Hello all! This is Mike, your resident Geekomancer. Thanks to my novel contracts, my free time to *be* a geek has been lessened. I’ve had to make some tough leisure time choices, and more often than not, video games lose out, since it’s easier for me to sit back and absorb some narrative via TV and film.
My friend Gregory A. Wilson has figured out a great way to have his cake and eat it too. He broadcasts his video gaming on Twitch TV, a broadcasting system. Through his stream, I’ve discovered a number of great video games that I desperately want to play, but haven’t made time. And all of this in a Golden Age of independent video game design.
Therefore, I’m going to sublimate some of my yearning into this blog, and do my best to add to Skiffy & Fanty readers’ T0-Be-Played pile:
Paper Sorcerer is exciting for several reasons; chief of all is that it is the result of the singular vision of Jesse Cox. It was funded via Kickstarter, which has helped produce a number of promising video games (you’ve played Shadowrun Returns, right? It’s excellent).
You play a sorcerer who wakes up in a locked room, with a talking mouse. As you can see in the picture above, the entire art style is in paper — very reminiscent of the original Dungeons & Dragons art style.
As the game unfolds, you, the player and main character, discover that you are a sorcerer who has been trapped within a magical prison. You recruit/summon monsters and minions, who help you fight your way to freedom.
Paper Sorcerer has the feel of an older style 1st-person RPG, with a cool initial concept, streamlined gameplay, and an incredibly distinctive art style. I’ve only watched a couple of hours worth of play and hope that I will be able to step into the role of the Paper Sorcerer myself.
Paper Sorcerer is available for just $5 right now, and it seems like it’d be a deal at twice the price.
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga has three times the development team that Paper Sorcerer did. That is, there were three designers: Alex Thomas, Arnie Jorgensen and John Watson, who comprise Stoic. The game’s music was composed by Austin Wintory, who was the composer for Journey, Monaco, and others.
The Banner Saga is a Norse-inspired epic fantasy. The setting’s Epic Evil (the Dredge) has been defeated, and now humans and the giant-esque Varl have turned to infighting. Tragedy strikes and the Dredge returns, and the game follows a harried group as they fight across the landscape for survival and to carve out a future for their people.
The game includes Final Fantasy Tactics-esque turned-based strategy as a tactical layer within a broader RPG frame. The art style is animated, with the Norse influence applying to the visuals as well, with enough elements of the fantastical to not *just* be Norse — I see shades of Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli) and the Rankin-Bass art style in The Banner Saga, as well.
The Banner Saga is the first of a projected trilogy. The game is available for $25, and there is also a free-to-play multiplayer version called The Banner Saga: Tactics.
Go forth and play! Then you can taunt me about how much fun these games are.
What other video games are you excited for but haven’t gotten to play?