August has seen quite the boom in indie games. As summer draws to a close, we’re seeing numerous games hoping to launch by the end of the year. Pure horror takes a bit of a back seat this month to the likes of dark fantasy, psychological trysts and plenty of sci-fi.
Here are the best of crowdfunded games that August 2018 has to offer.
Glyphs of Eldamir
Glyphs of Eldamir is a retro rougue-like that has you journey through dungeons crawling with bats, skellies, slimes and more.
To defend yourself you have a selection of weapons (like bows, swords and spears) and armour at your disposal. You’ll also use spells, known in this game as glyphs, where you can utilise fire, ice, lightning and poison. Character progression has standard stats and levelling as well as different combat paths you can master, like warrior, archer, sorcerer, etc.
For a relatively small game, it packs in a lot. Away from the hordes, the dungeon is laced with traps and mini-games, and there are six unique bosses to contend with. But be warned – this game has permadeath.
The developers at Legit Games weren’t asking for much but already managed to outstrip their humble Kickstarter goal of £785. With a few days left on the campaign, they aim to release on Steam autumn next year.
One Zero Three
You play as Lily in first-person mystery adventure One Zero Three – or 103 – an unusual girl who with a strong imagination and a teddy bear friend called Wilbur.
One night in her past, something terrible happened that changed her life forever. What it was has long been repressed and forgotten. As she wanders through the rich home build by her imagination, memories and dreams, the place that was once a refuge no longer feels safe.
As Lily, you must uncover the suppressed memories to find the answer lurking within the walls. The French-themed visual style is unique and a key stand out for this game. The narrow hallways, while pretty, feel somewhat claustrophobic. You play through the game by simply looking at the objects around you as you explore the hallways. Along the way you’ll solve puzzles, view pictures, read messages. It’s not all exploring and examining though, as you’ll also meet other characters and trigger events.
103 still has a few weeks to hit its Kickstarter goal but if it meets its funding, it will be out by this December on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Inside the Mirror
This emotional thriller of a visual novel centres around Yumi, a high school girl struggling to deal with her past.
Once a normal girl with a happy family, Yumi now has a hard time finding the motivation in daily life. She doesn’t know why her brother left five years ago or why her parents fell apart, and every day she finds herself closer to the edge of sanity.
One day, when Yumi is close to breaking point, her reflection, breaks away and becomes a character in its own right, dragging her into a mirror reality and trapping her there. The reason for this is unknown but Yumi must navigate this new world is she ever wants to get out again. You help Yumi as she attempts to repair relationships, discover the truth of her broken past and find herself once more.
Much of the artwork is already set up, with one of the key developers having drawn these characters for years before the game’s inception. The funding they’re after will mainly go towards more art assets and audio.
Chronotopia: Second Skin
Another visual novel, this time a little more interactive with point-and-click elements, Chronotopia is a dark fantasy based on the largely forgotten fairytale of Donkeyskin (a lot like Cinderella but with more attempted incest).
After the death of his queen, the king has gone mad and decided to marry his own daughter. The princess, distraught, turns to her fairy godmother to help her escape in the hope of finally marrying her prince. TraumendesMadchen, the developers behind the game, want the story to have a more realistic take on this fairytale setting and your choices will affect what actually happens to the princess.
There are a number of different fates in store for her – for example, she can escape with servant, become a fairy herself, or (and here’s where the realism comes in) end up dying in many different and gruesome ways.
On the game’s Kickstarter page, the devs cite their inspirations, from folklore and classical literature to games like Child of Light and anime like Haibane Renmei. This is absolutely apparent in the visuals, with artwork reminiscent of fairytale illustrations.
In sci-fi/horror puzzle game The Subject, you play as an escaped prisoner and trying to find your way out of a testing facility. It’s a very polished-looking game thanks to the developer’s experience with game environments, and there are some impressive progress shots of areas throughout development on the game’s page.
The Subject is set in 2290, where the commercialisation of prisons have led to criminals having no human rights and being sold off to corporations for whatever their nefarious purposes might be. As one of these recently bulk purchased prisoners, you start the game being shuttled off to a lab for study.
The next in line, you break away in an escape attempt that leads you to find your way through the maze-like complex, occasionally visiting bio-data terminals to check your vitals. At every turn there are puzzles impeding your escape and if you can’t solve them you’ll be caught and euthanised.
Even if you can memorise the compound’s intricate layout and solve all the puzzles, don’t get too comfortable. You’re not alone. Something is following you through the corridors. You’ll have to run and hide to evade the mysterious entity that stalks you.
Tales of the Neon Sea
Tales of the Neon Sea is a side-scrolling point-and-click adventure game set in a fluorescent, futuristic city, but don’t be fooled by the bright lights. Through the Neon Sea runs a current of darkness as tensions between humans and robots mount ever higher and corruption lurks around every corner.
You play as a hard-boiled detective and his black cat companion as you follow the case of a missing person. Your case leads you on the hunt for a killer, where you find a conspiracy that may run deeper than you think.
The city is big and interconnected, and finding your way around is a puzzle in itself. The maze-like areas will have you backtracking and finding hidden ways to unlock new areas. As William the cat you can travel though those tight spots humans can’t get to like sewers and pick up valuable clues.
Having just exceeded their goal, producers Zodiac Interactive have just a few days left on their campaign, and have already been garnered a lot of positive attention. No date set for release yet but it’ll likely be early 2019.