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 December 2017:
In the year 2083, hidden amidst the modern high-rise structures on the streets of Neo Hong-Kong, lies the Chung Sing Building. This dilapidated relic of the last century exudes an aura of unease thanks to a series of bizarre murders that occurred in the building long ago. Elderly citizens claim the building is haunted by the souls of those who died there, but is there truly a place for ghost stories in this technologically advanced society? A young programmer named Mei-Lin Mak may be just the person to answer that question as her search for information about her ancestry has led her to this very place. Finding herself mysteriously trapped inside, she must make her way through her new confines to discover clues to the events that transpired there. Will her cybernetic eyes reveal the secrets hidden within these walls? Or will they blind her to the truth?
Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story is a classic point-and-click adventure game that is aiming to combine the sci-fi style of Blade Runner with the supernatural beliefs of Asian folklore. Taking inspiration from games like Clock Tower, the developers hope to create an atmosphere of dread that will hopefully generate fear from within your own mind rather than relying on overdone tropes such as jump scares. Controlling Mei-Lin, you will be tasked with investigating the different rooms and floors of the building searching for items and conversing with NPCs. In addition to the living residents of the building there are also 14 ghosts roaming the halls. You will need to find a way to help them pass on, but these vengeful spirits aren’t going to make it easy on you. In fact, some secrets won’t reveal themselves until your second play-through; a nice treat for completionists like myself.
At the time of this writing, there is only one week left to support this campaign. So far, they have been able to raise about half of their $18,000 goal, but they have a lot of ground to gain in a short amount of time. Show your support in any way you can! It can truly make all the difference in situations like this. Grab yourself a digital copy of the game for just $20, or go all in for bonus rewards like a limited edition physical boxed set including the game, soundtrack and art book or even the chance to add your own character into the game! The team is aiming for a full release around October of next year, but will be offering early access to eligible backers. At launch, the game will be available on Steam or DRM-Free for PC, Mac and Linux. If they receive enough support, there are stretch goals planned for PS4, PS Vita and Switch ports as well.
Unless you’re a history buff, you may not be familiar with the infamous Whitechapel murders that occurred in London in 1888, but nearly everyone is aware of the killer responsible for those deaths, Jack the Ripper. History tells us that this nefarious criminal was never caught, but is that truly the case? Enter the immortal knight of Arthurian legend, Sir Lancelot Du Lac, and the alluring sorceress, Morgana Le Fey. Morgana, trapped in the body of a hound by an old curse, picks up on some clues of occult origin surrounding the murders. Bound by a sense of justice, Lancelot joins her to take up the pursuit of the unknown assailant. Soon after starting their investigation, they meet Mary Kelly, a local woman with a magical secret that could hold the key to identifying the killer. This unlikely trio set off to put an end to this twisted killing spree once and for all.
Du Lac & Fey: Dance of Death is a point-and-click adventure game with modern sensibilities like those made popular by Telltale Games. The narrative will follow all three main characters, putting you in control of each one depending on the situation. In addition to searching for clues, you will also be conversing with various townspeople and members of law enforcement. Character interactions will give you the choice of what to say and how to act, thus causing the game’s plot to deviate depending on your actions. Visually, the game is very striking as it attempts to blend 3D models with hand-painted textures. It also features an all-star voice cast including Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood) as Lancelot, Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful) as Morgana and Alexandra Roach (Black Mirror) as Mary. All in all, you get a gorgeous indie game that looks and feels like a AAA title.
While the campaign has been going well, with 50% of their $53,000 goal already collected, there is just over a week left for the project to earn the remaining funds. Immediate support is needed if this Kickstarter hopes to be successful. Please, do your part to spread the word! Better yet, you can donate $25 to get a digital copy of the game for yourself. If you choose to give even more, you can receive such bonus items as a signed comic book prequel, a custom deck of tarot cards or even a replica silk tie or chiffon scarf! If successful, the game is expected to see a release around Summer of next year. It will be available, at launch, through Steam for PC as well as Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Mac and Linux builds will follow, along with possible releases on iOS and Switch. DRM-Free options may also be offered, with enough support, at a later date.
Ancient Indian life was one of simplicity, but also of resounding spiritual faith and great fear of the darkness. The people worshiped a variety of gods who they believed to bestow upon them warmth, prosperity and peace. However, there was also a firm belief in demons who would punish the wicked, the impure and the faithless. Our story centers on Raji, a young woman whose village is beset by monsters. During the madness, she is knocked unconscious and her little brother is abducted. When she awakes, she finds herself surrounded by monsters. With things at their bleakest, a great staff splits the heavens and crashes to the ground in an amazing flash of light that vaporizes the beasts. With some trepidation, Raji recovers the weapon and discovers that it is brimming with holy energy. The stronger her faith in the gods, the more powerful it becomes.
Raji: An Ancient Epic is an overhead action-adventure game that is steeped within the lore and visuals of ancient Indian civilizations and Hindu mythology. The developers are hoping to represent Indian culture in both the designs of the characters as well as authentic regional sounds and music. As Raji, you will be tasked with exploring the expansive Indian landscapes battling monsters and looking for clues to your brothers whereabouts. In your travels, you will uncover shrines to the various gods and goddesses. Praying at these shrines will bless your weapon with different elemental properties and battle techniques. This allows you to tailor your gameplay experience to the play style that suits you best. Each area will pit you against legions of monsters before facing off against a powerful demonic boss. Check out the game’s demo to get a feel for the game yourself.
