Kart racers, 8-bit RPGs, and dystopian virtual workspaces

Want a little Bloodborne in your Crash Team Racing?

Kart racers, 8-bit RPGs, and dystopian virtual workspaces

Hello everyone! I am so sorry for the silence. For those who have been following for a while, you will know that I have my first child due later this year, and my parents decided to fly into Tokyo to see my wife and I for nearly a whole month, which had me chaperoning and exploring Japan for quite some time. That left me little time to do regular life stuff, and I just could not make the newsletter work. While it was nice to spend time with family, I am glad to be back at the desk, able to catch up on all the news, and get back to finding those indie gems. So enough about that, let's see those games. 

What came out this week? 

Nightmare Kart

Developer:  LWMedia
Steam rating: Overwhelmingly Positive
Store page 

Much like Boomer Shooters, it seems that the kids love the PlayStation 1 vibes these days. We have seen a deluge of those triangular poly-filled games over the past few years, and just recently Crow Country has been flying that flag strong. 

Nightmare Kart is another release that takes late 90's nostalgia and packages it up with some nice modern trimmings. Combining the gameplay of classics like Mario Kart and a touch of Twisted Metal, with the gothic stylings of Bloodborne, this Kart racer features 12 unique vehicles, and boss fights. You heard that right, boss fights. The connection to Bloodborne is more than just the gothic art. It looks incredibly fun, and the best part is that it is 100% free. The developer does accept donations via their Ko-Fi page

Grab four controllers, some pizza, invite some friends, and have a good time this weekend! 

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game

Developer: Illfonic
Steam rating: Mostly Positive
Store page

I did not have Killer Klowns from Outer Space on my weird movie-to-video-game adaptation bingo card, but here we are. This has been in the works for quite some time, bringing the strange world of the '80s film into the same realm as other asymmetrical multiplayer horror games such as Dead by Daylight, Evil Dead: The Game, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

In this spin, one team of three plays as the wild Killer Klowns who have access to strange abilies, weird weapons, as they plan their invasion of the peaceful Crescent Cove. The other team is made up of seven citizens who must explore the city and find weapons and loot, to try and avoid capture and save the town.

Unlike other games in the genre, Killer Klowns from Outer Space features PvPvE gameplay with a heavy weight towards objective coniditions. That, coupled with the higher play count, definitely makes it sound like a really cool and interesting twist for the genre. The buzz on Steam seems good, so if it can keep the player count up, this one could be a surprise hit.

Sandwalkers - Prologue

Developer: Goblinz Studios
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page 

A bit of disclosure before we get into this one; I worked with Goblinz Studios around 3-4 years ago assisting them with a launch in Japan for one of their previous games. I am no way affiliated with them now, and I am including this game just as a fan, but I wanted to disclose that before going forward.

If you have been reading this newsletter for a while (thanks if you have!), you will know that I have recently discovered that strategy games are my jam, so when I saw Sandwalkers pop-up in the new release category I was immediately intrigued.

 This turn-based strategy roguelike has you leading a caravan through an ever-changing landscape as you build relationships, deliver goods to neighboring tribes, rescue refugees, and of course, fight monsties along the way. You are collecting memories that you will pass down to the next caravan, as you continue to plant trees and try to restore a broken climate. 

Inspired by HeroQuest, Dune, Chroma Squad, and many more, this game looks incredibly fun. This prologue is 100% free, and if you enjoy it the game is entering Early Access on June 20, which has immediately made its way into my ever-growing wishlist.

Field of Glory: Kingdoms

Developer: AGEOD
Steam rating: Very Positive

Store page 

I know i just said I have really gotten into strategy game, but the particular brand of pseudo-4x meet Total War that Field of Glory: Kingdoms is selling, might be a bit too much for me right now. However just look at that art! 

Set in 1054, just after the Great Schism, Field of Glory: Kingdoms covers more than two centuries of African, European, and Middle Easter history as you plan your dynasty, protect your lands, and conquer your foes. To my untrained eye it looks like there is a bit of Paradox DNA in here, with some elements coming from Crusader Kings, and maybe some Europa Universalis too. 

