A downloadable game for Windows

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Islands of the Caliph imagines an ancient, seafaring Middle Eastern empire, spanning several islands to which the player may venture and explore.  

Features KEYBOARD ONLY input and other classic limitations to invoke that 1980s vibe. Please play the free demo to see if this is something you are interested in playing.

Islands of the Caliph imagines an ancient, seafaring civilization based on Middle Eastern folklore and Islamic spiritual traditions.

It is an action RPG inspired by classics like Might & Magic, Questron, Alternate Reality and more. It incorporates some of the gameplay elements of those older games, like grid based movement, and combines them with real-time combat to create a more immediate hybrid gameplay.


Numerous mythical and dangerous beasts lurk in waiting as you explore and discover new lands. From giant spiders and scorpions, to more supernatural beings like ghouls and jinn, Islands of the Caliph will introduce players to some of the creatures of folklore of Arab, Persian and African cultures among others.


Weapons include some familiar items along with those particular to the Middle East like scimitars, shamshirs and jambiyah among others.


As you explore, your map with be updated automatically. Use it to keep track of your location and to discover new routes of exploration. A small mini map appears in the corner of the screen while exploring, but you can open it to view the whole area when needed. There is also a world map that will help orient the player and assist in finding quest locations.

The player must explore this open world and discover the game's primary quest(s) for themselves. The game seeks to capture some of the open-endedness of some classic, RPGs allowing the player reach a number of different possible endings. Choices the player makes will set them on a course of action suited to their style of play. Some of these may allow players to reach new heights of spiritual awakening, while others may bring disaster down upon themselves or on all the Islands of the Caliph, it is your choice!

Updated 3 days ago
StatusIn development
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(3 total ratings)
AuthorSchmidt Workshops
GenreRole Playing
TagsDungeon Crawler, Exploration, Fantasy, middle-east, mythology, Open World, Pixel Art, Retro, Singleplayer


Buy Now$9.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Islands o the Caliph 1.2.4 227 MB

Download demo

Islands of the Caliph - Demo 132 MB

Development log

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I streamed this game for this review. The link to the VOD will be below.

Overall, I actually had a pretty good time with this game. It seems very well designed from a gameplay perspective, but it's not without some jank.

The Islands of the Caliph is designed to be an old school, grid-based, first person RPG. As far as the aesthetic goes, it nails this! The game dumps you with little idea what you should do or where you should go, but it's clear by the man standing in front of you where you should begin. Trapped on a small island, the player is left to their own devices to figure out the steps to progress.

This is one of the things The Islands of the Caliph excels at. It seems very well designed at not giving too much information to the player to make things completely brainless, but at the same time it gives enough information or limits your options just enough that it's never cryptic. It's a rare balance that is struck in games, but here it was achieved with grace.

That said, It also nails all the baggage that comes with emulating games of old. I think this is one of the things that holds the game back the most.

Controls are clunky, gentle slopes impede progress, finding things like specific shops or items is often a lengthy chore, and traveling to and from your destination is always a lengthy process.

Sometimes these old fashioned design decisions are appreciated, sometimes they just lead to unnecessary friction in the game play.

But, I actually really enjoyed my time with this game. Once I got used to the clunk controls it started to become quite enjoyable. The question is whether I feel motivated to buy the full version and continue my experience or not, and that is tough to decide. So many other games exist that I don't need to wrestle with the controls to enjoy.

If you'd like to watch my experience with the game, I've linked the archive below. You can click the timestamps to jump to when I start playing.


Thanks for your comments and feedback!
I just want to make sure you are aware that you can speed up boat travel by entering the cabin at the back of the ship (at least one player did not realize this) ... other than that, there is a kind of fast travel introduced later in the game.  

why does the german language doesn't work?

It was never implemented...
The store page should not mention German language though, does it?

update to 1.2.2a?

1.2.2b :)  

(1 edit) (+1)

update to 1.1.7 soon?


Thanks for the reminder!

This looks great. Any chance for a Mac build?

(7 edits)

Oh man... I died from one of these darn octopusses (or whatever the plural form of these things is) on Ikhlas Atoll. Instinctively I pressed ENTER (because that's what you normally do to get to the menu in such a case) - and found myself teleported back to Salam Island instantly. Now I'm not sure what exactly happened.
Even more important: I cannot say if something is missing from my inventory because I chosed "continue" instead of "load game". What exactly does it?

Thanks. The game is otherwise perfect, but this is a real pain to me.

edit: on returning on the Ikhlas Atoll I notice that the map I earlier compeltely explored has been erased... is that normal? Does "continue" eraze the place you've been prior to your death? What about discoveries, quests? I seem to still have the items I got on the Iklhlas Atoll...

edit2: Ok, the Inn chest seems to have been erased too... arrrgh!

edit3: more areas I've previously visited and throughly explored are erazed on the map. I really begin to lose all motivation to continue on.

edit4: Ok, it gets even stranger: I reloaded a savegame I made prior to my arrival on Akhlos Atoll (I regularly make such emergency savegames). When I now set foot on the said Island, the map is explored, as I left it earlier. How is that possible?


