Indie Game Roundup: Idioms

Thursday Triple is a weekly roundup of Indie Games from around the Net.

I’ve been in a rut lately. With my main computer fizzling out whenever I’m doing anything graphically intensive, I now live through other gamers as they play without the fear of each bell and whistle potentially setting fire to their system. But enough about my hardware woes, these are some games I found with plenty of potential to pack a punch.

Ascendant

By Hapa Games

I know what you’re thinking. Another 2D, side-scrolling action-platformer? They’re like a dime a dozen these days, which makes separating the wheat from the chaff increasingly more difficult for the everyday consumer. Ascendant‘s got permadeath and procedurally generated levels – both of which I’ve almost come to expect after following the trends of late 2013 into 2014. But there’s something about this particular title that just smells different.

It’s colourful and vibrant with a system of powerups and spells that look devastating. Combat is fluid, and the environmental backdrops provide ample eye-candy while you smash enemies to smithereens. You’re a demi-god raiding the worlds of your rivals, and your character certainly looks and feels the part.

It’s definitely worth looking at if you like a good challenge. Don’t let the whimsical aesthetic fool you – this game is hard.

Ascendant is available now on Steam for $9.99.

Oberon’s Court

By Boof Games

Oberon’s Court is a squad-based strategy game where you journey through the afterlife in an attempt to reclaim your identity. Defeated enemies will become part of your army as you chain their soul to your will. It’s a simple premise and one that Boof Games strives to execute cleanly.

The aesthetic is slick, but it’s too early for me to tell how much depth the combat will have. As enticing as commanding a squad of shadow dragons is, Oberon’s Court‘s initial development platform was iOS, and a straight port to PC would be a waste. However, with a Steam release scheduled later this year, the release platform has been changed from mobile to PC with the relevant visual and content updates in the pipeline to match a more powerful system.

Here’s a look at the latest gameplay footage.

And a trailer to whet your appetite.

Follow Oberon’s Court on Steam.

Shards Online

By Citadel Studios

And finally, some exciting news for MMO fans, from members of the old Ultima Online team comes the sandbox RPG Shards Online. As I’ve been craving an MMO that gives players the tools to craft their own communities, Shards strikes a particularly resonant note. The Kickstarter campaign is still young, but already there are some fascinating concepts at work.

The worlds are built with emergent gameplay in mind, where actions you make will change what happens the next day. Some things you’ll always be able to predict, but the interaction of small factors here and there are bound to create some unexpected events.

What you can do with your character is also worth mentioning. The open-ended character development system ensures that the player has control over what he or she actually wants to do, and the combat harkens back to the days when knowing how to use your skills was as important, if not more so, than what level you were. If you want to make a holy trinity party, I’m sure you could manage it. But you don’t have to, and that’s the brilliant part.

There’s more about server hosting, PvP, crafting, and building houses that I couldn’t go into more detail here, though you can find them on their Kickstarter page. But rest assured, I’ll be following the development of this one closely over the next couple of years.

the author

Executive Editor of ManaPool. A student of game design, Amber is currently writing from the frozen north that is Canada. She has a penchant for tactical team-based games and a particular taste for theorycrafting. Want to discuss community and player experience? Talk to her!