RPG of the Year Nominees – Indie Haven Game of the Year Awards 2013 Laura Kate December 28, 2013 Features The week between Christmas and New Year, it’s always a pretty slow time of the year when it comes to interesting news for gamers. With that in mind, we at Indie Haven thought that the last 6 days of the year would be the perfect time to share our nominations and winners for all of our end of the year award categories. Starting on December 26th we will reveal our nominees for each of our five award categories daily, with our winners being announced on December 31st for all the world to see. Today we continue the festivities by announcing our nominees for the RPG of the Year category. These nominations all came from writers at Indie Haven and were then voted on in our huge voting extravaganza to come to a majority vote award winner. I’ve said enough, let’s get on with the show. Ittle Dew How would I sum up Ittle Dew? Take a healthy dollop of top down Zelda, scoop out a little of the overarching world saving story, add a teaspoon of super charming characterisation and a strong female lead and cook it in an over that is the water temple from Ocarina of Time. Ittle Dew is very reminiscent of the Zelda franchise in many ways. From the often item centric puzzles that control progression through dungeons to the combat system and the way it is implemented, Ittle Dew is everything I enjoyed about the early Legend of Zelda games, but with a lead character I found myself really relating to. The game features a female lead who, rather than being a Link-esque blank slate for players to project themselves onto, is her own defined and really enjoyable character. At times the puzzles can be a little over complex and some of the refinements made to the Zelda formula over the years have failed to make the transition to Ittle Dew, but on the whole it’s a homage to one of my favourite series and is a wonderfully charming game in its own right. Shadowrun Returns What do you get when you take a series of traditional fantasy races like elves and dwarves, stick them into a futuristic cyberpunk dystopia and get them to fight each other in an XCOM style turn based battle system? You get the glorious return to the Shadowrun series that is Shadowrun Returns. Set in a brilliantly realised and perfectly unveiled world, the player has to create a character, recruit a crew and set out into the world to solve a riveting murder mystery plot. The writing of the dialogue in this story is fantastic, much like the incredibly rewarding tactical battle system that governs combat arenas. The game also features a level editor that, while a little complex to get into, offers huge amounts of options and has allowed the community to create some wonderful remixed content that adds a lot of replayability to your initial purchase for those willing to go looking through communities for highly rated new content. All in all there is a lot of great game here to explore for existing fans and new fans alike. Rogue Legacy One of the games on this list to make the biggest splash outside of the indie scene this year was Rogue Legacy, a Rouge-like dungeon crawler where you fight your way through an ever changing dungeon collecting gold, leveling up and learning how to survive the ever increasing range of threats in your way. The game attempted to make use of an ambitious mechanic not often seen in games of this style, letting you play through the game as a line of your characters descendants upon each death you face. Each of these descendants will have different attributes, some more positive and some more negative, that have a huge effect on the way that the dungeon runs will play out as much as the changing dungeon layouts do. It’s a tough game, there’s an absolute mountain of content to encounter and the game is just perfect for the gamer looking for a challenge that they will be coming back to for weeks or months to come. Risk of Rain Risk of Rain is a game about obsessively rooting through the unexplored. Lost on a strange and unknown alien world, the only hope you have of survival is obsessively hoarding any tiny thing you can find in your travels, hoping beyond hope that one of the things you found will be the key to moving forward within the world. The idea of the game is a simple one. Find things, use them to survive until you find a teleporter to progress, heed the games warning to “stay alive” and survive the gigantic boss monster that will attempt to prevent your assent. It’s a very polished core concept and one used to its fullest potential to create a fascinating experience full of tension, intrigue and wonder. The game is littered with new weapons that all act in new and interesting ways but it does force you to get to grips with them, often in the midst of battle. The game features a perma death system but allows you to keep all your discovered loot for your next playthrough, giving you the chance to practice new weapons against weaker enemies while preparing to push just that little bit further next time. The randomly generated levels occasionally had some weird item spawning issues, but it’s a wonderfully fast paced and constantly surprising game well worth anyone’s time to try out. And there we have it, that’s our nominees. Head back here on December 31st when the full list of award winners will be announced for all 5 of our awards categories. We still have Indie Developer of the Year and Game of the Year nominees to announce over the coming days so be sure to come back every day for the rest of the year.