Slay the Spire 2, Vampire Survivors meets Contra, and other “Triple-i” games

Bloody battle scene from Norland game
Enlarge / Norland is a game that communicates its intent well through screenshots.

Hooded horse

The Triple-i initiative is a gaming showcase that gets it, and is also part of the joke.

What Triple-i understands is that most gaming “storefronts” are full of corporate gimmicks, last far too long, and are often anchored around a few huge titles. Triple-i’s first event on Wednesday delivered more than 30 game trailers and teasers in 45 minutes, and there was consistent intrigue in all of them. There were some big names with bigger studios attached to them, and the definition of what “triple-i” is is quite vague, perhaps intentionally. But there were plenty of games worth noting, especially on PC.

What type of games? Triple-i’s website notes that the ad “may contain traces of rogue-lites.” At a stopping point in the window, the text’s omniscient narrator notes that there are “Only a few more thugs (promise).” Triple-i was filled with rogue-lites, roguelikes, survival, city builders, deck builders, Hades-likes, 16-bit platform games, Vampire Survivors and its offspring, turn-based tactics, then a car that sometimes has legs. There are strong trends in indie and adjacent games, but also some real surprises.

The inaugural showcase of the Triple-I Initiative.

If you want a whole bunch of Steam wishlist ideas, go ahead and look at the whole thing. But here’s a cheat sheet of the most recent titles and notable updates that I found most intriguing.

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Kill the Arrow 2 has the same look and deck as the original, but new mechanics are in store.


Kill the Arrow 2, the sequel to the 2019 game that launched hundreds of roguelike deck builders, announced its existence with a trailer containing no cards. But check the Steam page and you’ll see that the characters Ironclad and Silent from the original will return, as well as The Necrobinder, a scythe-wielding skeleton glowing with undead flames. The game is completely rewritten from the original, with all-new visuals and “modern features”, according to the developers. The only bad news is the timing: the launch is planned for early access in 2025.

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Dinosaur Lords.

Ghost Ship Publication

Dinosaur Lords (trailer) invites you to build a village in medieval England, fortify it and train your troops to resist the Viking invaders. It’s a game that’s already been made, except those marauding Danes have dinosaurs. They will pass through walls and devour your stupid villagers. A Stegosaurus will spin its spiny tail in a circle and knock over a dozen.

Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns DLC trailer.

Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns DLC feat. Contra tells you most of what you need to know if you know the original. The auto shooter “Bullet Heaven” will feature 11 new characters, 22 new weapons, new levels (some with side-scrolling perspectives) and numerous musical remixes inspired by the classic “Bullet Hell”, Contra. This is downloadable content arriving on May 9th.

The Rogue Prince of Persia trailer.

The Rogue Prince of Persia comes from the publisher Ubisoft, which generally does not mention “independent”, even at level “iii”. But developer Evil Empire, one of two teams behind the rogue-lite action classic Dead cellsis the one who takes the Prince of Persia license in rogue directions. As you’d expect, you’ll jump, fight with impossible elegance, and die in droves. The art style is eye-catching and changes over time should open up more approaches. The expected release date is May 24.

Norland release date trailer.

Norlandwhich is scheduled for release on May 16, calls on his inspirations Rimworld And Crusader Kings right off the bat on its Steam page, and I believe it. The game looks like a fun mix of wacky, sinister, tactical, and oh my god mayhem, it all falls apart, with some ruling class concerns thrown in as well. Nasty, brutal, short, but also quite funny?

In no particular order, some other Triple-i highlights:

  • Chance of rain 2 receives free content, a “devotional update,” which includes some Dead cells skins.
  • Kill the knight is a brutal, dark and sinister isometric game, but your demonic knight has weapons.
  • Laysara: Summit Kingdom takes city builders and civic games to new heights, literally, on the mountains, where you face avalanches and sky bridges.
  • Cataclismof At the Moonlight friends, is a brick-by-brick castle building and defense game.
  • Darkest Dungeon 2 gets a new game mode, “Kingdoms”.
  • What is the car? makes you play a car with legs. Sometimes you run, sometimes you cook. It’s a silly time September 5th.
  • World Pal gets an arena mode, sometime in 2024.
  • Mousethe “some Mickey Mouse types are now public domain” first-person shooter game actually sounds a lot more interesting than my sarcastic introductory clause suggests.
  • V risingthe open-world vampire game, will be released in early access on May 8, with a Castlevania Legacy crossing. Finally, you can bring down (literally) holier-than-thou Simon Belmont.

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