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Editorial

Indie Roundup – Sheltered, Wizard of Legend, Xing: The Land Beyond, and Stonehearth

Hello Single Player enthusiasts and welcome back to OSP’s Indie Roundup. It’s been awhile but we’re back with four great games for you to keep your eyes out for in the coming months. Today we’re gonna piggyback off the post-apocalyptic feel of the much-hyped Fallout 4 with Sheltered by Unibox; wield unfathomable magical power in Contingent99’s stylized wizardy beat-’em-up, Wizard of Legend; take a trip to the afterlife with Xing: The Land Beyond; and build up a civilized community in Radiant’s Stonehearth.

Sheltered (Unibox)

Ok, ok, I know you’re all planning on playing Fallout 4 this week, but if you’re into that whole post-apocalyptic motif and you like base-builder games, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out Sheltered.

In Sheltered, you and your family must take refuge in a fallout shelter that you conveniently find shortly after a nuclear fallout. That sounds boring, but obviously you have none of the amenities you need to survive – like food and water – so you must balance keep your family safe with scouring the wastelands to find the supplies you need. In your travels, you’ll also find construction materials you can use to build up your shelter and give your family all the comforts of home.

At the same time, you must wrestle with the constant crushing claustrophobia that living in a shelter, cut off from the outside world instills. You must not only think about your family’s physical well-being but emotional as well.

Sheltered is your typical base-building simulator with stylized pixel graphics, but it’s competently-executed even in its early state and has only been getting better with semi-frequent updates. More construction recipes, a quest system, combat mechanics (what, you thought you were the only survivors in post-apocalyptia?) have been added and it’s only going up from here.

Here’s the spiel from the game’s Steam page, where the game is already available for early access:

Panting, scared, the shelter airlock smashes down behind you. You wish you did not have to go outside, but you do. It would be easier to give up. But you don’t. The hardship, the hunger, the thirst. The fear. You keep reminding yourself why you stay alive. Why you do this. Then you hear it. “Daddy you’re back.” You wife’s face lights up and you open a bag full of medical supplies. You need not tell her how you got them. You simply enjoy your small victory in this, the harshest of times. In the post-apocalyptic world, you must keep your family alive in your underground bunker in this deep strategy game from Unicube…

You can also check out the gameplay trailer here:

Wizard of Legend (Contingent 99)

I’m not gonna lie. I loved the idea of Magicka. I never really got into it (don’t have a lot of friends into the game and the concept just doesn’t stand up as a single player experience in my book) but it piqued my interest. There’s just something about the unrestrained power of magic in a world that doesn’t require balance that borders on the cathartic. Sure in Baldur’s Gate and World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy there are warriors and rogues and other classes to worry about belittling with the raw, awesome power of magic. Make mages too powerful and the players won’t play anything else.

But in Wizard of Legend, a new game from Contingent99, they don’t have to worry about silly things like balance getting in the way of all the explodey fun that comes with frankly irresponsible levels of magical power.

I personally love the idea of unrestrained wizards – not the noodly-armed, wheezing nerds that can’t even lift their massive spell books but the god-like entities that bend the forces of reality to their will. And it looked like Wizards of Legend will cater to that itch. With 100 planned spells and great visual effects translated into a pixely graphical style, it looks like it’ll deliver on that power fantasy in fine style and procedurally-generated maps will help the expansive title to never get old.

Here’s their spiel from Steam Greenlight:

Wizard of Legend is a fast paced 2D dungeon crawler where you assume the role of a powerful wizard on his quest for fame and glory! Every year In the kingdom of Lanova, the Legendary Council of Magic holds an invitational challenge for qualified wizards who aspire to join their ranks. Contestants who manage to overcome all the trials set forth by the Council will be granted the honor of joining the Council of Magic as its newest Wizard of Legend!

And their trailer:

If this appeals to you, head on over to Steam Greenlight and vote for Wizard of Legend now. You can also check out their webpage here.

Xing: The Land Beyond (White Lotus Interactive)

Your body may be gone, but your life has just begun. In death, you will find yourself on a journey across a series of mysterious lands. You will encounter perplexing puzzles, trapped souls, and the power to change the environment around you.

Spiritualism, mysticism and logic come together in the land of XING, where you will traverse mountains, deserts, forests, volcanoes and more.

From this intriguing premise comes Xing: The Land Beyond, a new “atmospheric, first-person puzzle adventure game” with gorgeous, jaw-dropping environments. While the game has amnesia as a premise – something that is often overused and abused by game writing – it approaches it in an engaging way. In Xing, you’re sent to the afterlife and must discover who you are and why you’re there. It’s pretty common for video game protagonists to not know why they’re alive…but to be dead and not know why is certainly something new.

You’ll also have to travel through the stages, which are homes to other spirits, and try to free them even as you’re trying to free yourself. On top of it all, the game is told through “gameplay and poetry” with no dialogue or subtitles.

“The player must explore to find the answers they seek. Players will encounter sumptuous shrines, awesome abilities, sorrowful souls and puzzles within puzzles.”

Gorgeous environments? Check. Unique, engaging premise? Check. This definitely looks like the sort of game that any indie enthusiast should have on their radar. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s even planned for a VR release.

Check out the trailer below and the Steam page here.

 Stonehearth (Radiant) 

I’ve been watching Stonehearth for awhile now. One of my personal favorite video games is Dwarf Fortress, but it’s no secret that Dwarf Fortress is unapologetically deep and complex (and the terrible UI doesn’t help much either).

Stonehearth is a nice middle ground for those of us who love community-building games like Dwarf Fortress but can’t fathom the complexity and depth of the game. Stonehearth is a similar game to DF wherein you, the player, must guide your little proxy people – called Hearthlings – to develop their little civilization. You do this by telling them where to build their homes, their farms, their pastures, where to harvest, where to stockpile, what furniture to build, etc. Besides telling the hearthlings what to do – or rather, giving them tasks and hoping they’ll perform them in a timely manner – you can also assign them with jobs like tailor, farmer, and soldier to meet more specialized needs. By meeting certain criteria set by the game, new hearthlings will move into your settlement…but it’s a slow process, so balancing out the population and their marketable skills is paramount to your success.

Stonehearth is already an entertaining experience and it’s only getting better with new jobs and tweaks to performance and mechanics with every update. If you like the idea of Dwarf Fortress but can’t fathom its incomprehensible depth and complexity, Stonehearth is a great alternative.

You can check out Stonehearth’s website here. It’s currently available on Steam Early Access or on the website store. Check out the trailer below.

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