularity recently through the efforts of Humble Bundle and Epic as well as by releasing the last DLC - Fading Embers. Aside from Fading Embers, there are also two previously released DLCs and an expansion pack… All released in such a time interval that it would put the game back on the radar, attract new players and put up some fresh content. This strategy alone deserves a remark, because it is truly cleverly done! It’s not very common for an indie game to stay relevant after five years since the initial release.

As you boot up the game you are greeted with the famous quote by Ernest Hemingway, which is quite fitting since you will most likely die a number of times while playing! The game has three different modes - survival, custom and stories. Survival and custom mode are basically the same game experience, the difference is that you can increase/decrease difficulty in your customized games while the survival mode follows pretty much the same pattern. You start the game with 1-4 survivors in what is basically a ruined house and with a single mission - to survive until the war is over. This can be quite hard and full of moral choices!

Game Core

The core of the game is essentially the same in all game modes, including the story modes. You need to survive until the war is over and survival is rough. Surviving the war involves securing your base from raiders, maintaining the heat of your base (else your group might freeze to death or get terminally ill), keep your residents away from crippling depression, feed your residents and avoid getting killed during scavenging.

There is a day and night mode, where in the day mode you will have control over your group inside the base and during the night you can put one character out on scavenging while the rest will either be put on guard or allowed to sleep. You will always start the scenarios in the base, where you will be able to find some basic materials to use for creating necessary things such as a stove or a bed. The focus during day time is to improve your base, create tools needed for scavenging and take care of your residents with meals and medicine. There will be visitors appearing from time to time, such as a trader, and I would strongly recommend checking when they are usually appearing before you jump into night mode! Also, the game only saves during day mode, there is no quick save!




Scavenging is essential for surviving, to find materials in order to build essential tools and structures as well as finding food, medicine, bandages and weapons. There are traders, but the most essential items are very expensive and the prices may increase during the scenario. You can only put one character on scavenging per night and apart from finding materials and other loot you might also find hostiles or traders lurking around. What areas are available per run is random and some areas might have randomised features which increases replayability! The characters got a limited inventory and the areas got limited materials, which means that you will have to prioritise what to bring back to the base. While out scavenging you might see scribbles on walls Fuck the war! and various notes, items, and even bodies, signifying what bullshit the people have been through.




Moral Decisions

What would you do in order to survive? Would you steal? Maybe even kill? Could you refuse giving medicine to save a dying mother and her children to guarantee your own survival? These are very real questions in This War of Mine and perhaps what also lead myself to spend over 55 hours playing it. Because there will be situations, both in the standard modes and stories, where you will have to do something that will most likely leave a bitter aftertaste or even break your heart.The decisions you make will have a much larger impact in the stories (if you play them, prepare for an emotional ride).





The characters of This War of Mine all got different back stories, perks and addictions. Keeping an eye on their addictions is a good idea to keep depression at bay and some characters are better suited for certain tasks than others. For example there is one character that is great at cooking and another that is more quiet than others while sneaking (which might be a good perk for scavenging). Some characters might be less affected by morally debatable decisions, such as stealing from an elderly couple, than others. Depending on how you choose to play each scenario, the characters will have different epilogues after the war is finally over.

Story mode

In each episode you will follow the protagonist’s story during the ongoing war. There are three episodes available - Father’s Promise, The Last Broadcast and Fading Embers. While the first one follows a very linear story, the other two offers more choices, and consequences, and have multiple possible endings. All of the stories are a bit more difficult versus the standard modes, except perhaps if you choose to create a completely mad custom scenario. There are less resources available, less playable characters and more bad stuff happening. My very unbiased opinion is that it’s really during these stories that you feel how much war sucks and where the game truly shines!




Fading Embers

The very last episode of This War of Mine (I’m not sad, you are!) starts with a man walking through a snow storm… It’s slow, tedious, and after some time he arrives at a house and stumbles through the door… Inside, our protagonist Anja was minding her own business but takes the strange man inside and is determined to ensure the man’s survival. Ensuring the survival of both proves to be quite the task and I had to start all over after some time due to getting all characters terminally ill (gg)! That snow storm makes it really hard to keep the house decently warm and material is extremely scarce, which makes it difficult to maintain enough fuel for heaters.

