Dear Villagers is finding quality in simplicity. With a new lineup that focuses on the fundamentals of game development, the publisher aims to bring a variety of titles to all level of players. Metroidvanias, JRPG and survival management games fill the upcoming roster with a commitment to intuitive controls and story driven experiences. Dear Villagers’ criteria is to seek out developers focusing on creating titles that anyone can enjoy and that veteran players will find challenging. While developing these titles, it was important to make sure that casual players could stop whenever they wanted and still get a full experience out of the game. This shines through in many of Dear Villagers’ upcoming titles through easy-to-learn, but difficult to master titles. Looking for narrative-driven games that aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, and instead seek to elevate classic gameplay, produces memorable titles. Dear Villagers was gracious enough to allow us to preview some of their hot upcoming titles coming out within the next year. First impressions are promising and leave us anticipating more for the future.
If Tron and Metroidvania mixed together, Recompile would be their bouncing baby brain-child. From developer Phigames comes an open-ended title that expands on Metroidvania progression mechanics. Instead of being confined to side-scrolling and limited acrobatics, Recompile has players exploring a digital landscape where they must hack and fight their way to survival. Players take on the role of an AI program that must decide to either help or hinder the creatures that live in the mainframe. By utilizing four core mechanics, Recompile is looking to put a new twist on the Metroidvania style. Traversal is the first major mechanical component that allows for free roam across the mainframe once players discover the various abilities for getting around. One such ability is a bounce that allows for infinite travel across the cavernous space. Utilizing logic to solve puzzles grants access to these traversal skills which then allows for more combat options later on. Yet you’re not confined to the platforms you begin upon. From bouncing, to eventually flying, any platforms seen off in the distance can be traveled to. It becomes a fast-paced platformer that lends itself to the way it’s play. By hacking and destroying enemies, players are able to influence the narrative dependent on play style. Recompile‘s low poly style and gorgeous soundscapes help give the title a unique flavor that stands out from the Metroidvania crowd. What was most impressive, however, was the incredibly intuitive controls. While I do have vast gaming experience already, Recompile felt natural to play and became a fast-paced adventure through the mainframe. Having open-ended traversal options is a rare mechanic that should be incorporated more often. Instead of limiting players’ abilities, Recompile opens up different avenues of play through creativity. We won’t see Recompile until 2020, but it’s a title that has a clear direction and promises quality gameplay.
Keeping with the Metroidvania theme, Flying Oak Games brings us ScourgeBringer — a fast-paced, free-moving, rogue-lite platformer with hardcore sci-fi flavor. It follows the story of Kyhra as she seeks answers to her past. Super fast-paced combat adds to the game’s identity as players are completely equipped with the skills needed to defeat enemies. ScourgeBringer starts players off at max skill and pits them against challenging foes. It’s a title that cuts out all the navigation required to unlock new abilities and instead just gives players free roam to play how they like. What stands out the most about ScourgeBringer are its fluid controls and quick combat. Wall jumping, dashing and slashing are enjoyable mechanics that just feel natural. I was able to make quick work of enemies looking to surround me. Yet the deeper progressed, the more challenging the title becomes. Rogue-lite elements ensure that dungeons change every time, with mysteries and alternate routes that tell the stories of previous explorers. Gorgeous visuals and an adaptive soundtrack allow ScourgeBringer to breakout of the genre and create a lasting impression for all levels of play. While the title still has no hard release date, it’s an experience worth looking out for.
Dear Villagers shows us that variety is the spice of life as Edge of Eternity switches gears to showcase an ambitious JRPG. Having been released for Early Access in December 2018, Edge of Eternity updates with new story content and patches. A huge, gorgeous world awaits fans of turn-based strategy systems in an epic narrative rivaling major JRPGs. A war-torn world struggling over magical power and a plague which corrupts the soul have our protagonists searching for a cure. Players can explore the open environment, make lasting choices in their gameplay and craft gear with endless possibilities. The battle systems is influenced greatly by turn-based JRPG titans like Final Fantasy, where players must utilize their team’s loadout and environmental effects to win battles. Fans of gaming music will also hear a familiar composer in the soundtrack, as the legendary Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, Xenogears) will provide his musical genius to the score. Despite being a smaller development project, Edge of Eternity is aiming to provide quality content in both gameplay and aesthetics.
Dead in Vinland adds an extra dose of variety to Dear Villagers line-up by providing players with a survival management game with RPG elements. Players take the role of various members of a Viking family attempting to survive on a mysterious island. Players must be careful to manage physical and mental health, along with provisions and protection. The title challenges players to not only survive, but to settle down and build a lasting civilization. Deep strategy mechanics are at play as players make their own way through the story and complete up to 70 non-linear quests. An animosity and tribute system create deeper game mechanics as how you choose to interact with others will have permanent consequences. While Dead in Vinland has been out on PC for awhile, the title has recently added a third and final DLC with new endings, bonuses and story content. It’s a game that seeks to challenge advanced players while still providing accessibility to all. Dear Villagers is now gearing up for the title to make an appearance on Nintendo Switch in Q2 2019.
Each of Dear Villagers’ upcoming titles focus on the basic fundamentals of gaming by providing accessible, intuitive controls and deep narrative experiences. These are all genres of games that have cemented themselves in the gaming industry and Dear Villagers is looking to the basics in order to create memorable content. Nothing about these games is overly complicated or different than titles we’re familiar with, but tweaking some core mechanics within them opens up unique development possibilities. Recompile and ScourgeBringer take the Metroidvania style and add more creativity to the gameplay to create unique experiences. At the core, it’s a simple tweak to open up traversal and combat options, but it makes a huge difference in the way these titles play. Dead in Vinland and Edge of Eternity are mixing RPG elements with more creativity as well by creating lasting consequences to actions. Each of these titles focuses on accessibility to all and mastery to those seeking a greater challenge. Dear Villagers’ commitment to lovingly-developed indie games shines through as they set their sights on publishing quality games.