Kickstarter and its generous community have brought the video gaming world some top-notch entertainment over the last few years. Games like Yooka-Laylee, Undertale, and Shovel Knight might never have seen the light of day without the support of gamers like you and me. However, with the success of games like these, there are literally hundreds of people trying to make their game ideas a reality. While high profile campaigns like Banner Saga 3, Battle Princess Madelyn and Sundered need little or no introduction, there are some truly brilliant gems hiding among the sea of copyright-infringing remakes and people simply looking for handouts. With this monthly series of articles, I hope to shed some light on a few of the diamonds-in-the-rough that need support from people like you.
Here are five such potential games-to-be with campaigns ending in the month of June 2017:
Japan in the 16th Century, known as the Sengoku period, was a country splintered into numerous, small, warring states. Japan’s citizens were living lives filled with fear and distrust. At the height of seemingly endless conflicts between lords, the country is rocked by a massive earthquake which leaves much of Japan in ruin. As the survivors struggle to overcome famine and rebuild their homes, the lords begin levying heavy taxes on the common man. In the civil unrest that ensues, a streetwise rabbit named Toto-Maru sets off on a quest to overthrow these corrupt rulers, unify the country and restore peace. How does he hope to do this? With the magic of rhythm and rhyme and the power of Battle Rap!
Project Rap Rabbit (working title) is a rhythm game from two masters of the genre; Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper, Vib-Ribbon) and Keiichi Yano (Gitaroo Man, Elite Beat Agents). As you might expect, the core gameplay will have you tapping the correct buttons in time with the music. However, as this game is about the art of battle rapping, you will also be crafting your words with the help of a dialogue wheel. Are you going to put down your opponent, brag about yourself or just say something silly? During your opponent’s turn, you will also be able to make note of certain things they say so that you can incorporate them into your comeback. Additionally, each opponent has weaknesses to different types of raps, so what you say is just as important as how you say it. So, get ready to tap into the rhythm and bring the rhyme!
This project’s goal is a lofty one. With just two more weeks remaining, fans of this genre and the pedigree surrounding it really need to show their support in a big way in order to make this game a reality. A digital copy of the game can be had for just $25, but higher tiers are also offering physical version and bonus goodies like art books, soundtrack CDs, t-shirts and plushies. If they can reach their goal, the game is anticipated to see release around August of 2018. At launch, the game will be available digitally for Windows through Steam and either digitally or physically for PlayStation 4.
The land of Nocturne has been enjoying generations of peace and prosperity, but all of that changes when a mysterious race of demons appears. Dubbed the Dol-Fayn, this formidable army quickly begins to lay waste to kingdom after kingdom through the use of powerful magic. Before long, the Dol-Fayn have conquered all of Nocturne save for one stronghold called Mooncrest. As the Commander of Mooncrest’s army, you will be tasked with defending the city and unraveling the mysteries of your enemy in an attempt at forcing them back and reclaiming the land of Nocturne from them. Will this be the last chapter in humanity’s story? Or will your strength and willpower begin a new story chronicling the rise of Mooncrest?
The Rise of Mooncrest is a strategy RPG being created by former employees of BioWare who have worked on games such as Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic. On the surface, this game resembles a tabletop-style board game, but the simplicity of the visuals belies deep strategy gameplay and masterful storytelling. In combat, your forces are divided into units. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses as well as stat bonuses depending on the type of terrain they inhabit. This creates a game that puts strong emphasis on planning each of your moves carefully. Successes in combat will award your Commanders with experience, allowing them to increase their level and unlock up to 22 different classes with their own special abilities. Check out the game’s demo to get a taste of how the game will play.
There are just under three weeks left to support this campaign. The team needs a lot of love in order to reach their goal. If you can’t help out monetarily, at least spread the word. A digital copy of the game will only set you back $20. Pledge a bit more in order to receive the soundtrack, concept art or even the chance to have your own likeness included in the game! With enough funding, the team is aiming for release around November of 2018. The game will initially be available only for Windows via Steam or DRM-Free. Mac and Linux versions, as well as ports for PS4 and Xbox One, will be available at a later date.
In a universe teeming with alien and robotic life, gaining a reputation and making a name for yourself is quite a challenge. Flint is a carefree guy just trying to find his niche. Through happenstance, he runs into a prison vessel (literally) and finds himself in the company of a gang of pirates. When he learns that one of the crew is actually a secret agent working for the Alliance, things start to get really interesting. Flint and his new allies soon find themselves wrapped up in a massive conspiracy which will see them traveling through eight different planets and interacting with a host of crazy characters. It looks like Flint can finally put his boredom on hold and, just maybe, leave his mark on the galaxy to boot.