What is more important - saving lives or saving human legacy? This is the main theme of the episode, introducing collecting art as a mechanism. Cultural heritage has always had a big role in defining societies and without them, what will happen to the survivors of a war? As the episode progresses there will be multiple times where you have to make tough decisions, with often severe consequences, and it seems near impossible to not sacrifice something or someone. There are also plenty of cut scenes, which annoyingly enough can’t be skipped even after the first playthrough. It’s by far the most difficult episode to survive, which most likely will frustrate many players. I’ve played this game a fair bit and still needed a retry due to not being able to survive during my first attempt. The protagonist is a reskin of a previously existing character, which might seem lazy to some but I honestly weren’t too bothered by it.

The overall game experience was the same as before and considering how the developers promised some new mechanics it does lower the rating of the DLC. Storywise it was a bit uneven, some parts and decisions were really good while others didn’t make much sense. Especially some characters behaviour and decisions seemed a bit off. I did also encounter a few minor bugs, but they were not making the game unplayable so I think that was alright. 

I really, really, like Anja and most of the moral decisions (with consequences) and I really sympathised with her struggle. Compared to the previous stories I do think the story is better than The Last Broadcast, but not as good as Father’s Promise. However, it offers more replayability due to the multiple possible endings which I can appreciate (if you can suffer through the prologue and cut scenes over and over again). 

Considering my personal experience with the latest DLC, with the high difficulty and unskippable cutscenes, I can’t recommend it to new players. I’m afraid that new players would just get angry after dying from starvation, illness or getting shot a couple of times! Of course, you might die from all of that in the other modes too… But they are usually faster to play through and without unskippable events, which makes eventual deaths not as bothersome. Nevertheless, I would recommend this DLC to any old player. It is true that I did find some things a bit frustrating and some other things could be improved, but the general experience was fantastic!

All in all, I’m a bit sad that there will be no more episodes to play, and I don’t think I’m alone with shedding a little tear as the epilogue starts rolling and it’s time to move on to other adventures. Thank you, 11 Bit Studios, for the experience that all of This War of Mine is. Until next time!


- Kyathil

Nintendo Switch Indie World Showcase - 19-8-2019


     We had a wonderful surprise from Nintendo this week, as they had a showcase called Indie World. Much like the Nindies Direct, this showcase was aimed toward future and upcoming indie releases for the Nintendo Switch. I will briefly go over the presentation and touch upon the amazing selection Nintendo provided. Most of these titles you may have heard of, and some have already been released on other platforms. But when they hit the Switch, let's be honest, we all know indies feel the best when you can take them on the go. 

     First up, a beautiful trailer was shown of Risk of Rain 2, an action packed shoot 'n' loot multiplayer game developed by Hopoo Games. If you didn't piece this together, Risk of Rain 2 is a sequel to the classic roguelike Risk of Rain and finally gets its debut on the Switch. In Risk of Rain 2 you will tread beautifully crafted worlds while eliminating hordes of foes to loot any and everything you can possibly get your hands on. Sounds easy, right? Not a single run is ever similar to the last. The more you play, the more proficient you become. So, be keen and take down your enemies before they eliminate you first. Grab your friends and get ready for an epic adventure – Risk of Rain 2 hits Nintendo Switch this Summer (so very soon) and is currently available on PC.



     Next, we get a spectacular look at Eastward – developed by Pixpil. Eastward is a charming adventure RPG that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Society begins to crumble and hits shockingly low numbers in population. John, a miner, meets this little girl named Sam in a mysterious looking underground facility. You'll have control over both characters as the pair ventures out to find facts on Sam's past and who she is. The journey will be long and perilous, for you will encounter a great deal of problems and creatures threatening local towns. Eastward has many amazing locales to visit and explore, and an amazing soundtrack to boot. The game has not been released yet, but is slated for release sometime in 2020. 



     The fun doesn't stop there! Rock em' and sock em' in this hardcore, headbanging shmup, Freedom Finger. Shmup fans, this one is for you! Though, it's not completely pleasing to the eyes in comparison to other shmups, Freedom Finger has that same tight experience with a bit of humor thrown in that won't go stale. Maneuver your ship/hand to smash and bash your enemies and to use them as weapons. Cause an uproar and devastate everything in your path – completing increasingly more difficult levels and giving your foes the bird of all birds. Freedom Finger is developed by Wide Right Interactive and hits Switch and other platforms this Fall. Steam has a release date for 27/9/2019, but don't hold your breath if you have to wait a little longer for this to hit Switch. 