I consider this a feature.  The whole rogue-like genre has popularized the idea of when you die, you have to start from scratch.  Old 80s RPGs were not quite rogue-likes, but some of them had pretty harsh punishments for dying.  As an example, Wizardry would just leave your dead characters in the dungeon, and you would have to send another party down to retrieve them and their items if you wanted to resurrect them. 
There are some NPCs who warn you about situations where you can even lose all your items and silver FYI.  I wrote about it a bit here: https://schmidt-workshops.itch.io/islands-of-the-caliph/devlog/624343/prepare-fo...

(2 edits)

Hi and thanks for your reply. To the remark about the inn chest: In other cities, my stored items appear, only on Ikhlas Atoll it isn't the case. 

Regarding the map: That question still is a mystery to me. Is the "punishment" for continue (instead of reloading) designed to eraze the explored parts of the map of the island where you died - while you still keep quests and items you collected there? Seems strange to me.

And even stranger seems the fact that when I reloaded an older (stored away as a zip) savegame from before I even had set  foot on said island, all my prior explorations on this island were there. Are map informations not saved in the save files?

edit: I'm fine if some bucks and some more or less useful items disappear from my inventory. I hope no quest relevant ones?


The map info is stored separately ... that sounds like a bug, so I will have a look at it.  
I will also look at the chest on Ikhlas Atol ... it should have the same items.

Quest items should not be lost.  


Super fun game! Thanks for making it. It's really neat to see Islam brought into a videogame setting like that. I hadn't seen anything like that. The aesthetic is just so on point, too! I hope you make more :)

What's the point of the prayers and fasting and all that, tho? I beat the game, but it never seemed to make a difference if I did those things or not. Also, was it supposed to last for longer than an in-game year? The charity thing never came up, unless I intentionally waited long enough for it to do so.


There is one optional quest line in which these things become required to complete.  However, they also can give you some perks like extra experience, stat points and resistance to poison/diseases.  


Ah! Neat! I noticed that I wasn't getting sick very often, but didn't know the reason.


I'm tempted to buy this game, but I don't use steam. Any chance you could upload the demo here, too?


Oh good idea!
Give me a minute...


I still don't the demo... Did something go awry?


Oh wow, I didn't do it.  I was going to.  And then I got distracted.  Then I came back to do it and I saw a comment thanking me for updating the game to version 1.0.1, and somehow my brain said, "oh, you did it already."  And that is how my own brain works against me.

So now the demo is up :)


I'm thinking about buying the game here rather than on Steam, I just hope this version will be kept updated at the same time ;)


I would be lying if I said yes.  But I do try to keep stuff up to date here.  Especially if I see folks buying the games :)
Seriously though if anyone notices something not up to date, shoot me a message or comment and I will do it ASAP.

It's not neglect or even laziness, I just forget.  Okay maybe that's neglect.


Ok, I'll trust you... and write to you from time to time with some "hey did you update?" :P

But seriously, it's really rare that I want to buy a game when it's fresh out, so seeing you have already pushed out an update here, I hope for the best!


I see you are keeping the game always up to date, so thanks ;)

(1 edit) (+2)

Wait a second - has the game already been released?


Just last night

(1 edit) (+2)

And I just got it over on Steam today. I'm very happy with my purchase. That's what I call a classic roleplaying experience! And thanks to the original scenario it has a quite unique atmosphere and feeling. What I've played already gives me exactly that feeling of wonder and adventure I knew back in the days (and miss so sorely nowadays), when Might and Magic was still exlusively an RPG-series and Ultima was all the rage. Oh and congratulations to the release by the way!


Thanks so much!  
Yes, Might & Magic Book 1 was the first CRPG that I played, and although mechanically different, it is probably the biggest, single influence on how this game was designed.  The openness of that world and the fact they just let you figure things out for yourself is something I have not seen seen since then.


looks "nostalgically" awesome! awesome work


Well done, this looks like the kind of game I'd love to play!


That looks lovely indeed! And I like the interesting scenario. I'll definitively keep an eye on this one. :)


Looks great!




Are you using the same "engine" as in Catacombs of the Necromancer?

Because I remember that being rather buggy, controls-wise. Not just your game I mean, but basically all from the jam.

Would probably be better to use a better one for a proper game.


Great Question!

I did import some of the artwork from that game, but I am using 3D Gamestudio for this project.


Got it, probably better this way.

Best of luck!