And here we are with the last part of this weeklong look at RPGs for 2019. It’s been a wild ride through steampunk, mutant worlds, cyberpunk dystopia, and a lot of high fantasy and soul crushing, grimdark settings. Plenty of loot out there for RPG fans in the coming months.
Beast Agenda 2030
Release date: 2019
Developer: Ouch Giver Games
Demo: Early Alpha Demo
Apparently someone out there forgot to save the world and in 2018, “the Watchers surfaced” bringing with them knowledge and the promise of a peaceful world government. They were our ancient, alien creators, so they said, but the truth is that they had more in common with the Lovecraftian Mythos than happy cupcakes.
Everyone that accepted their rule were branded with “the Mark” while those that opposed their authority were sent in exile to the island of Fleece to live isolated from the rest of the world. By 2030, the Watchers’ grasp on the world is all but complete and time is running out for Fleece.
A Cthulhu-esque game where Cthulhu’s spawn win is already not in the usual bag of premises, but Beast Agenda’s mix of Mythos-headed policemen using horrors to patrol the streets like it was just another Sunday stroll and stealth-focused gameplay seems like a great combo. I tried out the Alpha demo which offered up a nice taste of the direction that the game was heading in.
In it, I got to hack a car to run over a squid-headed policeman, find survivors in a town patrolled by Mythos authority, and eventually make it to a retro-arcade equipped HQ for the Resistance. The mechanics seemed sound — especially the hacking — and the combination of 8-bit styled aesthetics and “old school” tech in the game made for a neat experience.
Beast Agenda is slated for sometime in 2019…hopefully before the Watchers awake.
The Hand of Merlin
Release date: Q4 2019
Developer: Room C Games, Croteam Incubator
This rogue-lite RPG seems to place you in the shoes of Merlin as a stalwart defender of the multiverse against an unspeakable, cosmic horror. In this game, you’ll recruit four heroes and attempt to journey from Albion to Jerusalem in the face of impending doom. With their help, you’ll search for fragments of your soul and they, in turn, may journey to alternate worlds as they continue on their journey forward into the unknown.
This adventure promises RPG staples ranging from a plethora of equipment, leveling up heroes and their skills, to upgrading their gear and tackling quests for powerful relics. Players will be able to explore the wilderness in each area, seek out towns for supplies, and unlock spells to help you defend them against the dangers of the world.
One interesting twist is that no two worlds are exactly alike with the potential for even the rulers to be different, making each playthrough unique. Even death isn’t the end — your spirit will leap to the next world with your knowledge intact, ready to begin the legend again.
Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master
Release date: 2019
Developer: Goblinz Studio
As a new hire of the Company of Dungeon, it’s your job to protect their dungeons from all sorts of do-gooders in this take on the formula made popular by games like Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper. Instead of being the adventurers taking on a dungeon, you’re the dungeon master ensuring that they never come back alive.
Just like other “dungeon defender” games, this one will have you manage employees (monsters) and provide them with job enhancing tools (traps) to defend your dungeon with. In the game, the management phase includes setting up traps and placing monsters along the path of our adventurers. And when the time comes for combat, it’s as turn-based fight to the finish.
It’s always neat to see a new dungeon defender game that wants to put its own unique footprint on the genre and Legend of Keepers looks like it could do just that. After all, the job market for slaying foolish adventurers always seems to be looking for more talent.
Release date: 2019
Developer: Rhino Games
This one might not be an RPG in the sense that the other games this week have been — you don’t have a party of adventurers, there don’t seem to be statistics to upgrade or levels to earn. There doesn’t even seem to be gear to equip. But what it does have is a lot of lore, a role that you are playing in this gothic thriller, and an open world to explore as you plumb the secrets of the Forgotten Kingdom.
The game suggests that multiple playthroughs will be needed to unravel all of the secrets that are buried within its pages spread across the stories of three heroes. In addition to the writing, the medieval art style helps to really set this thriller apart from other games. It will be interesting to see how the final game turns out and just what kind of secrets lay in wait for prospective adventurers.
Release date: March 26
Developer: Nine Dots
Outward’s a survival RPG where you’re just an ordinary adventurer without any sort of special, gods-given destiny. Outward’s world is an open world filled with danger and all of the ingredients to help you survive. You don’t just cast spells in Outward — you actually can’t until you sacrifice a portion of your health at a ley line to even get an idea of how, and then there’s the prep work that you need to do for each spell involving ingredients, ritual symbols, and all of the stuff that other RPGs kind of shortcut around by making you just toss magic like playing cards.
That’s pretty much the premise from what I’ve been able to gather. Outward’s world is yours to explore with its own secrets and dangers, but you’re no godling. You might not even become one by the time your adventure “ends”, only the satisfaction of having survived may be the only reward. You can even play cooperatively with a friend to tackle the challenges here, but it’s pretty clear that Outward’s mix of fantasy adventure and survival sim intends to make this experience an occasionally brutal one. It even boasts aggressive auto-saving to ensure that your actions in the game are yours to bear.
For example, even food might have an effect on you. If you’re a mage, eating a hunk of red meat right before a battle might not be a good idea unless you were a warrior. Weapons also have to be maintained and can be varnished with bonuses that must be bought or readied, rest is likely going to play a role preventing would-be adventurers from going 24/7, and even your inventory will be playing a role. Carrying that torch and a heavy backpack can make you a very easy target for beasties.
For players looking for that added ‘realism’ in fantasy adventuring, Outward might just be the kind of world they may want to jump into. Just hope your adventurer doesn’t break their leg on the landing and starve to death.
Plague in us
Release date: Q4 2019
Developer: Forever Entertainment S. A.
Imagine if something like the Black Plague was sentient and motivated, a living thing that ravaged lands because it could. Now imagine that it has followers, creatures twisted by what it brings, destroying cities and laying waste to all that cross it. And now it’s talking to you because now you’ve become a part of it in order to seek your revenge.
Plague in us’ art style also borrows from medieval sketches, and then updates them with fleshier colors, morbid strokes, and a hauntingly horrifying twist for this turn-based RPG. I’m still not exactly sure what the Plague is in this game, or why the protagonist has decided to submit to it, but from its Steam description, it sounds like what the Plague can do to others it can reverse…and that might be all the reason a desperate person might need to strike a deal with it. Whatever it is.