Pictured above: Azure Saga: Pathfinder
I'm back with another batch of new indie and AA releases that you might have missed. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games, just highlight some titles that stood out among the many releases that hit Steam on a weekly basis. Be sure to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game.
PC, PS4 (Release Date TBA), Xbox One (Xbox Game Preview)
The stealth RPG Ghost of a Tale was originally funded on Indiegogo back in 2013, and its finally complete after four years in Early Access. You play as Tilo, a tiny mouse in a very dangerous Redwall-inspired medieval fantasy world. Explore the massive Dwindling Heights Keep on your quest to find your friend Merra. Tilo's combat prowess is extremely limited due to his small stature and inexperience, meaning that most of your adventure will be spent sneaking through the shadows or using disguises to outwit your enemies. The PC version of Ghost of a Tale is the only one that is currently finished. It's on Xbox One as part of the Xbox Game Preview program, but the final version (as well as a PS4 port) won't be out until sometime later this year.
My Next Games
Soulblight is a top-down action rogue-lite that promises to offer players unforgiving combat, a grim setting, and a unique approach to leveling that emphasizes role playing. Your primary way of gaining strength is through the Taint mechanic. These Taints represent personality traits your character can develop throughout the game, and will give you bonuses and penalties for playing specific ways. You'll become increasingly more powerful as you acquire new Taints, but your character will gradually descend into madness until they reach a point of no return. As with most games in the genre, death is permanent, and each run features procedurally generated levels and loot.
Flow Fire Games
Speaking of top-down action rogue-lites, Synthetik is another new game in the genre that released earlier this week. After years of servitude, the AI servants developed by the robotics company Kaida Corporation have gone rogue. You play as a prototype android with a human consciousness, and represent the final line of defense against the robot apocalypse. Despite the top-down perspective, Synthetik features a lot of mechanics you'd expect to see in a first or third-person shooter, including headshots and limb damage, recoil control, and an active reload system similar to the one used in Gears of War. The game supports drop-in, drop-out online co-op as well.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Surviving Mars is the latest game by the developers of the Tropico series. The goal of this sci-fi city builder is to establish a thriving colony on Mars. This won't be an easy task, and as the name implies, you'll have to overcome a plethora of problems related to the Red Planet's harsh environment. Build a colony from scratch with the support of one of the game's space agencies, then gradually increase your city's self-reliance by growing food, producing oxygen, and developing new technologies to help make everyday life easier on a hostile alien world.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Q.U.B.E. 2 is the sequel to a first-person puzzle game that released at the end of 2011. The original may have been written off by many as a "Portal clone," but it still managed to gain a fairly devoted cult following. You play as an archaeologist named Amelia Cross, who has awakened to find herself stranded in a maze-like alien structure with no knowledge of how she got there. Q.U.B.E. is a acronym for Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion, which accurately describes the environment-shifting puzzles you'll encounter throughout your journey. Use your manipulation gloves to move objects and alter your surroundings across 11 levels and over 80 puzzles.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Big Bad Wolf
The Council is the first installment in an episodic narrative adventure game that hopes to expand upon the Telltale formula in interesting new ways. The game is set in an alternate 1793 and tells a story about secret societies and political intrigue involving historical characters like George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte. You'll be taking the role of Louis de Richet, a member of a secret society that has been invited to a meeting on a private island off the coast of England. Louis de Richet's real goal is to uncover the truth behind the sudden disappearance of his mother, a member of the same group that recently went missing on the island. Gameplay involves scheming and manipulating your way through noncombat confrontations with other characters in order to gather information and garner political influence. There are no game-ending failure states in The Council, though a wrong move can result in losing favor or physical disfigurement. The $30 price tag grants you access to the other four episodes as they come out.
Frogsong Studios AB
Free to Play
Spellsworn is a top-down, skill-based arena combat game heavily inspired by Warlock, a classic Warcraft III mod. Face off against other players in fast paced, best-of-five matches in either duel or team battle formats. Currency earned during battle can be spent between rounds to customize your character with an arsenal of offensive and defensive spells. Each of the game's arenas are full of hazards like acid or lava, and the maps constantly shift and change throughout the match. The game's monetization scheme is similar to Battlerite and other recent competitive multiplayer games, with purchasable loot chests that contain cosmetic items to customize your character.
Finally we come to Azure Saga: Pathfinder, a 2.5D game inspired by old school JRPGs. In the far future, the last remnants of humanity have been scattered across the universe in search of Azure, a lush and resource-rich planet said to be the last hope for the survival of the human race. Travel across the galaxy as Synch, a young scientist searching for his father that eventually gets wrapped up in the quest to find Azure and restore humanity's former glory. Exploration takes place in an isometric view complete with puzzles, mini-games, dungeons, and town hubs. Combat involves random encounters that play out like a traditional party-based JRPG, with powerful United skills that allow your characters to unleash combination attacks.
Which of these games caught your attention?