I don’t have much free time currently, so I’ll be brief this time and only write about games I think I’ll find interesting. Which means mostly isometric, mostly turn-based, and no JRPGs.
Release dates are from RPGWatch list of upcoming release. They are often based on rumors and other unreliable information and might not be updated timely.
A notorious absence (that’s still not fixed in the list) is Baldur’s Gate 3. I think this is a game most of WRPG fans were looking to this year, but it was delayed again and will only come out in 2023. Avowed is also on the list as a November release, but I think that’s also not true (but I’m not interested in it anyway).
Queen’s Wish 2: The Tormentor (2022-09-01)
I’m a big fan of Spiderweb Software. Jeff Vogel’s games tickle me right. So even if the first Queen’s Wish was the worst game from this developer, I’m still looking forward to playing the sequel. If you’re not familiar with this studio’s output, expect extremely dated, but serviceable graphics (top-down in this case), “blank slate” characters without any backstory or (story-wise) development, interesting politics and factions, hard tactical combats. I really hope Jeff would change combat a bit in this game, though – the first one had too many enemies with stunning abilities.
Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game (2022-12-01)
I don’t know where release date for this one came from, and I’m not sure it will be shipped this year, but it’s one of the games I look forward to, and so should you. Because Age of Decadence, the first game from Iron Tower, was really interesting, if somewhat crippled by extremely outdated engine and lack of experience in UI/UX design. Expect multiple paths to solve every quest and very, very hard combats.
Broken Roads (2022-03-01)
Release date seems to be clearly wrong, but there is a chance it will come out this year, I think. The game offers yet another post-apocalyptic scenario, and from the screenshots I’m tempted to relegate it to the pile of Fallout clones, even though the visual style is somewhat different. Unique Selling Point seems to be the “moral compass” system that is based on different philosophies instead of usual Good/Bad/Lawful/Chaotic axes, but I’m not sure if it will help the game be unique, in the end – I think we already had some games attempt something like that, and in the end it still comes down to the same choices with same consequences. Still, I will definitely be checking this one out – it’s not like it have a lot of competition for my attention.
This one looks really strange. I think it’s actually a heavily disguised dungeon blobber with turn-based combat, but I might be wrong – the gameplay video isn’t very clear. I have a suspicion that it might be too JRPG-like for my taste, but at least the visuals are more interesting that the usual wide-eyed teenagers, and there aren’t that many RPGs coming out this year to skip this one.
Cyber Knights: Flashpoint (2022-06-01)
Terse Brothers seem to be an almost-unknown name in desktop gaming, but in mobile world they’re known for quality (well, this is not hard, considering how most mobile RPGs are lightly-disguised gambling machines). The few games of theirs I played all provided robust, interesting combat systems, tolerable, but mostly irrelevant plot, and way, way too many hours of play (Heroes of Steel is the worst offender; that game ran out of new ideas some time around 60 hours, but at 120 hours in, I think I was barely past the middle of the plot, which wasn’t very interesting, so I dropped it).
I actually played the previous entry in Cyber Knights series on mobile, and it was OK, though not very good by desktop standards. I hope they can make this one better.
Sacred Fire: A Role Playing Game (2022-11-30)
OK, this is probably the most intriguing release of the year. All the rest games I wrote about above are “old school” in one sense or another, but here the developers seems to be trying for something different. They describe their title as a “psychological role-playing game”, but I’m not sure what it means. Something like Disco Elysium, where you could develop your psyche in different ways? What I’m afraid of is that we’re getting a thinly disguised Choose Your Own Adventure game with some dice rolls (maybe), but we’ll see. I heard some good things about this game, so I hope I’m wrong, and this is something really new and interesting. Anyway, I love their visuals.
Honorable mention: Archaelund (2023). I think I haven’t seen a “first person exploration/isometric combat” since Betrayal at Krondor (or Betrayal at Antara, if we’re generous). I kind of like this idea: first-person view leads to deeper immersion in the game world, but I absolutely hate first-person combat, so a switchable game modes sound like a win-win idea to me, but we’ll see if they can pull it off. I wish Kingdom Come: Deliverance had turn-based isometric combat…
Marvel’s Midnight Suns (2022-03-11)
I might be the only geek in the world who dislikes super-hero comics and games, but this one still draws my attention. I still have no love for Marvel Universe with its endless reboots and convoluted history, but the idea of playing super-heroes in an X-Com like game sounds like something that might actually work. Especially since it’s being done by the only company that really knows how to make a good X-Com clone (nobody else succeeded in all these years). It’s a pity it’s not based on “Worm” instead of Marvel’s universe, though.
Shadow of the Road (2022-03-08)
An X-Com-like from a company that never made a turn-based game? Well, who knows, it might work. Anyway, this one is Japanese steampunk-themed, which makes it somewhat unique. And it doesn’t look like a JRPG, with corresponding stats inflation and grinding (Troublesooter: Abandoned Children disappointed me like that last year).
Urban Strife (2022-06-15)
Looks like Jagged Alliance clone, maybe, instead of X-Com clone? It reminds me a lot of the Dead State – another tactics/RPG in zombie apocalypse. That game was kind of OK, but very indie. This one seems to have higher production values, but we’ll have to see if they can actually make combat good enough!
Project Haven (2022-10-01)
Voted to be “Most likely to get bogged down by details” by me. “Magazine management, chambered bullets, and different types of ammo for different situations. Calibers and ammunition types affect how far and how well projectiles penetrate and damage the target.”? Could this really be fun for anyone, but a few gun nuts out there? Well, maybe. Or maybe all that details would still end up as “to hit” percentage and you will constantly use only one or two ammo types. Still, props to the developers for trying something a bit different. The game also claims to have Free Aim, which reminds me that I still have to play Phoenix Point and check out this mechanics for myself.