     Any fans of point-and-click adventure games, like me? Well, you're in for a treat with this next one. Roki (Ro-ke) is our culprit this time, and boy do we have a gem here. The game is an ominous fairy-tale adventure, as they say, based off Scandinavian folklore. You play as Tove, a young girl traveling through a living, winter-wonderland of a forest. Meet all kinds of creatures and befriend them to aid you in your journey. On your expedition, you'll face a handful of challenges, and if you find yourself having a tough time overcoming those challenges the game does a great job at giving you the help you need. Developed by Polygon Treehouse, Roki is a game for everyone, and it releases this winter. So yes, that means either 2019 or 2020. Most likely 2020...



     Torchlight 2, a game developed by Runic Games, is making its way to Switch, PS4 and Xbox One on September 3rd. In Torchlight 2 you'll have plenty to do in each run as you loot and grind your way through a procedurally generated world. Choose between four character classes, Berserker, EMBERmage (see what I did there?), Engineer, and Outlander. Each with unique attributes to fit your play-style. Heavily inspired by Diablo, Torchlight 2 brings lots of action for you and several of your friends to enjoy together. It captures the same thrill as the first game in the series, and will have you coming back time and time again. If you're itching to get in the action, PC players can enjoy the game right this very minute, which I might based on this trailer alone.



     Want to relive your 90's where you wished you could skateboard as well as you could play Tony Hawk Pro Skater? I've got good news for you, Skater XL is pulling a 720 Ollie on to your Switch sometime in 2020. Pull off insane tricks and impress your friends by taking the Switch out of the dock, placing it on the floor and demonstrating just how good you are. JOKING. That would be quite the sight to see, though. Honestly, I don't really need to give a description of this game. These games speak for themselves, and I've got nothing against them. To me, it looks exactly the same as the 50 other skateboarding games out there, but I know a good handful of you like those games, so this one's for you. And now you'll get to enjoy skateboarding on the go, perhaps on a skateboard. Although I don't advise doing that either. We don't want Pokemon Go all over again. Skater XL is developed by Easy Day Studios Pty Ltd.



     Defy the laws of gravity in Youropa, a game developed by frecle. Manipulate You, a Youropean, to use your wall walking abilities and to figure out how to piece together the broken fragments of the world. Youropa challenges you to break the rules, look at the world from a different perspective, and to test your knowledge of thinking in more than a single way. This game is meant to push the limits of your mind with complex and abstract puzzles/riddles along the way. Beware of crude enemies trying to stop you by any means of putting the world back in its place. Lest not forget, there is a level, map, and character editor so you can create a new world in you own way. Youropa is heading to Nintendo Switch this Winter, while PC players can pick this up right now!



     Available today is the indie hit, Superhot. In this FPS, time only moves when you do, and you'll have to do your best to avoid getting killed by an array of bullets. You will be outnumbered – you will be outgunned – and that's what makes the game so thrilling. The game is meant to be fluid cause you want to be as precise with your decisions as possible. Take the red pill, and laugh at how poorly your enemies accuracy is when you slip by each and every shot, punch, etc. Superhot is developed by Superhot, so anytime anyone says superhot, the whole team perks up in question. *knee slapper*




     Get ready to defend the dungeon when Dungeon Defenders: Awakened builds its fortress on Switch. Developed by Chromatic Games, Dungeon Defenders: Awakened is...well, a tower-defense game that is action-packed and ready to be played at any occasion. Selecting between four different heroes, you will experience a fantasy world, fending off orcs and goblins a plenty. Loot and level up, set traps and push back those pesky foes. Play solo, or bring some friends along to hold what is rightfully yours! For those of you that can't wait to get into the multiplayer action, there is online co-op, too. BUILD. DEFEND. COMMEND this to your friends so you can have a great time trolling them. Dungeon Defenders: Awakened releases February 2020 as a timed Nintendo Switch exclusive.



