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Indie Highlight Reel – November 12, 2017




Welcome again, dear readers, to the Indie Highlight Reel, shining a focus on more brilliant games from the indie sector. This iteration offers up a quaint medieval city-builder, and a bombastic 90s-inspired action shooter.


With its debut effort, Foundation, Polymorph Games is looking to edge into the city-builder genre, and may succeed in making a name for itself based on novelty alone. Rather than leaping towards the contemporary and future settings so prevalent within the genre, the game instead takes players back to the Middle Ages and aims to replicate the disorganisation of medieval towns.

According to the game’s Creative Director, Philippe Dion, the lack of predefined buildings spaces will among the defining features of the project. The concept, he said, “was born in a context where the majority of medieval City Builders restrict the players to build on a grid. As City Builder fans, we find those limitations frustrating and a contradiction with real medieval cities that are built in a chaotic/organic pattern.” As such, “Foundation is totally gridless and will focus on the building experience of a medieval-looking city.” This idea of free-building expands beyond just the layout of the city, with houses adapting to topography on-the-fly and certain buildings also being fully customisable.

Most city-builder titles, from SimCity to Aven Colony, include high-resource, late-game structures that provide massive boosts to morale or other community variables. In Foundation, such buildings take the form of monuments (churches, cathedrals, castles, and abbeys), which can be designed by the player by selecting individual parts and mixing different architectural elements. To help make each building unique, Foundation will include various different architectural styles, “but exclusively Middle Age ones.” Therefore, while Romanesque and Gothic structures can be built, later forms, such as Baroque, Georgian, or Neoclassicism will not appear. According to Dion, this focus on freedom is intended to allow players “to shape a city out of [their] imagination or to reproduce [a] historical one.”

One of the more immediately accessible features of the game is the quaint art style, with its bright colours that accentuate a sense of peace and prosperity. The tone appears at odds with the reality of life in the Middle Ages, which was often short and violent. Dion addresses this apparent contradiction by confirming that while “Foundation has a lighthearted style, yes there will be more brutal and unpleasant aspects.” Unfortunately, Dion was not at liberty to discuss the extent or shape of those features, although he did hint that they may arise from the relationships that players form with neighbouring cities within the game. Although Foundation will not feature an overarching storyline, it is designed with a sandbox ethos that allows emergent narratives. As time progresses, players will “have to deal with the estates of the medieval age (Church, Nobility and Bourgeoisie). Random events and quests will happen throughout the game and you will have to decide how you react to them, and this will have an impact on your population and your estate relationships.”

Blending a high degree of player freedom with an emergent narrative, Foundation could be a novelty that introduces some revelatory ideas to the entrenched city-builder genre when it releases at the end of next year.

Peaceful Morning



Announced earlier this week, Hellbound is a 90s-inspired horror FPS from a long-established Argentinian studio better known for thoughtful (though still horrific) adventure games. While the FPS genre has increasingly chased spectacle, methodical pacing, and multiplayer, Hellbound is setting all those things aside for its initial release and breaking out with fast-paced, gory violence.

After capping off the well-received Doorways series with Holy Mountains of Flesh in August last year, the team at Saibot Studios began work on Hellbound, which is shaping up as an incredibly ambitious undertaking for the small studio. The game’s director, Tobias Rusjan, says that the classic FPS games, such as Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem are among his favourites, and that he has “always wanted to make this kind of game, but… couldn’t because of [a] lack of resources and experience.” Only after the successful completion of the Doorways saga did the team finally meet the conditions that would allow it to embark on such an intense production.

Rusjan plays down the team’s inexperience with the FPS genre, saying that several staff members have worked on action games in the past, but beyond simply changing genre, Hellbound also sees the team switching the Unreal Engine 4 after using Unity for Doorways. He calls the engine switch “tough,” but says that the decision was right. “We decided to go to Unreal because we want to reach the highest visual results we can. Unity is faster to make games, but Unreal is still the better option in terms [of] rendering/performance.” This attention on visuals and performance is a part of Rusjan’s philosophy of “quality over quantity,” which will also extend to the shape of the initial release of Hellbound.

For now, Saibot Studios is keeping the vision of the game contained, planning to release a single-player Survival Mode first before expanding from that base. “We would love to make Hellbound multiplayer,” he says “but we decided to make the first steps in something simpler… If things go well in terms of money, we will go to the [multiplayer and single-player campaign].” The closed beta for the Survival Mode is expected to begin “very soon,” with registration currently open on the game’s official website, but the team has not yet decided how to monetise the project. “Crowdfunding is an option,” according to Rusjan, “[b]ut we maybe also offer the option of paying to support the project [directly from the website] when we have the closed beta available.”

Meanwhile, the studio is not releasing any story details (besides the fact that players will take control of a hulking beast of a man named Hellgore as he slays demons in Hell) at present.


Let us know if either of these very different games has piqued your interest. Otherwise, if you’re an indie developer interested in having your game featured in the Indie Highlight Reel, get in touch with us!

Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at


Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019



Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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