Many hardcore gamers today will tell you that most games today are being dumbed down and made more appeasing towards a growing console generation, resulting in notable and respected developers staining their once-revered reputations with their oldest fans with games afflicted with serious cases of consolitis. Thankfully, the advent of Kickstarter and Steam Early Access is ushering in a new generation of independently made old-school hardcore games, and Lords of Xulima, which arrives on Steam Early Access on August 8, is one of them.
Taking much of its inspiration from classic RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, Phantasy Star, Dragon Quest, Ultima and Might & Magic, Lords of Xulima is a 2D isometric turn-based RPG which features many gameplay traits of the afore-mentioned games alongside a combination of hand-drawn visuals and modern 3D graphics.
Lords of Xulima takes place in a mythical world in which humanity has descended into a seemingly endless war that threatens to annihilate everything that moves. The titular Lords of Xulima, nine gods who reside on the distant and almost unreachable continent of Xulima have the power to stem the tide of war, but, like the United Nations, are reluctant to do anything. Players take on the role of Gaulen, a seasoned explorer who is chosen for the sacred task of sailing across the ocean to Xulima in order to appeal to the gods and resolve the conflict.
Being a turn-based RPG, Lords allows you to select and customize five additional party members to join Gaulen on his journey, ranging from a variety of fantasy staples like the warrior and cleric, as well as some new ones like the Divine Summoner.
There’s quite a bit of content in the game as well, with an epic story that spans over a hundred hours of gameplay, although players are free to explore the continent of Xulima at their own pace and direction. The Early Access version will contain about half the content of the eventual full release.
The developers have also insisted that Lords of Xulima isn’t going to be a walk in the park, and will be challenging in many respects:
We love feeling small and vulnerable in a vast, dangerous world. We want our “stupid” actions to have negative consequences, and we want our accomplishments to feel like our own, because we’ve earned them. We don’t want to feel like success in a game is simply the result of a programmed script or tutorial that wants to convince us that we are heroes. When you succeed in Lords of Xulima, it will be because you have played carefully, fought hard and earned your victory.
Lords of Xulima is being developed for the PC, Mac and Linux and should be released sometime in the Fall of this year. Many Kickstarter backers who have played test builds of the game have already given it rave reviews on its Early Access page.