     Pack your bags, grab plenty of socks and maybe a few pairs of blocks. The Touryst, an action adventure game, will have you doing just that. As you arrive at a place called Monument Islands, you'll have plenty to explore as you go for a swim, visit a retro arcade, surf, or dance to your hearts content at the beach party. You could, however, find what secrets lie on and beneath the island. What exactly lurks down below? How will you find your way out? Can you make it out alive? Did you apply sunscreen to your nose? All this and more when The Touryst washes ashore and on your Switch this November.



     From the creators of the hit indie game, Slime-san, publisher Fabraz and developer Umaiki Games are here to announce Skellboy. Skellboy is a charming and unique action-rpg that will challenge your know-how, and reward you for being curious. Explore this expansive singleplayer experience in a new world known as Cubold. Skippy, a long forgotten hero, has emerged from the dead, though not intentionally. The king's evil court magician has recently been dumped by the princess, and he was left with bitterness and rage. So, the magician snaps, and decides to use his power to call upon evil spirits of another realm to resurrect the dead and many demonic monstrosities. Skippy comes fully equipped with the ability to swap out body parts for bigger and better equipment. Master all sorts of weapons, and take down the evil court magician! It's up to you...er, um I mean Skippy, to take a stand and be the hero once more! Skellboy has a release date for December 3rd of this year.



     We all like dragons. Don't lie. I know you do. Well, in EarthNight, dragons have invaded earth and have now claimed it for their own. It's up to a 14-year-old high-schooler and freelance photographer, Sydney, to put and end to this dragon apocalypse. Somehow making your way into space, you'll jump and dash across the backs of dragons. The game plays kinda like an endless runner, but with a twist. You will switch perspectives and free-fall, maneuvering past any and all dragons in your path. Earn and unlock power-ups that play a vital role in how you play the game. Rock out to a spectacular soundtrack, composed and performed by chiptune musician Chipocrite. EarthNight is launching on Switch, alongside PS4 and Steam, this Fall and is developed by Cleaversoft.



     Get ready to relive a classic. Hotline Miami Collection is coming to Switch and it's about as Cyberpunk as you can get it. If you haven't played any of the Hotline games, you can enjoy both on your Switch right now. Hotline Miami is a balls to the wall action game. Spewing raw brutality, off the chain gunplay, and fist in your face combat. Once you're finished with that, you can enjoy the stunning conclusion of Hotline Miami with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. The sequel is riddled with revenge and forceful encounters where you'll need to do whatever it takes to stay alive. Do you have what it takes, or will you accept your fate? The Hotline Miami Collection was developed by Dennaton Games.



     A game no one anticipated is making it's way to Nintendo Switch, September 27th – Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition. In this beautifully crafted platform adventure game, you'll delve deep into the forest of Nibel and learn that it is dying. A young orphan destined to save his home, finds the courage to confront a dark and malevolent foe. The definitive edition comes packed with all new areas, secrets, abilities, story sequences, multiple difficulty modes, full backtracking support, and loads more! Don't pass this one up, folks. With Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming up soon, I wouldn't be surprised to see that get a release on Switch, too. 



     I'll reiterate that once these indies hit the Switch, they'll feel right at home and better than ever. There are a handful of really great indie titles coming to the Nintendo Switch, as well as other platforms, within the coming months and I couldn't be more excited. What are some of your most anticipated titles for the Switch? Are there any titles you wish you would've seen that didn't appear in the showcase? For me, it probably would have been Cross Code, but I'm sure we'll see that soon enough. The hype doesn't stop there, though. I'll leave off with a few more titles to ponder upon in the video below. Check it out!


Sparklite looks spectacular...just saying.



Rimworld - The Game That Plays You


Ronfort struggled through the pouring rain, lightning arching overhead, planting each foot carefully as he hauled his deadly cargo into position. Groups of Tribal raiders had flooded over the horizon,innumerable, unannounced, catching a group of passing traders unawares and descending upon them from among the trees.

The other raiders sped towards Mountains Hope, as panicked colonists rushed to connect the auto-turrets power systems to the main generators, this was a race against time. Ronfort began to lower his cargo into the newly forged mortar as another flash of lightning streaked past, striking mere feet outside the walls of the colony.

