Ancient Cities

Welcome back to the Indie Highlight Reel, where OnlySP digs up the most interesting and promising indie games to emerge in the past week. Diversity is at the forefront of this week’s offerings, with a prehistoric city-building simulator, an alien-invasion strategy game where humans are the aliens, a mechanical design game, a fire-fighting tactics-based title, and an adventure game that aims to show off the plight of African water-gatherers all taking the limelight.

ANCIENT CITIES

Ancient Cities burst onto Steam Greenlight late in the week and has already garnered considerable attention for its high quality and unique premise of tasking players with guiding a prehistoric human tribe to build a city.

The game is planned as the first in a series that will follow the development of human civilisation from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in Ancient Cities, through to Ancient Greece, Rome, and Medieval Europe in later iterations. Even without the promise of the more to come, however, the project is incredibly ambitious, with the team at Uncasual Games incorporating a simulated ecosystem with fully-integrated lifecycles; an annual cycle that includes days, seasons, and weather; and rich social simulation elements.

Players will begin with a nomadic tribe, and will first have to find a suitable, defensible location in which to set up the city to be. Compared to other games of this ilk, such as SimCity and Cities: Skylines, Ancient Cities appears to have a relatively constrained NPC count, but this is a conscious decision on the part of the designers, which allows each character to have unique abilities and desires, adding an extra layer of complexity to an established genre.

The project is currently on Steam Greenlight, targeting a release on PC sometime in 2018.

ATTACK OF THE EARTHLINGS

Attack of the Earthlings is a new turn-based strategy game from Team Junkfish, the Scottish team behind 2015’s Monstrum.

The project is a marked departure for the studio, moving away from the heavy themes and intense atmosphere of its debut to a more comedic tone. Players assume the role of an alien race known as Swarmers and must fight back against humanity’s attempts to mine Planet X13.

While the core gameplay appears similar to the likes of XCOM, Attack of the Earthlings adds a wrinkle by forcing players to consume their fallen foes in order expand their own forces.

The game is targeting a release later in 2017, exclusively for PC. More details are available here.

ROVER BUILDER

Rover Builder is Meccano for the digital age.

The project’s uninspired name captures the spirit and premise perfectly, as the main aim is to design and construct vehicles to complete a series of missions. Despite the simplistic description, the design tools appear immensely powerful, giving players access to a range of wheels, frames, motors, and hydraulics that can be slotted together quickly and easily, but also use a realistic physics system to ensure that careful design is necessary.

Rover Builder will have two modes, sandbox and career. While the former is predictably open-ended and without set goals, the latter incorporates a narrative of sorts. Players fill the shoes of a mechanic tasked with fulfilling a series of diverse challenges that will require the exertion of both creativity and skill, including transportation and demolition missions, with more currently being workshopped.

The game is currently on Steam Greenlight targeting a release on Mac and PC platforms, though a launch window has not yet been announced.

FLASH POINT: FIRE RESCUE

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is an adaptation of the board game of same name, designed in collaboration with the original creators to ensure a faithful recreation.

The game offers turn-based strategy with a twist, as players do battle against a force of nature rather than enemy forces, requiring a very different form of tactical thought than is typically demanded by the genre. Players assume control of a squad of firefighters, each with unique properties and abilities that will influence their utility in any given situation. The primary goal of each mission is to locate and rescue the inhabitants of the burning building.

As might be expected, the volatile nature of fire makes this task difficult, as explosions will cut off paths and ultimately lead to the collapse of the building and the loss of any firefighters or victims remaining within.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is currently crowdfunding on Fig, seeking a total of $30,000 to ensure the basic mechanics are implemented. The developers at RetroEpic have also announced a story mode as an unspecified stretch goal. The game is aiming for release on PC and mobile platforms later in 2017.

AYO: A RAIN TALE

Finally, Ayo: A Rain Tale is a 2D adventure platformer that aims to shed light on a significant issue for many people in less-privileged societies, the process of water-fetching.

Set in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ayo must fulfill the daily chore of fetching water for her family, and overcome a variety of challenges in order to do so. Although adopting a very serious theme as a central premise, Ayo: A Rain Tale will incorporate fantasty elements and typical gameplay tropes, such as environmental puzzles and oversized enemies.

The project’s evocative, painterly visual style is supported by a soundtrack that effectively recreates a traditional sound capable of transporting the player to the game’s unfamiliar setting.

Ayo: A Rain Tale is currently on Steam Greenlight, targeting a PC release later in 2017.


Five very different games made the list this week, and several other very promising projects failed to make the cut. If you are an indie developer looking to bring attention to your project, get in touch with us here at OnlySP so we can consider your game. Otherwise, why not let us know which of these caught your eye?

 

Damien Lawardorn
Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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