Kickstarter and its generous community have brought the video gaming world some top-notch entertainment over the last few years. Games like Divinity: Original Sin 2, 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 Pathfinder: Kingmaker 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 November 2017:
Emerald City was once home to numerous super-powered heroes who used their amazing abilities to combat crime, defend the citizens and keep Justice alive. Alas, this Golden Age of Superheroes was brought to an end when the government finally outlawed vigilantism and the use of super powers. This led to an era of dystopian rule as former supervillains began infiltrating key political positions thus ensuring that a new age of superheroes could never arise. Our story revolves around Alanis and Edrick, two detectives working for the Department of Superheroic Crime, an organization outside the confines of the twisted government that is dedicated to ensuring that punishment for the use of super powers is fair and non-lethal. Could the path these two walk lead to newfound tolerance for superheroes? Or will their actions solidify the end of super-powered humans for good?
Shadow of the Mask is a point-and-click adventure game with an immediately eye-catching aesthetic. The visuals are akin to something you might see on a late-night Adult Swim cartoon, which makes navigating through the game’s world a true treat for the eyes. As a hard-boiled crime drama, gameplay centers around investigating locations and items, questioning witnesses and solving environmental puzzles. There are still tense action-filled sections peppered throughout as well which will require quick reflexes through the utilization of quick-time events. Keep your firearm primed and your body nimble or a hairy situation could spell the end for your character. If you would like to see this game in action, which I recommend as these pictures don’t really do the visuals justice, you can download a demo over on the campaign page.
As of the time of this writing, there is just over a week left to support this project. Thus far, the team have only raised about a quarter of their minimum goal, so please assist these developers in any way you can. You can score a copy of the game for as little as $24. A larger donation will net you some bonus goodies such as Early Access, digital or physical copies of the game’s art book and soundtrack (available on CD or vinyl), and even a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt! The game is expected to launch around November of next year and will be available DRM-Free or on Steam for Windows and Mac.
In our future, the Earth becomes a hollowed out husk of its former self. With the planet in ruin, the wealthy among the populace have taken to the stars leaving the less fortunate to fend for themselves on a dying world. The story revolves around “the rider”, a young individual with nothing to his name but a vintage hoverbike and the determination to get off the planet and make a name for himself in the interstellar racing circuit. His first stop is the idyllic colony on Mars before setting a course to a neighboring star. His goal my seem like a lofty one, but he will do whatever it takes to make his dreams come true. Sure, that could mean smuggling drugs or taking down dangerous thugs, but it’s still a small price to pay for freedom and glory.
Desert Child is an action-packed racing game that incorporates life simulation RPG elements. As “the rider”, you will need to take on odd jobs in order to make money. Money will be required to buy food, pay rent and make upgrades to your bike. Your ride is equipped with weapons which you will need to complete your assignments and protect yourself. Action segments are fast-paced and filled with hazards. You can accelerate and brake to move left and right and you can steer up and down to move in and out of the track. Your weapons have limited ammo, so you will need to be smart about what you decide to shoot. When between jobs, you will need to keep yourself fed at the local restaurants. Meals will fill your hunger meter and can also provide temporary boosts to aid you in your next race. If you want to get a better understanding of the gameplay, check out the game’s demo.
There is a little more than two weeks left to back this project. As of now, the campaign has earned about a third of its needed funding. Spread the word and help this one-man team achieve his goal. A digital copy of the game will only set you back $12. Other rewards available for higher donations include downloads of the game’s soundtrack and design notes, backer exclusive in-game decals for your bike, and even a physical game box and instruction booklet. The developer is planning to release the game in March of next year. Upon release, the game will be available via Steam or DRM-Free for Windows, Mac and Linux. PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch ports are possible post-launch. Android and iOS ports are planned to follow the console releases.
As a kid, I have fond memories of the animated Disney film Peter Pan. In particular, the early scene of Peter chasing after his disconnected shadow and needing Wendy’s help to reattach it. The story of this game revolves around the theme of being separated from your shadow and how that loss could affect both the host and the shadow. While a shadow has no real weight or substance, it is very fragile in the presence of bright light. Without a host to hide beneath, a shadow could very well fade out of existence. The shadow of a young girl is torn away from its host. As it races to reunite with the girl, it discovers other lost shadows that are searching for their hosts as well. The path back to their hosts is teeming with deadly light. The shadows will need to work together in order to traverse our world and find the objects, animals and people they belong to.
Find Me is the newest project to come out of the Girls Make Games program. If you’ve never heard of this wonderful organization, Girls Make Games hosts summer camps, workshops and game jams all across the world which are aimed at girls between the ages of 11 and 14 years old. Each event leads these fledgling game designers towards “Demo Day”, where the five most talented teams are flown to California to present their game demos to a panel of gaming industry veterans. The winning team gets their game launched on Kickstarter with the opportunity to hire a full team and expand their demo into a complete game. We covered last year’s project, BlubBlub: Quest of the Blob back in our September 2016 article. If you would like to see what a small group of four girls was able to put together in just three weeks, be sure to check out the demo on the campaign page.
