As promised, the next installment of SFML Steam Games. While creating a list of all the SFML Steam Games that I know, I realized, that I skipped two older games, so we’ll continue with those first.
Given SFML’s permissive license we general have no idea who actually uses SFML and so I didn’t know until the beginning of last year, that there’s a rather popular, maybe even the most popular SFML game called UnderRail. It was released at the end of 2015, has gotten a DLC in 2019 and development is still going on with UnderRail Infusion. However, it seems like UnderRail is primarily built on top of XNA, while SFML or rather SFML.Net may only be used to create the window and play audio, the game at least ships the window and audio libraries.
Enough of the technical bits, UnderRail is an isometric RPG with a turn-based combat system. It’s set underground, as life on Earth’s surface has been made impossible. As with most RPGs, you get to assign yourself different stats and skills at the beginning, which when you play for the first time, you don’t really know what’s useful and what isn’t. I’ve only played the game for a couple of minutes, but I really like the atmosphere and how it allows you to explore the world, without handholding you through everything. The controls and also turn-based combat, takes a bit getting used to. I was especially confused in the tutorial, when I somehow wasn’t able to put on the armor, I believe it might have been due to active combat, but there was no visual hint. The game seems to be quite big, so one can probably spend hours finding all the various hidden secrets.
Wanderjahr was released on Steam in 2016, but according to the post on the forum, was actually developed way back in 2012 and uses good old SFML 1.6. I suggest to read the forum post, where the author gave a bit of a backstory how they ended up chosing SFML.
The game feels great and has lots of graphical effects and vibrant UI elements. While the interface was generally designed for use with a controller, one can use it comfortably with the mouse as well.
It’s a genre and/or game mechanic I hadn’t played before, but it’s quite fun and pulls you in quickly, all while the difficulty is slowly ramping up. The main playing fields are battlegrounds against a large selection of enemies, which you can fight by selecting from a group of characters, each having their own unique ability. It’s big balancing act, as you can have only for characters active at once, so need to ensure to have the right abilities in the fight to damage, heal, block, buff, de-buff, etc. to keep your characters alive and kill the enemies. In between the battles you get to upgrade your characters and buy items, like healing cakes or de-buff milk.
Among my favorite SFML game, and at one buck simply a must-buy, is the 2016 released Dispersio by Achpile, whom we’ll meet in later parts again.
It’s a platformer game, but sits somewhere in between old-school jump’n’run and speedrun-max-difficulty platformer. I have a weak spot for the old jump’n’run games such as Commander Keen and am often a bit disappointed with the newer generation of platformers, where most movements must be near pixel-perfect and essentially require a controller to play them. As such I hate the tricky parts of this game, but love the over all mechanics, different upgrades you get overtime, and the general look and feel.
The Night Christmas Ended
If you’re refusing to accept that a new year has started (7% of the year has passed already!) and want to remain in the Christmas spirit, then you can give The Night Christmas Ended a try and even better, if you have a friend to play it with, as it features a two player mode.
This quirky Christmas shooter contains quite a bit of foul language, as such it’s not exactly recommended for kids. It tells a story of
a small the world’s biggest goblin and how he saves or ruins (?) Christmas. You get to shoot down flying phantoms and jumping sweets, while on the quest for gold and trying to stay alive.
That’s a wrap for part three! It was interesting to dig up these old relics from 2015, which in my opinion still hold up pretty well today. I really liked the atmosphere of UnderRail, it gave me a bit of Siege of Avalon vibe and made me want to explore every room and corner.