Have you seen this Kickstarter? Sept. 2017

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 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 September 2017:


The Iron Oath

In humanity’s infancy, there was little they could do to fight back the darkness that threatened to swallow them whole. Thankfully, they were shielded by the protection of the Gods who not only bestowed upon them their knowledge, but also kept the dark blight from spreading. Alas, as time passed, the Gods expired one by one and the blight took on the form of a ferocious dragon. Bands of heroes arose to fight off this beast and the twisted abominations afflicted by the blight. Alas, the heroes succumbed to the growing power of the Blighted. As humanity struggles to maintain control of the land, the people anxiously await a new generation of heroes who might finally defeat the dragon and vanquish the blight from the land once and for all.

The Iron Oath is a beautifully animated, pixel art Tactical RPG set in an evolving fantasy world. You will be in control of a guild of heroes who are tasked with defeating the Blighted and slaying the dragon. Heroes can be one of twelve classes and the origins and goals of each character will be affected by your actions in the game world. You will need to complete missions in order to keep your guild financed for things like travel expenses and food. How you perform in each mission will also affect your guild’s reputation. Your choices and reputation will dictate what missions and story events you will be able to access. The story will unfold over hundreds of years, so be sure your veteran heroes pass on their skills or each generation could be worse off than the last. Needless to say, with a scope this size, every play-through is guaranteed to be different.

As of this writing, there are two weeks left to support this project. They are quite close to reaching their goal, but be sure to spread the word early in order to help them reach even further heights. You can secure a digital copy of the game for just $15. Larger donations will also reward you with the game’s soundtrack and artwork, beta access and even the chance to design your own fallen hero’s journal. The dev team is currently aiming for a March of 2019 release window. At launch, the game will be available via Steam or DRM-Free through Humble for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Lona: Realm of Colors

The creation of art can be as therapeutic as it is thought-provoking. A painting can hold within it a snapshot of the artist’s emotional or mental state. This story, in particular, centers around a young artist named Lona who uses her paintings as a way to deal with the stresses in life that are beyond her control. Her style fluctuates between chaotic vistas of color or dark landscapes of shadow. Her perspective is inspired by her pet cat, Ms. Schmidt, and the raven who lives in her yard, Mr. Ruppel. While her paintings started as a way to process the troubles she faces in her life, they soon become more important to her than the outside world. Lona will need to make sense of her emotions or become lost in her paintings forever.

Lona: Realm of Colors is a point-and-click adventure game that takes place within the gorgeous world of Lona’s paintings. The game will feature fifteen levels with each one having five different visual styles; two Chaotic, two Dark and one Balanced. The player will need to navigate between the first two styles in order to solve puzzles and unlock the Balanced version. In the process, you will learn about Lona’s world and the issues that she is hesitant to face. Each level is accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack that is equal parts vibrant and melancholic. Only with your help will Lona be able to sort through her emotions and gain the knowledge she will need to overcome her hardships.

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There are just under three weeks left to back this project. Supporters have already raised half of the needed funds, but your generosity will be critical in helping them cross the finish line. It is currently estimated for a beta release in June of 2018 with the full release somewhere around August of the same year. A contribution of just $15 will get you the final game as well as access to the beta and the game’s soundtrack. Higher reward tiers can provide art prints, posters and even 3D printed figures of Ms. Schmidt and Lona. At launch, the game will be available on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux. A stretch goal to create an iOS version of the game could be possible as well.


RoVR

For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed the company of animal companions. The bonds people forge with their pets can sometimes be just as meaningful as the relationships they have with their friends and family members. Alas, for some people, owning a pet just isn’t possible either due to living space or allergies. Fortunately, in the mid 1990’s, the virtual pet was born! These digital critters became a global phenomenon and quickly grew in complexity. In the 2000’s, they transitioned from handheld toys to handheld game systems with software like Nintendogs breathing new life into the genre. Since then, hundreds of virtual pet games have come and gone. Now, with the advent of VR, the next evolution in the virtual pet genre is finally upon us.

RoVR is a fully interactive virtual pet game being built for virtual reality devices. You will be tasked with raising and caring for an adorable puppy that is being programmed to act and learn just like a real dog. You will be able to pet them, carry them, wash and feed them and even teach them tricks using hand gestures and rewarding them with treats. Raise them well or you might end up with a troublemaker that will need to be disciplined. You will be able to explore your home and your neighborhood as you play with your pup and take them on walks. Enter your dog in agility competitions and use the prize money to buy outfits and accessories for your canine friend. You can even snap pictures of your puppy to share with your friends on social media!

