Video game RPGs owe much of their DNA from the classic tabletop RPG. Despite Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition catapulting the tabletop RPG into mainstream popularity, there’s been a stark lack of officially licensed D&D video games in recent years. Indie studio Tactical Adventures hopes to change that with Solasta: Crown of the Magister.
“We’ve been a big fan of tabletop RPGs for 30 years,” says Mathieu Girard, CEO and creative director at Tactical Adventures. “We have a D&D campaign running every week – currently playing Descent Into Avernus. Making a D&D RPG is a passion project for us.”
It took Danny Ocean and ten other highly trained thieves, hackers and con artists to break into Las Vegas casino vaults in Ocean’s 11, but designer Tim Fowers is confident we can get it done with just two to four players in Burgle Bros. 2: The Casino Capers, the co-op board game sequel releasing later this year.
The original Burgle Bros. released in 2015, and has become publisher Fowers Games’ best-selling title. Players chose from among a team of professionals such as The Acrobat, The Spotter and The Hawk and took turns moving through grid floors made up of room tiles, sneaking past patrolling guards and avoiding motion sensors. Teamwork was key when searching for safe combinations, looting goods and escaping via the fourth-floor rooftop.
Desolation? Check. Old Gods? Check. ‘Souls’ literally in the title? Check. Eldest Souls isn’t shy about its influences. It’s a pixelated souls-like with nothing but large-scale boss battles. I play a cloaked figure called the Crusader who carries a sword so comically oversized it would make Cloud Strife blush. The world has gone to absolute hell, and it’s up to him and his sword to kick every Old God’s ass up and down the Ancient Citadel.
At least that’s the plan. In reality I get my butt handed to me again and again by the very first enemy. The Watchdog is at least three times my size with a canine face, a jagged sword, and a ribcage shield, and it murdered me in a matter of seconds. The Watchdog leaps, slashes, and charges with frustratingly quick reflexes, every hit shaving off a third to half my health.
The rogue-like genre has absolutely exploded in the last several years thanks to indie developers. FTL. Rogue Legacy. Spelunky. Risk of Rain. Binding of Isaac. Darkest Dungeon. The Flame in the Flood. It’s becoming a well-worn genre that demands more of each new game.
Streets of Rogue, now out on Steam Early Access, distills many of the most successful elements of the games before it with free-form, procedurally generated level designs that promote creative mayhem. And you can do it with friends.
The developers of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 are looking to continue their successful formula with their latest park management simulation, Planet Coaster.
One of the most beloved series to emerge from the popular Tycoon/Sim genre was RollerCoaster Tycoon. Pitting you in charge of your own budding amusement park, the series enjoyed several expansion packs and a passionate fan base. Later the games transitioned into 3D with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and even later onto consoles with the spiritual successor Thrillville.
Now the same developer is looking to continue their successful formula with their latest park management simulation, Planet Coaster.
“Planet Coaster is a game we’ve wanted to make for a long time,” says Jonny Watts, Chief Creative Officer for Frontier Developments. “But it’s only now as a self-publishing studio we’re able to make the game we had envisioned.”
For fans of RollerCoaster Tycoon, you’re in luck. After trying the Alpha version, Planet Coaster plays much like a natural evolution of those great theme park classics. You’re given a large, empty plot of land. From there you can construct pathways, shops, buildings, scenery, rides, and of course elaborate roller coaster designs.
LEGO Worlds expertly captures the feel of playing and building with LEGO bricks with the addictive open-ended exploration and building of Minecraft.
The biggest and most obvious inspiration for Minecraft is LEGO. Those venerable little stacking bricks rose from humble Danish beginnings to become one of the most popular toys in the world. Over the last decade, the brand has successfully expanded into video games using its incredibly lucrative licensing deals, making games of popular franchises like Star Wars and Batman. The focus on kid-friendly, cooperative gaming has made these games hugely popular for families.
Now we have finally come full circle, as LEGO returns to its block-building roots by lifting core gameplay from Minecraft. LEGO Worlds was recently released in Early Access on Steam, meaning the game is still in active development, but can be purchased and played right now. Despite a current lack of major features like multiplayer, LEGO Worlds expertly captures the feel of playing and building with LEGO bricks with the addictive open-ended exploration and building of Minecraft.