StarFlint is a point-and-click adventure game that is dripping with humor, creativity and gorgeous hand-drawn artwork. While the gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played a game in this genre, the story and it’s branching dialogue options and colorful alien races give it more of a Mass Effect feel. The game will be full of hidden items, side missions, achievements and alternate endings giving you plenty of reasons to play through the game multiple times. Dialogue is fully voiced as well, which helps to give real depth to the many characters you will meet throughout the story. Whether you are a fan of old school point-and-click games or sprawling science-fiction narratives, this game seems primed to deliver on both fronts. Still not sold? Why not check out the demo available on the project page?
With about three weeks remaining, this campaign has already raised half of their funding goal. With that said, don’t wait until the last minute to back this because their proposed stretch goals will greatly expand the scope of the game. You can unlock a digital copy of the game for as little as $13. Generous backers can also earn a physical copy of the game with a printed manual or even help create an NPC to appear in the game itself! The developers are aiming for an October of 2018 release window. At launch, the game will be available on Windows, Mac and Linux via Steam or DRM-Free. Afterwards, the team will work on porting the game to Xbox One as well.
A thousand years before our story begins, a giant meteor crashes into the planet causing untold destruction. In its wake, large stones are discovered all across the known world which appear to have magical healing properties. People flock to the sites of these rocks to leech off of their power. After a time, vicious beings called Reapers suddenly appear and begin to murder everyone in their path. Miraculously, the Reapers are repelled and vanish without a trace. Now, centuries later, the Reapers have returned to make a second attempt at wiping everyone off the map. A captain, a bodyguard and a scribe must band together to stop the invasion.
Ash of Gods is an interesting mix of the Rougelike, Strategy RPG, and Visual Novel genres with a pinch of online PVP thrown in for good measure. The core gameplay is that of a strategy RPG, but skirmishes will be book-ended by interactive dialogue scenes. Every decision you make, combined with character perma-death, makes for a story containing hundreds of branching paths. Combine this with the online multiplayer mode which could award you with new characters, and you have a game that is just begging for repeat play-throughs. To make your journey as pleasant as possible, the game’s gorgeous visuals akin to The Banner Saga and robust soundtrack from the composer of The Witcher will make your time with the game even more rewarding.
This project has been able to gather nearly a third of its goal with three more weeks to go. Of course, the developers have some impressive stretch goals planned as well, so offer your support sooner rather than later. For as little as $20, a digital copy of the game can be yours. Other reward tiers will grant you a prequel comic book, a 500 page novel set in the game’s world and even some backer-exclusive items for the online multi-player mode. The team is anticipating a March of 2018 release window for Windows, Mac and Linux versions through Steam or DRM-Free. Ports for Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Android and iOS are also planned down the line.
Akuma no Rakuen, the Devil’s Paradise, a land as dangerous as it is beautiful, has lost its ruler. With no successor, many power-hungry would-be kings have appeared in a desperate bid to assume the throne. As such, the land has been splintered into opposing factions who are attempting to claim as much territory as possible. In the midst of this turmoil, a mysterious being known as the Oni Wani has awoken. He doesn’t know who he is or where he came from, but his heart is flooded with rage and a desire for violence. Could he possibly be the dragon of legend who is destined to rule this land? Either way, his blade is sure to lead him towards whatever may be his destiny.
Savage: Road to Darkness is a 2D side-scrolling action game with beautiful, cinema-quality animation. As the Oni Wani, you will be tasked with traversing each area with the goal of defeating its warlord and their armies. You will be armed with a variety of ninja weaponry such as swords, arrows and throwing stars as well as a host of ninja magic. This magic, or jutsu, will grant you special powers such as force fields, teleportation and elemental breath attacks. As you defeat certain enemies, you will unlock the ability to upgrade your weapons and special techniques in order to more easily take down more powerful opponents. Of course, make no mistake, this game will be anything but easy. You will need lightning reflexes to master this game.
This campaign only just started, but they are off to a slow start. If you are a lover of old school, tough-as-nails 2D action games, show this developer your support right away. A digital copy of the game will only set you back $10. Higher tiers will offer backer-exclusive in-game content, a comic book or beta access. This project is estimated to be completed by December of 2018. Upon release, the game will be available digitally for Windows, Mac and Linux via Steam or DRM-Free. Ports to Xbox One, PS4 and Switch will be dependent on reaching the associated stretch goals during the campaign.
Of the games I featured in April, Pine, Sacred Fire and Starfighter, Inc. all successfully met their funding goals! Unfortunately, Attack on Kitten and Touchdown: Armor League were not as lucky. Fortunately, both developers are pushing forward with possible campaign relaunches somewhere down the line. As always, if either campaign resurfaces, I will be sure to let you know.
On the subject of past projects, a space shooter game I featured back in September of 2015 has finally been released! Everspace is available on Steam and GOG right now! Be sure to check it out! Until next month, happy gaming!