Written and hosted by Steve Heller
Happy Friday folks! This week has been pretty hectic for me. At the day job we are currently switching from one project management tool to another, which all my producer and project managers out there will know, is STRESSFUL. A lot of late night, a lot of documentation, a lot of staring at the screen and wondering why my task list keeps getting bigger, not smaller.
As a result, I haven't actually had much time to do any gaming. I grabbed Super Mario Bros. Wonder and have played around five levels in total. Those five though... a great time and I can't wait to get a little deeper into it.
Also I had that moment where something you backed on Kickstarter arrives approximately 902178301 years after you order it, and I am hoping to get a self-learning game of Pagan: Fate of Roanoke in this weekend and see how it fares. Who knows, maybe I will write something about it on the website.
But enough of this. Let's get into the dispatch!
What Came out this week?
Dave the Diver
This is cheating a little bit, but Dave the Diver came out earlier this year on PC, but launched this week for Nintendo Switch. When Dave the Diver launched earlier this year on PC I wasn't writing Indie Release Dispatch. In fact, I was laid up in a hospital bed, getting plates removed from my jaw, and having to deal with the recovery with nothing more than slightly stronger than over-the-counter ibuprofen. For some reason, nautical games were the them of my hospital stay, as I managed to complete the excellent DREDGE, and somehow sink twenty or so hours into the absolutely delightful Dave the Diver.
This colorful masterpiece from "indie" studio Mintrocket (they are funded by Nexon, but technically are playing in the indie space) is part roguelike, part restaurant manager, part farming-sim, and all heart. The titular Dave is a tubby scuba diver who flies out to a mysterious shifting blue lagoon, that has a wide variety of fish, and changes with every dive. You are helping Bancho, a disgraced sushi chef ronin, to create the most unique and memorable sushi restaurant in the world. Problem is that you have no staff, so Dave is going to have to not only source the ingredients on the roguelike dives, but help out behind the counter serving the customers too.
Seriously, we can debate whether this is a true Indie game or not, but regardless I really think you should check it out. One of the more fun games I have played this year, with a fun story, and plenty of secrets to uncover.
Beast (Early Access)
Developer: False Prophet
Steam rating: Mostly Positive
Was Diablo IV lacking in tactical decisions for you? Then you might want to check out Beast, a gridless tactical turn-based game from Polish studio False Prophet. The world is torn apart by constant military conflicts, and a plague is on the loose. You will be making moral choices during these battles, which the developer claim will influence the gameplay. I didn't play it, but I saw this game at Tokyo Game Show a little while ago, and it was looking great then. This is probably my pick of the week, I am going to dive into this one.
Developer: Event Horizon
Steam rating: Very Positive
If grimdark doesn't strike your fancy, then perhaps the techno-fantasy world of Dark Envoy might be for you. Billed as a classic RPG with a skill-based combat system built on classes and specializations (because you know, Baldur's Gate 3 ruined the term CRPG for any game that wants to play in that space now), Dark Envoy puts you in the shoes of a party of relic hunters. Set in a Guns N' Sorcery world, this one looks like it would be a lot of fun with friends, and is playing around with the combination of magic and technology which is something that appeals to me personally. I haven't heard of this game, but the developers also made Tower of Time which also has a Very Positive rating on steam, so if you are looking for an RPG with friends, this could be it!
Developer: EQ Studios
Steam rating: Very Positive
Another game that I saw at TGS hits Steam this week. True Crime aficionados can live out their fantasy in Scene Investigators, a crime scene detective game that will challenge your powers of deduction to solve the case. You will need to investigate the clues in great detail, make calculated assumptions, and really take in the environmental cues to catch your culprit. This doesn't seem like a simple story-based deduction game, the Steam page talks about noticing the size 12 shoe print, and bullet trajectories and all that kind of stuff. I lean more towards games like Case of the Golden Idol personally, but if you want to train for your inevitable murder podcast, then Scene Investigators is waiting for you.
Deepest Chamber Resurrection
Developer: Balcony Softworks
Steam rating: Very Positive
Would it be an Indie Release Radar if we didn't have a deckbuilder? This week's virtual cardboard slinging game is Deepest Chamber Resurrection, a deckbuilder roguelike where you take your party into the depths of a dying city, and slay the baddies with your cards of tremendous power. The aesthetic is a little more gothic than many other fantasy games in this genre, which kinda has me interested. Seems this has been in Early Access for quite some time, and just hit version 1.0 with this release. So if you need more virtual cards in your life, consider checking this one out.
Here's some things we did this week
El Paso, Elsewhere Review
My first video is quite some time went live this week, taking at look at the excellent El Paso, Elsewhere from Strange Scaffold. Remedy Entertainment might be releasing Alan Wake 2 today, but Strange Scaffold may have already released the most "Remedy" game of 2023 with El Paso, Elsewhere. It is a delectable pastiche of everything the Finnish company has done from the twisting lore of Alan Wake, to the warped geometry of Control, and of course the frenetic bullet-time fueled combat of Max Payne. But to discount this low-poly dive into the pits of hell as imitation only would be a major disservice, because while El Paso, Elsewhere is unmistakably cribbing from the smoky noir of Max Payne, it does more than enough to set itself apart as something special on its own.
I gave the game a 4/5, but in my heart this is probably my favourite game of 2023. It won't be for everyone, and I totally understand that. But this game just speaks to my soul. Want to read the review? You can do so here.
Blue and I were chatting, and we think it would be kinda cool to have some experiments in our content. As you saw above, I am very heavily into tabletop gaming. I am also deep into music, and photography. Blue... Blue likes things. Lots of things. And he is very smart, and I am sure he can share deep insights into those things that he enjoys.
note to self - you probably should ask Blue what to write in these newsletters before you publish them.
So we were thinking of launching what is tentatively called DLC. A section of the website where we can write and share articles that cover things that aren't exactly indie games, but are adjacent to the things that we love, and hopefully you will love too.
DLC content will be free, but you do have to subscribe to the website to gain access. This is because we want to know how many people we are actually creating this content for, rather than just spewing it out onto the site and diluting the mission.
But let us know, do you think this is cool? A bad move? You don't really care? All feedback is always very welcome.
Until next time friends!
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