Welcome to OnlySP’s Indie Highlights Reel, where the most interesting new games from the indie sector have their chance to shine.

Phoenix Point

First up this week is Snapshot Games’s Phoenix Point, the newest turn-based strategy game from the creator of XCOM, Julian Gollop.

Although announced over a year ago, the first real details of the game leaked only a fortnight ago with that information being confirmed through the beginning of the game’s Fig-based crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday. As could be expected given Gollop’s involvement, Phoenix Point shares considerable DNA with XCOM, including an alien invasion, turn-and-tile-based tactical combat, and world-oriented strategy, with players needing to contend with various threats at any given time. All of the expected bells and whistles of the genre will be present, including the ability to target specific enemy body parts, procedural level generation, destructible terrain elements, and psychological effects resulting from injuries and other battlefield trauma. One major shift from the modern XCOM series is the ability to take up to sixteen squad members into battle, as opposed to XCOM’s six, ensuring a deep strategic engagement with the game.

Phoenix Point is seeking $500,000 in funding on Fig, and has achieved 92% of that goal at the time of writing with more than a month of its campaign remaining. Snapshot Games is targeting a release at the end of 2018 on PC. More details on the game are available on the game’s campaign page and the pitch video below:

Runes: The Forgotten Path

Next is Runes: The Forgotten Path, a VR adventure from the debut team at Stormborn Studio.

Runes: The Forgotten Path casts players as a wizard trapped in his own mind, in accordance with ancient laws governing the dissemination of magical wisdom. The game has been making waves at conferences for a while, but the developers officially launched a Kickstarter campaign on Thursday. Stormborn Studio has clearly put considerable thought into finding innovative solutions to the common issues associated with VR gaming, and has thus developed in-depth solutions for both locomotion and interaction. Gameplay will utilise room-scale VR through a “fourth wall” movement solution, blending first- and third-person gameplay. While combat and other interactions take place through the character’s eyes, players become disembodied for movement, and move the character in third-person. Meanwhile, the combat and other interactions are performed by drawing spell runes in mid-air.

Runes: The Forgotten Path is seeking €30,000 in funding on Kickstarter, with almost €5,000 pledged at the time of writing. Stormborn Studio is targeting a release at the end of 2017 for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift/Touch. More details are available on the game’s campaign page.


Locked Up

Third is Locked Up, a futuristic prison-based RPG from Kickflip Studios.

While each of the games of The Elder Scrolls series begin with the player in prison or under arrest, Locked Up takes that premise a step further and will put players in jail for the duration of the adventure. Players take the role of an unidentified prisoner in an antarctic prison facility run by a shady corporation. Having been unjustly imprisoned, the character seeks to escape and understand what the corporation is really after. The gameplay, meanwhile, promises to hew relatively closely to the well-established tropes of the RPG genre, with a skill tree, tool crafting, deep relationship systems, and character customisation.

Despite the promising beginning, Locked Up is the riskiest proposition on this week’s list, coming from a debut studio seeking $530,000 in funding and targeting a beta release in late 2018 at the earliest. More details are available on the game’s Kickstarter page.

Locked Up

Danger Zone

Finally, Three Fields Entertainment lifted the lid on Danger Zone, the spiritual successor to Burnout’s Crash Mode.

Officially announced on Wednesday, Danger Zone is the only game on this week’s list not going through a crowdfunding campaign. Though without a story mode, the game will be a single-player experience, charging players with crashing cars to cause as much damage as possible in one of twenty custom-designed intersections. While Burnout’s Crash Mode relied heavily on the franchise’s highly-stylised physics, Danger Zone will be far more realistic in its interpretation of multi-car pile-ups. The game will be released in May.

Although founded in 2014, Three Fields Entertainment is already a veteran studio with two games under its belt. Furthermore, the studio is led by Criterion co-founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry, who bring their experience in car-crashing mayhem to bear on this latest venture. More details are available in OnlySP’s earlier coverage of the game.

Danger Zone

Four very different games from four teams of varying experience levels makes for considerable variety. Why not let us know which one of these titles has most piqued your interest, and if you’re an indie developer just launching the promotion of your game, let us know so we can consider you for future entries of the Indie Highlight Reel.

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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