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Indie Corner Episode 21: A Busy Month
Back with a new episode of The Indie Corner! I review Roadwarden, Gloomwood and Absolute Tactics: Daughter's of Mercy today, three promising indie games!
By TheThousandScar Posted in Gaming, Indie Games, PC, Reviews on September 30, 2022 0 Comments 13 min read
Changing Order: A Poem About Liyue from Genshin Impact Previous Gamedev Interview: Francis Clark (Ctrl Alt Ego) Next

Episode 20 was a special occasion, and I’m blown away by the feedback and responses I’ve received from people. I love showcasing games I’ve played, though I’ve been focusing the series on indie titles released this year. It’s a perfect series to show off how strong the indie gaming industry has been in 2022.

I haven’t got much of an introduction for this week’s episode, but I have two impression reviews to share today. I wanted to cover more, but with plenty of things happening, I was forced to make some difficult decisions. I’ll discuss that a bit more later, but some exciting things are going on right now, and I can’t wait to show more!


I had the opportunity to interview the dev behind this game, which you can read here:

Roadwarden combines the RPG and visual novel ingredients to form a delicious sandwich. Now I’ve worked up an appetite.

I’ve played a lot of games this year. What else is new, right? I know one thing from playing Roadwarden. It’s almost guaranteed to be in my Top 10 this year. Any fan of strong worldbuilding and lore needs to try this one because the developer has done a splendid job. It almost reminds me of Disco Elysium, without the heavy drugs and communism. People should go play that game as well.

The closest thing Roadwarden reminds me of is Vagrus the Riven Realms, another excellent visual novel/survival game from last year. Vagrus made my Top 10 in 2021, although the insane difficulty and rough combat system make it difficult to recommend for everyone. Roadwarden is more approachable.

The worldbuilding in Roadwarden is fantastic. It feels like a fantasy novel. A good one! (A map of a starting town)

Roadwarden starts its journey in a twisted, broken fantasy world where you are the new road warden: the command has its advantages and flaws, and while the main task is to find out what happened to the last idiot who took the job, this is your story. The world reminds me of ancient Rome and the barbarian lands of Germany, and this is one game where reading is essential. There are a lot of words in this game, so if reading isn’t for you, I recommend you look for something else to play. While the game has a full in-game glossary, tutorial, and codex to assist in your journey, it’s helpful keeping a notebook handy, because the amount of lore and content borders on insanity. Even I struggled to keep track of everything, and this is the guy who writes lorebooks about his fictional universe. Many similar titles are so complex they can turn away potential fans, but Roadwarden keeps a great balance between complexity and keeping the player from being overwhelmed.

Roadwarden has three generous difficulty modes. While the main story has a time limit of thirty or forty days depending on what difficulty you pick, there is an Explorer mode that removes the time mechanic. While I love the extra lengths the game takes to ensure there’s something for everyone, this is one of the few occasions where I’d recommend playing the timed mode first. There are so many different paths you can take. I originally started off with the unlimited mode but decided to go for the normal mode fairly quickly. It’s nice seeing what effect I had on the world, and it encouraged me to play again.

There’s an enormous amount of things to see and do in the game: dozens of locations and areas to explore, and you have to manage inventory, character relationships, supplies, and health like a normal RPG. It blends the heavy reading with an excellent soundtrack and great ambiance to go with the visual art: it’s like reading a massive fantasy novel where you get to decide what happens.

(Just one of the many paths you can take on the world map) There is so much content in Roadwarden it’ll require multiple runs to see everything.

There is a demo available for those on the fence, but there’s one thing about it that surprised me most of all, and that’s the price. Available for just 10 USD, Roadwarden punches above its weight class. I’ll be honest, this is one of those rare occasions where the developer is asking for too little money.

Roadwarden is an immersive, fantastic experience in storytelling and roleplay. There are a couple of spelling mistakes and typos here and there, but when there are hundreds of thousands of words, that’s inevitable, and the developer is actively improving the game for everyone. The only thing I’d like to see is a font color option as well as the ability to increase the font. That’s pretty much it. Roadwarden is a masterpiece in the making, and you should expect to see this game high in my Top 10 list in December.


I miss immersive sims. They used to be all the rage back in the olden days. Now I just feel old! The Deus Ex series, Dishonored, Thief (not the newer one), 2017’s Prey, the Stalker series, and Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines; all hold a special place in my gaming tastes, and they’re all worth playing to this day. They haven’t been as popular in recent years. Watchdogs: Legion, Deathloop, and Cyberpunk 2077 can all technically be classed as immersive sims, although on a much lighter scale. We have to rely on the indie scene for them.

(One of the early sections in the game) Gloomwood oozes visual expertise.

New Blood Interactive has helped revolutionize the ‘boomer shooter’ resurgence with their games. Dusk, Amid Evil, and Ultrakill, have all seen immense success. Even for someone like me who doesn’t really get the old-school shooters, I’ve had a lot of fun with Dusk and Amid Evil, so when they announced their newest project Gloomwood, it immediately caught my interest. Gloomwood launched in Early Access last month with very positive feedback. While Early Access is still a controversial topic in this industry, this is one developer where I think it’s safe trusting in them. All of their games have gone through the Early Access program with great success; these are people who know what they are doing. So I was happy to pick up Gloomwood to support their process.