According to the Steam page, there are 450 factions, 400 units, and 600 buildings to create, which to me says this game is pretty deep, and that ultimately is what scares me right now. I just started my first real game of Civ VI and I am struggling with those concepts, this is just too complex for me. But it might be exactly what YOU are looking for, and it comes under the publisher Slitherine who has a great reputation in the strategy community, so if this is your thing, your should consider checking it out. 

SKALD: Against the Black Priory

Developer: High North Studios
Steam rating: Overwhelmingly Positive

Store page

OK, OK, technically this game came out LAST week, but it looks so incredibly good that I had to include it. SKALD: Against the Black Priory is a delightfully retro 8-bit RPG filled with Eldritch horrors, tragic heroes, and deep tactical, turn-based combat. Oh, and it has dice rolls. Yeah… I am a total mark for this one. 

When your ship is attacked and washes up on the shores of Idra, you will need to gather your party of broken heroes as your explore and discover the hidden secrets of the island. After checking out some reviews, there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to your approach. Sure, you can go in swinging with your sword hard and fast, but there are also plenty of opportunities to have a stealthy run and tackles problems from a different perspective. 

Word is that the narrative is pretty good, the gameplay is very solid, and it feels like the perfect game for me to start playing on my Steam Deck

Some other interesting things I saw this week

Cyber Knights: Flashpoint released a major update

Store page

I have been following the progress of Cyber Knights: Flashpoint for a while, and this week they released a pretty hefty update to their Early Access tactical game. It also includes some changes to the tutorial to help with onboarding, and to prepare for a new character class that is coming very soon. Definitely consider checking it out, it looks great. 

Tactical Breach Wizards demo has arrived

Store page

I have been a huge fan of Tom Francis, former PC Gamer writer who left the rat race to become a game developer. His debut Gunpoint was sublime, and Heat Signature in my opinion, does not get talked about enough for it's amazing vibes and frenetic gameplay. I have been waiting for some movement on this tactical wizard game for quite some time, and while I do not normally dive into demos, I am going to start embracing them now I can see what Francis' team has been cooking up. 

Wild Bastards Demo is here, out September 12

Store page

Void Bastards was one of those games that took the world by storm, and deservedly so. The team are back at it again with Wild Bastards, which looks set to take the same weird and wonderful world onto the grounds of a strange Western-style roguelike shooter. 

Blu Manchu has been one of my favorite studios ever since they released the delightful Card Hunter (pray for a sequel, please!), so I will be there day one for whatever they release. You can check out a demo of Wild Bastards to see if it fits with you, and get ready for it's release later this year. 

You can get a job at IKEA, inside of Roblox?! 

News post

Swedish furniture megacorp IKEA are launching a virtual store inside of Roblox on June 24, and they are currently interviewing applicants to work in this fake store, as part of their "Careers Done Different" campaign. 

The idea is that there will be a select few who are paid to work inside of this virtual space, which is all about showing people what it is like to work at IKEA. Then other people from the public will also be working there too, free of course, and exploring the products and what it is like to be an employee at the store. 

We’re excited to launch paid work on Roblox to showcase how we do careers differently, bringing our unique careers philosophy to life. At IKEA, there is no set route to career progression. Our co-workers are able to change roles, switch departments, and grow in any direction they choose, both in the game or in the real world. There are many ways to learn and grow at IKEA, and that's what IKEA on Roblox is all about.” - Darren Taylor, Country People and Culture Manager, IKEA UK and Ireland

Applications are currently open. The lucky applicants will be paid £13.15 per hour, which is apparently considered a real living wage for the London area. 

Jesus christ, we really are living in a dystopian nightmare, aren't we?

And that's it for this Indie Release Dispatch. I promise we will be returning to the regular schedule for a while now. If you enjoy the newsletter, please tell a friend, that's the only way that we grow right now. If you REALLY enjoy the newsletter, consider throwing us a few bucks on Ko-Fi or Patreon to help fund some new indie games for features and reviews. See you next week!