Little Indie Games Worth Knowing About (Probably)

The Iron Oath by Curious Panda Games looks interesting. Another open world, turn-based tactical RPG mercenary game perhaps for the rest of us that rage quit Battle Brothers too many times. Your band ages over time and retire if you don’t get them killed. It has a demo.

Looks pretty, I watched a bit of Splattercat playing. One thing that seems strange, you can kick an enemy so they fall into a chasm but the enemy immediately reappears though somewhat damaged. Wondered what is the point of that?

Releases Spring 2022.

Rob at eXplorminate seems quite taken with what the demo offers.

I decided to give The Iron Oath demo a try. Hmmm, what name should I give my company of mercs?

He is not my type, but I am not a merc.

Diplomacy is not an Option is in early access and looks promising. Castle builder, tower defense with a low poly luster. Hold off waves of angry peasants with their dirty rakes, or join the rebellion and throw off the yoke of oppression.

DasTactic quite enjoys it.

When did demos become a thing again?

In any case, I am very happy they’re back.

Steam Next Fest, I think, is what brought them thundering back.

While I think it’s a nice development, personally I don’t find it terribly useful having access to a demo for games still in EA.

Yeah, which I think itself really comes from the value that’s emerged in wishlisting games on Steam. You notice how hard every dev pushes wishlisting. It’s because without it, you can hear about a game and then completely forget about it by the time it launches or by the time it goes on sale on Steam. Demos make a lot of sense in a wishlisting ecosystem.

As someone who’s helping a dev bring his game to Steam, I can totally get behind the value of wishlists. It’s a real indicator of interest.

I think having a demo maybe cheaper for a small company than having gamers buy it only to use Steam return policy. The return policy basically made everything a demo. I would think there is some cost when a game gets returned.

Oh, I hadn’t thought of the possible influence of returns. How many players actually return Steam games, though? I’d be curious to see numbers. Probably I will underestimate it because it’s not a thing I’ve ever done.

This does raise an important point, though, that demos in themselves aren’t cheap to make–especially for small teams. It seems like it should be easy, and in some particular games it might be relatively easy. But sectioning off a demo portion of a game, not sharing content files that might give away full-game features or story, and testing it to make sure it works as expected… these things take a surprising amount of time. Now that demos are becoming really common marketing tools again, I expect we’ll have something similar to the classic “E3-demo delay” scenario games had in the early 00s, where having to show something cool off at E3 would derail projects for months.

I’ve returned probably a half dozen or so games - around one per year.

A Mage Knight knockoff from a small team. Looks pretty solid, plus there’s a demo.

Best of all, it’s NOT Early Access!

Looks like a digitised version of Mage Knight, which merits closer inspection!

I’ve never played Mage Knight, but that seems to be the consensus. I want to spend more time with the demo before pulling the trigger, but if I do get it I’ll probably be starting a separate thread.

Looks VERY interesting!

They also have some tutorial videos. The one for game configuration:

Those videos are excellent, as they are of the developer playing the different tutorial scenarios, and he explains what to do far more clearly than the tutorials themselves.

I’m 99% sold at this point. I’ll probably grab it today.

I’ll be anxious to hear your impressions. I too have never played Mage Knight, so I cannot fall back on that.

May I ask what Mage Knight is, beyond a name in a whole category of Tom’s frontpage articles?

Edit: Oh there is a demo, nevermind, gonna learn by trial!

Mage Kight is also of boardgame fame, before it was digitised.