The first thing to mention is that the current version of Gloomwood is fairly short. There are only a few hours of content right now, so it exists more of a vertical slice showcasing the early portions of what it sets out to be. That might put off some people, so I completely understand why people will want to hold off on it. New Blood even encourages players to hold off until full release if that’s a concern, which I get. One of the hardest things when playing Early Access or beta versions is not to spoil your time. Baldurs Gate III was a big case of this: while I’m happy to own the game and enjoyed what I’ve played, I’ll probably never install it again until full release.

In its current state, Gloomwood contains several areas outside the main city as well as the basic gameplay loop. Even in its embryonic state, the setting is a delight to experience’ A dark, Victorian-esque environment with all manner of horrors. Imprisoned Elder Scrolls style, it’s the player’s job to escape the prison and uncover the secrets. The game’s atmosphere is stunning to experience, so much so it’s almost worth forgetting how early the game is in development. Your inventory is small and needs careful micromanagement, and death comes quickly for both yourself and your enemies. Nearly everything in the world can be interacted with, creating a cautious sandbox environment where you’ll need to be clever in dealing with threats and challenges. Eavesdrop on enemies, peek around corners and exploit the environment to survive. While the launch content is thin, there are still plenty of secrets to discover. Even if there are only a few hours of content right now, I’ve been blown away by the atmosphere. From my early experiences, it also runs great on the Steam Deck.

(Leaving the Fishery for the first time to a coastal scene) Once complete, Gloomwood will be amazing.

We cannot get into the city itself at the moment, so there is a sense of being blue balled: after an enjoyable few hours, the game prevents you from going further. That is unfortunate because I want to play more Gloomwood, but this is an excellent studio that knows how to do Early Access well. For those who want a complete experience or more content, I’ll recommend waiting, but I have no regrets picking this up right now. Even in its infancy, Gloomwood has great promise. We need more immersive sims on the market and provided New Blood continues its excellent track record, it’s going to be great.

Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy

We’ve seen several solid strategy games come out this year. One of my favorites this year is Symphony of War: Nephilim Saga, an excellent tactical RPG with a lot to love. I haven’t found the time to review that one, but it’s highly likely that you’ll see Symphony of War in my Top 10 games in December. This year’s event is going to be incredibly tough to narrow down to a Top 20, let alone a Top 10. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

So I wasn’t planning on covering Absolute Tactics in this episode. I was fortunate to be provided with a review code by the awesome folks at Curious Fate, but the launch version was missing some major quality of life features. While the game looked gorgeous with a great art style, the lack of graphic options was a major downside.

(Some early game dialogue) 10/10 for effort, random Evil NPC!

Being able to tweak settings for someone’s needs isn’t just essential in 2022, it’s mandatory. With the vast number of configurations on PC, launching a game without these is asking for trouble. I frequently found problems with resolutions switching on me and not being able to change anything. Since the launch, there have been a few patches to add these in and provide more customization, allowing me to play the game properly. It still requires some more settings such as being able to turn down textures and shadows, but it’s a start. It’s just a shame it launched without these because it’s clearly put a lot of people off playing the game. I just wanted to give some insight behind the game: my ethos has always been honest. I’m always happy to talk about a game’s positives as well as negatives, but I’m always here to support them. I’ve had a while to try it and despite the work needed on the technical side, there’s a solid strategy title here.

For starters, I love the graphical tileset. The textures and art design sell the game’s fantasy setting brilliantly, with vibrant battlefields for tactical gameplay. The combat system is something I enjoyed greatly. The environments are varied with plenty of tricks and tools for battle, and the battlefield provides a diverse range of strategies. For an SRPG, this is extensive: different terrains provide lots of chances, while maps contain treasures and additional loot. The combination of combat, mini-quests, and puzzles blends together to form an impressive experience, with verticality to explore as well. This combines well with the class system: characters can mix and match from 21 classes for a torrent of flexibility.

After a short prologue, the plucky hero character joins forces with survivors of a besieged city to tackle the great evil. Alright, it’s nothing special for a story, but it’s no less unique than other games in the SRPG genre. It leans heavily into slapstick comedy, which might clash somewhat with the darker themes of the game like sacrificing peasants for essence, war, and death. Dialogue from both heroes and villains tends to stick to quips, and this might annoy someone who’ll want a more serious atmosphere. I’ll admit, it’s a bit jarring, but it hasn’t put me off to the point I’ll put the game away. Sometimes we need a little slapstick humor in this world.

(The introduction) There’s a lot of tutorials in the game, but at least they are well written.

I’m not sure yet how much I like the story or the characters, but it’s keeping me entertained. It’s more of a backdrop to the gameplay right now, though as of writing this, I’m only scratching the surface. There’s a lot of content available with several side missions as well as an end-game mode, and there’s more than enough in the game to keep me interested. Absolute Tactics is going to need work, especially on the technical side, so I’d recommend to those on the fence to wait until more graphical settings get added to the game. Once those are in, give the game a try.

Future Plans

I hope everyone enjoyed these impression reviews!

There are several impression reviews coming: I was fortunate to receive access to some great games like Salt 2, Terra Invicta, Isles of Etherion, Ctrl Alt Ego, and Potion Permit. You can expect my new few Indie Corner episodes to cover these games, and all of them will be released on Steam by the end of September. This has been a fantastic month for indie games, and it’s not slowing.

In the meantime, I hope everyone stays safe, and I’ll be back soon!

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