Welcome back to the Indie Roundup, where we once again plumped the internet depths – the interdepths if you prefer – to find indie gaming projects worthy of your ever-divided attention in an over-saturated market.

This week, we take a look at a voxel space-faring extravaganza in Avorion; a promising tactical experience with laundry list of classic influences in Arcadian Atlas; a punishingly-difficult sci-fi followup to a 2006 hit, Ren Hu: Rebel Yell; and a high-seas adventure in Pirates of the Polygon Sea.

As always, check out these exciting projects and give those that are worthy of it your support. And be sure to follow Only Single Player on Facebook and Twitter (@Official_OnlySP) for more of that single player goodness you love.

Avorion (Boxelware)

Website / Kickstarter / Steam Greenlight / Facebook / Twitter

In the open sandbox world of Avorion, it’s up to you to carve your living out in the stars however you choose, whether it’s by exploration, building, fighting, trading, mining…whatever it is you want to do.

With elements of Minecraft in its sci-fi futuristic world, the creator of the game spoke of his displeasure with space combat games in which all of the ships explode the same way. So he set out to create a game in which your attacks and their locations actually had a visible – and logical – effect on their target.

To stem the large amount of design work that was required for the project, I decided to procedurally generate the space ships and stations that you find in the game, so I made the ships up of blocks. I wanted something different than the standard voxel look, so the blocks in Avorion can be scaled to any form and size. Basically, boxes and voxels. Boxels? I quickly realized that boxel ships have another great benefit, aside from generating them: Players can build them themselves!

So yeah. Minecraft in space. Pretty neat, Avorion.

The game basically starts with your character plopped on the edge of the galaxy and tasked to find your way to the core. As you progress, the galaxy becomes more hostile, but naturally the challenges also become more and more rewarding as well.

But at the end of the day, how you proceed is completely up to you.

Avorion is about you. It’s designed so that you can play in your personal way, as a mercenary, freighter captain, admiral, scavenger or pirate. You decide!

In Avorion, however, “you” are also your ship, which you can build in any shape you want. The creator considers the ship “more as a character in an RPG, not just a vehicle.” And it’s easy to see how they would have a character all their own with as much freedom as the game promises.

Avorion is already four years into development and most everything on the Kickstarter page (above) is already implemented into the downloadable demo. There’s only a few days left on its campaign, so be sure to check it out at the links above if it sounds like Avorion is up your alley.

Arcadian Atlas (Becca Blair)

Website / Kickstarter / Steam Greenlight / Facebook / Twitter

Proudly proclaiming to be “inspired by classics,” Arcadian Atlas heavily evokes the aesthetic feel of games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and Vandal Hearts from the 90’s. Its pixelated, isometric aesthetic and retro gameplay certainly make it feel right at home among  that esteemed company.

Arcadian Atlas promises a “dynamic job system” that features heavy customization and specialization “through branching evolved classes with entire skill tres all their own.” You’ll start with basic classes and, as you progress, will unlock advanced classes based on each basic class, which provides an in-depth and customizable gameplay experience reminiscent of the build-freedom allowed by Final Fantasy Tactics.

The core philosophy behind Arcadian Atlas is simple: Challenging strategic battles with unique classes that make every fight a different experience. That means terrain that affects your movement, cover that can hinder the best laid plans, and skills that are never wasted.

Investment matters, and in a tactical RPG your biggest investment is your character class. So we want them to be purposeful, which is why classes in Arcadian Atlas have several core builds that your characters develop over the course of the game. That means no class hopping, but instead class evolution.

Unfortunately, by the time you’re reading this, Arcadian Atlas’ Kickstarter campaign will have ended. As of the time of writing (Sunday), the game is about $10,000 short of its $90,000 goal for a 10-hour game experience. But with such a strong aesthetic and mechanical experience, it’s really no surprise it eventually did meet its goal in one of the greatest buzzer-beaters in Kickstarter history.

