Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Apr 102024

The other day, I was browsing Twitter when I saw a tweet about an upcoming 3D indie RPG called Runa.

I see games being advertised all the time, but this one struck me because of how beautiful it was, so I decided to take a closer look.

Runa is a turn-based RPG inspired by JRPGs. According to its Steam page, it will feature social links with over 15 romance options, elemental puzzles, base building, and mini-games (of which they specifically mention farming, fishing, and cooking).

The page also lists a weather system, a day/night cycle, a calendar system, and dialogue choices, although despite the dialogue choices, the main character is a full character in his own right rather than a silent protagonist.

I don’t back as many video game Kickstarters as I used to (mainly due to the oppressive shadow of my backlog), but this is one I don’t want to miss. The Kickstarter campaign will launch on April 16, and I’ll definitely be checking it out. It looks pretty ambitious, so I hope the team can back that up.

What do you think of Runa?

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Aug 262022

I keep hoping for a new Wild Arms announcement. I keep hoping for a Shadow Hearts revival, too.

But in the absence of those two things, spiritual successors have been announced.

Yes, one for each.

WILD BUNCH Productions, founded by Wild Arms creators, has announced Armed Fantasia: To the Ends of the Wilderness, a large-scale JRPG inspired by Wild Arms.

At the same time, YUKIKAZE, founded by Shadow Hearts creators, has announced gothic horror JRPG Penny Blood, inspired by Shadow Hearts.

The two will hold a joint Kickstarter for these games, with a combined funding goal of $750,000 for PC releases. The campaign will begin on August 29.

Overviews of the two games, along with information about how the joint Kickstarter will work, are detailed here by Gematsu. An interview with the two development teams also sheds further light on them.

What stands out to me the most is that these two games are fully embracing their inspirations. Armed Fantasia looks like Wild Arms, and Penny Blood looks like Shadow Hearts.

(According to the interview, the Armed Fantasia characters being called Pathfinders is even just a different translation of the same Japanese word that was translated as Drifters in Wild Arms.)

Armed Fantasia is aiming to have a “gigantic” world map, with the aim being a world map “so big that there isn’t a word to express how big it is.” That makes me a little nervous, both because this is a crowdfunded project and because having your goal just be to have the biggest map possible doesn’t feel to me like the best priority. However, it also sounds like there’s a chance that it’ll be a traditional JRPG world map, which would make me very happy.

Moving on to Penny Blood, while it looks like a Shadow Hearts successor through and through (it’s not visible in any of the screenshots, but the interview describes a “Psycho Sigil” that sounds like the new version of the Judgement Ring), it stands out from its predecessors by involving murder investigations. According to the interview, sub-quests will feature “fingerprinting, voiceprint profiling, mental profiling such as Rorschach tests, and other pioneering methods of criminal profiling.”

One concern I had initially is that the funding goal seems low for this sort of project, but it sounds like the Kickstarter is intended to be used to demonstrate interest and get a publisher on board. With as ambitious as these games look, I hope they succeed.

So a Wild Arms spiritual successor and a Shadow Hearts spiritual successor that’s also a detective game; I haven’t been this excited for a Kickstarter in quite a while! Check out the articles I linked above to learn more about the games, and then join me in waiting for the Armed Fantasia and Penny Blood Kickstarter campaign to go live!

What are your thoughts on Armed Fantasia and Penny Blood?

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Apr 042022

Last week we talked about Nine Sols, the upcoming Taopunk action platformer from Red Candle Games, and how a demo was supposed to come out.

Well, the demo is out now on Steam, so I tried it out over the weekend.

I was surprised by how quickly I became interested in its story and characters. The demo seems to be the start of the game, with Yi living alongside a human child before a sinister ceremony causes him to embark on his mission.

Combat has a few different elements that took a bit of getting used to, but once I practiced with it, I liked it. In addition to your basic attack, you can deflect enemy attacks to build up energy and then unleash it in a special attack.

That attack is much more effective than simply hacking at enemies, which led to a rhythm of deflecting strikes and then attacking.

There are certain spots where you can rest, restoring your health and healing items and acting as a checkpoint. It doesn’t seem as though you’ll level up stats in that way, though. Instead, there are unlockable nodes on a skill tree to provide you with upgrades and benefits.

The demo lasts up through the first boss fight, but a second, more challenging boss is also accessible from the main menu afterwards.

I enjoyed the Nine Sols demo a lot, so I’m looking forward to the main game. The only concern I have is that combat could start to feel repetitive (especially long boss fights), but overall I liked what I saw in the demo and am interested in how it will progress.

I’ll probably back the Nine Sols crowdfunding campaign now, so be sure to take a look at the Nine Sols demo to see what you think.

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