The passing traders had all fallen by now, the raiders attention fully turned to Mountains Hope, it’s colonists arrayed behind sandbags braced to fight if needed. Ronfort steeled himself, adjusting his aim, steadying his hands. Suddenly the staccato boom of the auto turrets erupted, giving Ronfort the confirmation he needed to find his range, without hesitation the mortar fired, straight & true.

As sunlight began to break through storm clouds, the devastating effectiveness of the colonies defenses was clear; a huge gouge in the earth, littered with corpses torn asunder from explosion and turret rounds, marked the survival of another day on this Rimworld.


Rimworld, now fully released as a complete game, is a sci-fi colony management sim, whose real strength lies with the three AI story tellers that dictate the trials your colony will endure. While it is completely achievable to ‘win’ by creating a stable colony and advancing through Rimworld’s technology tree to finally create a spaceship and escape the savage lands on which you first crash upon, the beauty of the game is that the journey along the way is as, if not more, rewarding to experience. These storytellers (Phoebe Chillax, Cassandra Classic & Randy Random) are responsible for both the pacing and severity of any beneficial or threatening events; ranging from raids to traders or tornadoes to beautiful auroras.

Alongside the story creating AI lies a very deep, and realistic, modelling system for a whole range of factors which contribute to the success (or failure) of a colony. Social relationships within your colony can result in rivals, social fights, marriages, affairs and everything else in between. The health,and usefulness, of your colonists is just as important, with Malaria, heart attacks, food poisoning,carcinomas or hypothermia just a small selection of threats waiting in the wings if you fail to prepare your people properly. Thankfully, for every disaster lurking in the shadows is a counter measure at your disposal; fine marble artwork, bionics or even hard drugs if you dare roll that dice.

Replayability of the base game is a real selling feature, as even if you choose the exact same colonists to start in the same map area no two games will ever play out in the same way. I personally haven’t delved too deeply into the modding community of the game, but once you delve into that rabbit hole you’ll inevitably find ever increasing ways to keep your interest; whether that be Alien vs Predator, Warhammer 40k, Lord of the Rings or any number of other varied packs to spice up your game.

The main potential drawback for Rimworld is that it is a game with an unforgiving learning curve, which has no qualms about devastating your colony, and even your enthusiasm sometimes, but remember this is the beauty of the game, it’s created to tell a story, even if that is one of hilarious self destruction or valiant defeat, and also the reason why it is worth a few hours (or over 350 in my case) of anyone’s time.

You can grab Rimworld from Humble right here.

Tynan, the game's developer, can be found here on Twitter.

If there are any other games you'd like to see me review, let me know in the comments below!

HappyFeet #CraftFightSurvive

Introduction - Short and Sweet


It's about time to get the ball rolling! 

beginning crazy ex girlfriend GIF

      Hey there everyone! So glad to be a part of a brand new community with you all! I'm relatively new to the site, and the first time I saw anything about ember was on twitter several months ago. I decided to jump in and check it out for myself, and I really believe in the vision of the site. 

      I'm an avid gamer, like most of you I assume, but I focus mainly on indie titles. I love the process and development of games, so I decided to create a channel dedicated to supporting indie devs. Ember is in that vein, so what better way to showcase news than on that of an indie site!? A lot of what I post will be short and sweet, but sometimes that's all we need. Now I don't have a particular format, or even schedule to go by as I am fairly busy with family, work, and other hobbies, but I assure you I will make time to throw up a blog or two every once in a while. Again the focus will be strictly on indie games/development. 

      Why indie? Great question. Indie games just feel more genuine to me. I see a lot of passion and expression from indie developers toward the vision of their game. Even when times are tough, most developers stick it out to the end, and I respect that. Typically, I notice a lot of these indie developers involving the community into the actual development of their game, too. With AAA games, I see decisions based on whether or not they can produce more income, and it backfires almost instantaneously. Whenever I play an indie title, the experience I have and the little details I notice in each game tend to stick out to me even more than a AAA title. Not to mention, there isn't a lot of controversy in the indie game community comparatively to AAA communities.

      With all of this said, I am looking forward to the many great conversations ahead. It's been a while since I've written anything of this length, so bear with me as I find my comfort zone. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and can't wait to share some indie game news with you!!

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