There is about a week and a half remaining to support this campaign. Thus far, they have raised roughly a third of their $160,000 goal, but they have a long way yet to go. If you enjoy the demo, share it around and consider tossing even a couple dollars their way. If you loved the demo, go ahead and pick up a copy of the full game for just $20. If you’re feeling really generous, a sizable donation will get you some extra items like t-shirts, art books and even beautifully sculpted statues. The development team are currently estimating the full release of the game around June of 2019. At launch, assuming their goal is reached, you will be able to find the game on Steam for PC users as well as ports for Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
When I was growing up, I was an avid reader. While I didn’t much like going to school, I loved being able to check out books from the school’s library. It was here that I found my first “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Suddenly, reading a book became an interactive experience by allowing you to choose what the characters did in certain situations. I loved reading through each book over and over to discover all the different ways the story could unfold. In time, I had a modest collection of these books as well as TSR’s “Pick a Path to Adventure” books and a variety of similarly themed books from other publishers. Over time, this sub-genre of fiction literature faded into obscurity. The age of video games certainly played a part in its demise as they allowed you to have much more control over a story’s narrative. Still, I’ve always hoped they would return.
The Ballad Singer is a visual novel game that is sure to be the answer to my prayers. The developers admit to being inspired by those old books as well as role-playing games and are hard at work creating a massive narrative with player choice at the forefront of the design. The story takes place in a fantastical world known as Hesperia which is brimming with magic and wondrous creatures. There are four protagonists which you can switch between after each chapter. The choices of one character can have lasting effects which could influence the stories of the others. Knowing each character’s strengths and weaknesses will be critical as one wrong move could bring about their untimely death. Overall, the game is said to provide over 1,700 stories with 40 possible endings. On top of this, the game features fully voiced narration, music and animated illustrations, making it a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.
So far, it seems I’m not the only one who is excited for this concept as the campaign has already raised half of their $30,000 minimum goal. With just over two weeks to go, things are pacing well, but your support will be integral in keeping that momentum going. Support the project through the link on this page and your pledge will count towards unlocking a co-op mode! You can pick up a Kickstarter-exclusive copy of the game with roughly 10% more content than the retail version for as little as $20. Higher donation tiers include rewards such as early access, a prequel e-book, and miniatures of two of the main characters! The project is currently planning to be released around November of next year. Upon launch, the game will be available through Steam or DRM-Free for PC and Mac. Post launch, there are plans to port the game to iOS and Android with cross-compatible save data!
Long ago, the world was ruled by a vicious god-like creature dubbed the Elder Being. Its empire was vast and its influence stretched out to every corner of the land. While some unquestionably followed it, most people lived in constant fear of its terrible might. Over time, five brave individuals banded together with the goal of overthrowing this monster. The challenge was immense, but these gallant heroes were able to persevere and used their combined power to seal the Elder Being away. With the threat of its evil quelled, the world soon entered a new age of growth and prosperity. The Five, as they became known, worked together to wash away all memory of those darker times. However, ardent worshipers of the Elder Being succeeded in freeing it from its prison. Now, armed with a cheery grin and a guitar, it aims to reclaim the land through the power of music!
Choreo: Legend of Loco is an adorably charming side-scrolling platformer with a musical twist. Taking a page from the likes of Cuphead, this game features a blend of classic 1920’s and 1930’s character designs. Loco, our main character, has assumed the guise of an undead mariachi guitarist, so it is he that is playing the music heard in the game. As you explore each area, you will discover other strange characters who will join you on your quest. Each follower adds another instrument to the music track until you have a robust song. The more followers Loco has, the more powers he has access to as well. In total, the game will have five unique areas comprised of multiple levels each with their own enemies, followers, and a member of the Five as a boss. Additionally, new skills and mechanics will be gradually introduced in each new area to help keep things fresh. Check out the game’s demo for a closer look.
This campaign actually only started a couple of days ago, so they still have a full month to reach their $13,000 funding goal. That said, your early support will help set the pace for how quickly this project can become a success. Many brilliant 2D platformers have been born through crowdfunding, so let’s add this one to the list! A copy of the game will only set you back about $10. Generous contributors will earn extra treats like art books, soundtracks and posters as well as special rewards like a t-shirt or a statue of Loco himself! This talented two-man team is currently aiming for a December 2018 launch window. Upon release, the game will be available on Steam or DRM-Free on PC and Mac.
Of the games I featured in November, Desert Child and Find Me successfully met their funding goals! Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Shadow of the Mask, Ciel Fledge or The Untold Legacy. Fortunately, these developers are pushing forward in spite of this defeat. If any of these teams decide to relaunch their projects on Kickstarter, I will be sure to let you know.
In fact, in the case of The Untold Legacy, they used their spare time during the campaign to develop a short 2D platforming game set in the same universe called The Under! If you want to get a taste of the mythology of the main game, be sure to give this one a try on Steam for just $2!
And, as always, until next month, happy gaming!