The campaign had a very good start, but they still have a long way to go if they plan on meeting their funding goal in the next three weeks. If you would like to join the VR pet revolution, a digital copy of the game can be yours for $25 or act fast to get an early bird copy for just $20. Larger donations will get you goodies like stickers, t-shirts and puppy plushies. Serious backers can even create an NPC or a custom doggie outfit. The game is being developed for use with both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The beta is planned for Winter of this year with the final build launching in March of 2018. The game will be published on both Steam and Oculus Home for Windows PCs. An AR version for iOS devices is also being proposed as a stretch goal.


Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond

Lord Levant ruled over his kingdom with kindness and conviction. He saw his people through a grueling war and appointed six knights who excelled in the conflict as protectors for his unborn child. Alas, the king would lose his life before his heir’s birth and the six knights ruled his kingdom together until such time that his heir is old enough to rule. Nine years of peace are broken by the appearance of a comet known as the Skymother’s Tear. A sacred ritual will need to be performed by the leaders of the noble houses. The six knights will need to guide the child heir of House Levant through this event in order to ensure that the family’s reputation isn’t in jeopardy. Even still, the stage is being set for a long-planned coup.

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Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond is the direct sequel to the 2015 award-winning JRPG, Celestian Tales: Old North. Serving as the second chapter in a trilogy, this new installment expands on the features of its predecessor with enhanced visuals, smoother sprite animation and a larger game world. Battles play out in the traditional turn-based style which promotes careful planning over button mashing. There are no random battles as enemies can be seen and avoided on the overworld map. The primary focus in these games, however, is the robust storyline which will consistently present you with morally ambiguous decisions that will have lasting effects on your characters and the world around them. Players of the first game will even be able to import their progress with their previous save file.

With about three and a half weeks remaining, this campaign has already made one third of its goal. That said, it is crucial to support them early in order to maintain momentum. You can scoop up a digital copy of the game for just $10. Bump your pledge up to $14 and you’ll even get the first game and all of its DLC. Other available rewards include physical copies of both games, printed art books and even hand-painted watercolor illustrations. Much of the game is already done, so the developers are aiming for a speedy release of this December. At launch, the game will be offered via Steam or DRM-Free on GOG for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Rubi: The Wayward Mira

The inhabitants of Casimir, the Mira, have been extracting the planet’s mana for generations. This is quickly degrading the world’s ecosystem and the Mira are desperately seeking a solution. Amidst the chaos, a child named Rubi is born without the ability to manipulate mana. She is implanted with mana-control devices in her hands to save her life. A few years later, the remaining population of Casimir is mysteriously teleported to Earth. Suddenly thrust onto a planet teeming with mana energy, the Mira are overjoyed at their good fortune. However, Rubi begins to notice that many of her kin have started to become increasingly violent. The surviving clear-minded Mira decide to task Rubi with the mission of discovering what is causing this change and how to stop it. Could her unique condition be the key to her success?

Rubi: The Wayward Mira is a side-scrolling action/platformer in the same vein as Metroid and Castlevania. It will feature six interconnected areas with numerous secrets waiting to be discovered. You will be able to use energy collected from enemies you defeat to upgrade Rubi’s abilities and unlock new powers. Bosses take the form of Mira who have become twisted versions of their former selves. Rubi will need to utilize her newfound powers to overpower them. The developer also mentions that many of the game’s mechanics are inspired by particle physics and Large Hadron Collider. So, whether you’re a science buff or just a fan of eye-catching pixel art graphics, this is a passion project worth taking a look at.

While there is over three weeks left in this campaign, your early support is critical if this project can be expected to meet its funding goal. If you’re quick you can grab a digital copy of the game for as little as $12. Donate a bit more to receive the game’s soundtrack, digital art book and even a t-shirt. Generous backers can get art prints or even design an in-game character or enemy! The dev team are currently aiming for a release window around September of 2018. At launch, the game will be available via Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux as well as Playstation 4. A version for Nintendo Switch may be possible later on.


Addendum:

Of the games I featured in July, only Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Space Odyssey successfully met its funding goal. Sadly, this means that Eon Break, Celestial Faith: Elythia’s Curse, All the Hidden Corners and Sol Bound were not as fortunate. The respective dev teams are all continuing forward on these games in their spare time. If any of these projects decide to relaunch on Kickstarter, I will be sure to let you know.¬†Until next month, happy gaming!

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