Another week and another VIP RPG newsletter hitting your computer monitors! I’m feeling particularly festive and it’s not only about the holiday season or the fact that Home Alone is on repeat in my household. The two games we’ll be covering today are so full of potential that they’d make Santa’s magic bag of holding spill over with RPG awesomeness.
Before we start, I’d like to acknowledge everyone that’s taken the time to leave comments on the last two articles. I know that indie RPGs can be a little esoteric, so I love the fact that anyone finds a little entertainment from the GIFs and screenshots that we’ve been posting. Two RPGs a week may feel a little short, but since I’m one man and my time is limited, I’m trying to set a precedent of two game covered, and if we go higher it is a “one-off” sort of thing rather than the norm. Now, on to the games!
The Iron Oath
Set in a medieval fantasy world (like so many RPGs before it), The Iron Oath can be best explained as a mash-up of XCOM, Darkest Dungeon, and Final Fantasy Tactics. You take the role of a mercenary company leader and any decision you make could spell demise (or victory!) for your crew. The group that you adventure with will be constantly changing, but making sure someone leaves the dungeon alive is tantamount to overcoming the game.
Like Darkest Dungeon, your characters in the Iron Oath will have distinct traits that you’ll need to account for when wading into battle, and those will be even more adversely affected by disease and injury. One misstep in combat and you’ll face a quick and gruesome death. So far the developers have unveiled character classes like the Pyrolancer, Valkyrie, Paladin, and Stormcaller. A huge number of GIFs have been posted on The Iron Oath’s official twitter (@TheIronOath) and it’s exciting to see the amount of progress being made thus far.
Speaking of visuals, The Iron Oath is reaching for a very high bar. While it hasn’t been called out, the visuals remind me of those seen from Duelyst – and if you haven’t checked out that tactical digital card game yet, do yourself a favor and hop to it. Each character is meticulously animated and the color palette is bright and vibrant while still managing to be steeped in excellent lighting.
Emerging from the dungeons, you’ll be able to select quests via an overworld menu in a variety of different hubs and locations. One can assume that missions will likely allow you to earn loot, XP, and maybe even additional followers. Again, if you’ve played Darkest Dungeon or XCOM, there will likely be a number of similarities but in a different visual style than both of those games.
While no official dates have been announced, the game looks like it’s been in planning for quite some time and full production has finally started to ramp up. It may be sometime before we see a release, but enough updates come via their various social platforms that it’s worth keeping an eye on how things progress.
This game is a bit different than most of the other titles that I’ve listed on here previously. Although it is definitely in the Metroidvania aesthetic, Unworthy (comes at the genre in a purposefully limited fashion. Action-based combat drives the game forward, but you’ll need to be strategic about your movement as – like many others in this genre do – it is taking a heavy dose of the Dark Souls tradition. Dying will result in a harsh penalty and progress is measured more in accumulated wealth and leveling that sprinting through each level. However, even this isn’t straight forward as the creator of the game, Aleks Kuzmanovic (@MrAmlice) has purposefully removed jumping from the game. For those of you that hate jump puzzles (like me!) this is a fantastic inclusion.
Everything in the game is drawn in a silhouette style, with variations of black, gray, and white doing all the visual heavy-lifting. The only color displayed throughout Unworthy comes in the form of blood, gore, and viscera that’s left in your wake as you get impaled by enemies… or do the hacking-and-chopping to the various monsters, skeletons and boogie men that lay scattered throughout the levels. Red will rain from your blade.
Again we don’t know much about the game’s story, character types, or anything beyond that it’s a grimdark world where huge spired towers pierce the sky in the background of your bloodbath. One can imagine that the objective is in those towers, but that is only an assumption. We do know that death is fully embraced in the game, with the title screen featuring spear-pierced skulls peppering a battlefield. We do know that there is a leveling system, weapons that can be swapped out, and other typical RPG type advancement mechanics, so we’re looking forward to giving those one a whirl when Aleks gives us more to digest.
Unlike other newsletters, we don’t have RPGs firmly picked to check out in the next issue, so if you have any suggestions (we’ve received some already, but we’d like more!) definitely leave them in the comments section or shoot us an email. Again we’d love to hear your comments and feedback, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@codybye) and sign up for the newsletter in your inbox.