Ren Hu: Rebel Yell (Lethal Games)

Webpage / Kickstarter / FacebookTwitter

No, I don’t think Billy Idol had anything to do with this game.

A combo-based, sci-fi, cyberpunk experience, Ren Hu: Rebel Yell is the spiritual successor to God Hand, a Playstation 2 title from 2006. Rebel Yell sets out to challenge its players with a “classic 90’s difficulty” curve that can sometimes feel more like a vertical line.

“Ren Hu” is a spiritual successor to “God Hand” setting out to challenge even the most skilled players with high-paced action, on-the-fly customizable combos and emergent gameplay.

The combat in Rebel Yell is combo-based, with players able to string together numerous attacks that allow you to customize your gameplay to suit your own style. There will be plenty of variety in attacks as well, with around 50 available to choose from, separated into categories like “normal,” “guard break,” “stun,” and the extremely powerful “limit attacks,” which you will unlock by finding collectables throughout the game world.

But you’ll need every bit of the variety in attacks the game provides you, because you may find the enemies resistant to certain approaches, requiring you to change your gameplay up with the “on-the-fly combo changer” that slows down time and allows you to make split-second tactical decisions with forethought and care.

“This is not a game for those looking for an easy challenge!” Lethal Games boasts.

All of this will be presented in a new graphical style called Bitstream, created by German artist Sylvia Ritter. It will give the game a unique, “high-resolution retro look.”

Her evocative style implies form without stating it, giving “Ren Hu” a unique look used as a stylistic choice where no curves are used in any static object in the world. 

This style combined with 3D-to-2D render technology allows “Ren Hu” to showcase very fluid animation within an HTML5 game confined to a 2D technology.

Combine all this with a narrative that pulls from various post-modern philosophical schools like neo-darwinism and ultra-liberalism and you have a unique experience that may just be worth checking out for anyone that’s a fan of hardcore sci-fi experiences.

There’s still almost half a month left on Ren Hu: Rebel Yell‘s Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out with the links above. You can even check out a downloadable alpha demo.

Pirates of the Polygon Sea (Praxia Entertainment)

Website / Kickstarter / Steam Greenlight / Facebook / Twitter

Pirates of the Polygon Sea is a high-seas adventure where you play as a swashbuckler vying for control of the Mythic Isles. You will build a bustling port town, trade with neighboring islands, hunt for lost treasure, and if you dare, plunder merchant ships as a pirate. As your reputation grows, so too will your wealth and influence; with some daring and skill you may even rise to become lord of the high seas. Be sure to keep your cannons loaded and your cutlasses sharpened, however, for rumors speak of dark shapes spotted lurking beneath the waves.

This is the “box blurb” for Pirates of the Polygon Sea, a new project on Kickstarter right now. The game promises a fundamental pirate experience all within a retro, polygon aesthetic reminiscent of 90’s-era graphics.

Pirates of the Polygon Sea has elements of naval combat as well as boarding mechanics for those of you who want to get more up close and personal. But of course the life of a pirate isn’t all broadsides and swinging over open expanses of water to engage unaware merchants with your blood-stained cutlass (though that is a large part of it). There will be elements of exploration of the game’s procedurally-generated world that randomizes your opponents, world layout, events, and objectives every time you play.

From mysterious shipwrecks, deadly pirates, and lost treasure to enchanting mermaids, giant whales, and even the legendary kraken – you never know what you’ll discover when you set sail!

You’ll also have the responsibility of building up the humble coastal town in which you start your swashbuckling journey into a bustling naval metropolis via a living, breathing economy.

Pirates of the Polygon Sea has about a month left on its Kickstarter, which you can back by following the links above. It is also on Steam Greenlight (also above).  It’s set for a PC, Mac and Linus release.

Brienne Gacke
Writer, journalist, teacher, pedant. Brienne's done just about anything and everything involving words and now she's hoping to use them for something she's passionate about: video games. She's been gaming since the onset of the NES era and has never looked back.

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