Steampunk Games: Winter 2019/2020
Our quarterly games roundup, including new releases, forthcoming releases, and updates
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Game news compiled from Steampunk Digest. In this edition: Stardust Odyssey; Jamestown +; Aima Wars: Steampunk & Orcs; Fallen London anniversary; Maze Machina; Iron Danger; Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~; Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~; and Steam & Cinder.
Agharta Studio has released Stardust Odyssey, a virtual reality adventure game set in outer space, but with allusions to the Silk Road and nomadic tribes of the past. Players aboard spaceborne Ethercrafts attempt to infiltrate convoys of nomadic merchant ships. Along the way, they seek to upgrade their ships and search for “mysterious hidden Relics and powerful Runes.”
Designed exclusively for the Playstation VR system, it can be played solo or in an online co-op mode with another player.
“Playing Stardust Odyssey is like trying to navigate a dream you had as a child after reading a Neil Gaiman graphic novel,” writes Eric Hauter in a largely positive review for PlayStation Universe. “The feeling of Stardust’s universe is a mixture of fantasy and science fiction, with just enough dreamy surrealism thrown in to keep it all feeling like the player is existing in an original illustration from a long-lost Jules Verne/H.G. Wells collaboration.”
Mark Delaney of Upload VR had a mixed reaction. “With a lackluster story, an obstructive UI experience, and a niche concept, Stardust Odyssey isn’t this holiday’s killer app, but it remains something of a standout for VR deep-divers due to a first-of-its-kind setting and solid movement controls,” he writes.
See the developer’s website for more info.
Final Form Games has released Windows and Nintendo Switch versions of Jamestown +, its cooperative arcade-style shooter game set on a 17th century British Colonial Mars. Also available for the PS4, it’s been updated with new ships, new levels, a remastered soundtrack, and a new chapter of the underlying story. It’s designed for one to four players. Also known as Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, it’s garnered generally positive reviews for the original PS4 version.
DiP Online, an independent developer from Russia, has released Aima Wars: Steampunk & Orcs, a massively multiplayer strategy game featuring airship battles between the Empire of Men and the Orc Union. It’s set in a world with three major islands, and players contend to capture each island’s Bastion to get access to resources. It’s available in English and Russian versions.
So far, it’s drawn mixed reviews (in Russian and English). One complaint is that it requires in-app purchases to earn currency, even though the game isn’t free. Aima Wars is available on the Steam platform for Windows PCs.
Failbetter Games is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fallen London, its free browser-based narrative game set in an alternate-world Victorian London. In honor of the event, the developer will conclude its long-running Ambitions stories, “Nemesis,” “Bag a Legend,” “Light Fingers,” and “Heart’s Desire.” Each concluding installment will be in three parts. Players can also enter the “Memories of Fallen London” competition, in which they submit recollections of their past game activities in categories such as “Worst Idea of the Decade,” “Most Characterful Affectation,” and “Co-Operative Play of the Decade.”
Since its commercial launch in 2010, the game has grown to 2.5 million words contributed by more than 30 writers, the developer says. That’s more than the combined lengths of The Brothers Karamazov, Gone with the Wind, The Lord of the Rings, War and Peace, A Suitable Boy, Middlemarch and East of Eden. It later led to spinoffs including Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies. See the Failbetter website for more info.
Game designer Arnold Rauers has released Maze Machina, a steampunk-themed puzzle game for mobile devices. Players navigate a mechanical labyrinth controlled by an evil robot dubbed Automatron. Along the way, they must deploy a variety of tools and tricks to overcome Automatron’s robotic henchmen. It’s available in versions for iOS and Android devices. See the website for more info.
Daedalic Entertainment and Action Squad Studios are planning a March 25 release for Iron Danger, a tactical combat video game. It’s set in a war-torn world they describe as a “fusion of Nordic mythology, steampunk, and tech noir. In order to save the city of Kalevala, you’ll have to find new companions, upgrade their abilities and understand that the river of time does not simply flow in one direction.”
Aksys Games has released a Nintendo Switch version of Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~, an interactive fiction game set in a 19th century steampunk London. It tells the story of Cardia, who is afflicted with poisonous blood and pursued by the Royal Guard. She teams up with characters from Western literature and “ventures out in the world to unravel the mysteries surrounding her very existence.” It’s available in a US $39.99 standard edition as well as a US $59.99 Collector’s Edition with a 60-page art book and soundtrack CD. The game was previously released for the PlayStation 4.
The publisher also plans an April Nintendo Switch release for Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~, a sequel to Guardian of Rebirth. See the website for more info.
Video game publisher Sold Out used the Pax East convention in Boston to offer demos of Gestalt: Steam & Cinder, a 2D combat game set in a steampunk world known as Canaan. Players are invited to “unravel centuries-old conspiracies, battle hosts of monstrous automata and thwart the twisted schemes of the city’s corrupt overseers, the Comitium, as you fight for mankind’s survival and discover the dark truth of the Steam City’s origin.”
The game is set for release later this year for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation4, Xbox One family, and the Steam platform for PCs. See the website for more info.