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Indie Roundup – Overland, Chronicle of Ruin, and Below

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Welcome back to the Indie Roundup, single players. This week, we have a trio of great games for you to keep your eyes on. So, without further ado, I present to you: Overland, Chronicle of Ruin and Below.

Overland (Finji)

Website / Facebook / Twitch / Devlog

Make the most of a terrible situation. See things no one was meant to see. Survive – barely.

Why is it that we never get sick of post-apocalyptia? Well, ok, I’m sure plenty of people are sick of it. But for whatever reason, I’m not. So you all have to suffer with me.

Live with it.

Post apocalyptic settings seem to lend themselves very well to open-world exploration, and that’s the vein that Overland falls into. Created by Texas-based developer Finji, Overland is a “squad-based survival strategy game with procedurally generated levels set in post-apocalyptic North America.”

Every random level is full of close calls and hard choices, even though the interface is approachable and easy to learn. Manage fuel supplies, weapons, and other items by making the right choices on the procedural roadmaps. A road trip straight into the heart of the cataclysmic event that changed the Earth forever.

The gameplay of Overland is a combination of “tactical” encounters on on squares of land from an isometric point of view, similar to tactical RPGs, and “interludes” around a campfire or other rest areas where you make “higher-level strategic decisions” like where to go next and what resources to seek out. In the game, you must band together a group of survivors that is constantly evolving according to Finji, on a “road trip” through the ruined North American continent. The survivors you rescue can have specialized professions and skills and you must weigh their usefulness as you’re driving a hatchback, not a semi. One of the most difficult choices may come from having to decide between bringing a healthy survivor with no specific skills and an injured or sick professional.

As you go, you must scavenge the necessities of life including fuel, weapon, and other supplies (I assume food and water are included in the list…just a hunch). As you travel across the overworld, you must constantly be vigilant for the horrors of the desolate wasteland, which include “strange, sound-sensitive creatures roaming the remains of North America.”

The game recently hit “first access” to a select few. There has been no official release date for the project yet.

Chronicle of Ruin (Dusty Games)

Webpage / Kickstarter / Twitter

Chronicle of Ruin is a tactical RPG in the style of similar JRPGs of yore, including Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Fire Emblem. But blended with the broad, sweeping narrative of your typical tactics game, Dusty Games hopes to add in a more personal narrative like those found in more individual or party-focused games like those of the mainstream Final Fantasy series.

The folks over at Dusty Games draw their primary inspiration from the aforementioned Fire Emblem and the “long-neglected and sorely missed” Ogre Battle.

Even today, nearly twenty years since the West last saw the series, its distinctive mix of real-time tactics and JRPG-lite elements occupies its own lonesome niche, so much so that it still defies classification of any generally used genre or sub-genre. But while those games continue to stand as classics, Chronicle of Ruin aims to expand upon the forumula, and so it interweaves a modern take on the exploration and combat seen in equally classic, but more traditional, JRPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger.

Units in the game will represent entire squads on the map, but squads that are build up of a “wide range of classes” (which will sound familiar to anyone who has played the original Ogre Battle on the SNES). Those squads will not only compete in massive overworld combat but also exploring the game world like one might in a more traditional JRPG, which is where the Final Fantasy influence comes in.

Your army will consist of up to 50 different and unique fighters with almost 40 classes to choose from, split between 28 standard classes and 10 “unique hero classes.” Between the wide range of classes and equipment and stat growth, no two units in your massive army will be the same.

Chronicle of Ruin is aiming for a summer release of next year.

Below (Capybara Games)

Website / Twitter / Facebook /Devlog

From Capybara Games, the creators of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery (noteworthy for being an actual good single player mobile game) and Super Time Force, as well as working with Klei on the most recent expansion for Don’t Starve, comes an awesome website–er, game: Below.

(Seriously, check out the website above. It’s really neat)

The website features three simple words: explore, survive, and discover.

Not much is known about this game besides some ominous and beautiful screenshots featuring a tiny protagonist exploring what looks like a large and terrifying world that goes every downward into the darkness. The only hint they give us to the gameplay of Below is some signs of combat and an inventory and, possibly, a crafting system. The game is reported to be designed with difficulty in mind with “brutal but fair combat” and permadeath. Capybara Games is trying to capture the feel of “roguelikes of yore” by encouraging the player to take its challenge seriously and, thus, allowing them to feel pride in their accomplishments and awed by every new vista and shadowy splendor they find in the depths.

It also features the return of composer Jim Guthrie, who did the musical rounds on Sword & Sworcery.

You can check out the trailer below (pun not intended), which shows off the ominous and beautiful depths that our intrepid explorer will be plumbing.

The game is due out for Xbox One and PC this summer.

Writer, journalist, teacher, pedant. Reid's done just about anything and everything involving words and now he's hoping to use them for something he's passionate about: video games. He's been gaming since the onset of the NES era and has never looked back.

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Ubisoft Discusses How Uplay Plus Will Improve Communication With Players

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Ubisoft Uplay+

Ubisoft believes that its new subscription service Uplay Plus will help the publisher improve communication with players.

Alain Corre, the executive director of EMEA at Ubisoft, spoke to GamesIndustry.biz where he outlined the vision and strategy for the company’s new subscription service. He explained that Uplay Plus will help boost communication with players, and the feedback it receives will help improve Ubisoft’s games.

“The reason behind our subscription service… it gives more possibilities for our fans to play our games and we can talk to them. We can keep them in our worlds, we can discuss with them and—thanks to what they say and the way they behave—we can feed that back into our games development. When we are in control of that within our ecosystem, we feel it’s beneficial for our fans. That’s ultimately what we want to do; we want to have more contact with them, more interaction, listening more to what they want and improve based on what they say.”

Corre highlighted that Ubisoft will not solely focus its efforts on Uplay Plus; players will still be able to pick up any of the publishers games either physically or as digital downloads. He explained that the company’s strategy moving into a subscription service is to adapt with modern consumer tends of gamers.

“We are still keeping the traditional model whether they buy our games in a store or download them. It’s really a case of offering the possibilities. Consumers are evolving really fast, and we want to adapt to what they want and propose new things to them, as well as keep the other means of distribution.”

Furthermore Ubisoft revealed that Uplay Plus and all past and future games will be available on the Google Stadia. Ubisoft was an early vocal supporter of Google’s new console, especially as the upcoming console focuses solely on streaming games.

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