This campaign is off to a great start, having made half of their minimum goal already. Still, with only about two and a half weeks remaining in the campaign, your support is critical in order to keep the momentum going strong. Since you only need to donate $5 to unlock a digital copy of the game, there is very little reason not to back this project. A bigger donation will even earn you physical rewards such as postcards, stickers, posters and a t-shirt. The team is currently looking to launch the game around December of next year. Upon release, the game will be available on Steam for both Windows and Mac. To find out more about the Girls Make Games program, as well as the other projects they have helped create, be sure to check out their website.
As the population of Earth continues to rise, it soon becomes clear that the planet cannot safely accommodate everyone. As such, large ships known as Arks are erected in Earth’s orbit in order to house the ever-expanding populace. Life on the Arks is very much like life on the surface and humanity continues to prosper. Unfortunately, a vicious alien race has been hiding inside the Earth’s core. They reveal themselves in a massive attack which leaves the planet’s surface uninhabitable and results in the destruction of two of the Arks. Rescue teams attempt to evacuate the survivors and bring them aboard the remaining Arks. While combing through the wreckage that fell down to Earth, rescuers discover an unconscious young girl. Upon reviving her, it became clear she had lost her memory. With no known relatives, her well-being is now the responsibility…of you.
Ciel Fledge is a life-raising simulator in the same vein as games like Long Live the Queen and the Princess Maker series. You are tasked with raising this young girl over a span of 10 years. Gameplay is broken into three main sections. The first is the simulation aspect which tasks you with dictating the actions of your adopted daughter through various activities that will alter her various stats and skills. The second is the visual novel sections which will follow your daughter through her interactions with other people. The third, and final, section comes in the form of RPG-style battles where combat is controlled through a match-3 puzzle mechanic where the different puzzle pieces portray each of the girl’s stats. Explaining how all of this ties together is quite a challenge, so I highly recommend giving the game’s playable demo a try.
With three weeks left in the campaign, along with one-fifth of their goal reached, be sure to show your support in any way you can. If you can’t make a donation, at least tell a friend or two about the project. If you act fast, you can still pick up an Early Bird copy of the game for just $7. If you’re feeling generous, higher reward tiers include digital downloads of the game’s art book, soundtrack and even the composer’s notes and sheet music. Significant donations will even let you design an NPC, an outfit for the girl, or even an alternate theme song! The developers are aiming for a June 2018 release via Steam or DRM-Free for Windows and Linux. A version for Mac is also in the works, but may take a bit longer to come out.
Loomia is a vibrant world teeming with life and imbued with splendid magic. Alas, in the future of this land, a great war erupts which reaches out to every corner. At the height of this turmoil, a skilled warrior unlocks the incredible power to manipulate time itself. He tries his best to rewrite pivotal events that led to the start of the war. Unfortunately, power and influence soon corrupt the warrior threatening to usher in a new age of darkness. The Keepers soon appear, bestowed with the power of the Goddess, to contain this temporal anomaly and prevent it from destroying all of Loomia’s past, present and future. Long before all this takes place, our story focuses on a boy living in a secluded village high in the mountains. No one in his village has ever left, fearing they would be struck by a terrible curse. In spite of this, the young man longs to see the outside world.
The Untold Legacy is an action-RPG with a focus on story-telling. One look at the game in motion and it’s clear the developers were inspired by classic games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The story is set in a sprawling world that is designed to allow you to go anywhere and complete challenges in any order you choose. Character growth happens organically as you complete quests, defeat bosses and uncover new areas of the world map, so there is no “perfect” way to play through the game. Combat is fast-paced and you will find a variety of weapons and items to allow you the freedom to approach every fight a different way. Exploration is just as fluid as you will have access to various modes of travel including boats and mounts. Your travels will also lead you to discover many items that can be used with discovered recipes to create food with a variety of restorative effects. Needless to say, there will be plenty to uncover in the sprawling land of Loomia.
This campaign opened quite recently, so there is nearly a whole month for them to reach their goal. Having said that, things are off to a slow start, so it is important to back this project sooner rather than later. If you’re quick, you can still grab an Early Bird copy of the game for just $15. What’s even better is that you will also get a copy of The Under, a puzzle/platformer based in the same world that the developers made to better acquaint themselves with Unity. Other rewards include the ability to add your name, a cooking recipe or even an NPC to the game world. The team is planning on releasing the game in June of 2019. At launch, the game will be available through Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux. Stretch goals could add Switch and PS4 ports, too.
What a wonderful feeling! All of the games I featured in October, My Time at Portia, Dark Devotion, Jennifer Wilde, Flynn: Son of Crimson and Intrepid Izzy, have successfully met their funding goals! This is the first time that all five of the projects I have spotlighted achieved this feat in the same month. Many thanks to the generous people who joined together to make all of these dreams come true!
Speaking of dreams becoming reality, a retro style side-scrolling action/adventure game I featured back in my July of 2015 “bonus round” has finally been released! A Hole New World is available digitally on Steam, Xbox One and PS4 right now! Be sure to check it out! Until next month, happy gaming!