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 Yooka-Laylee, Friday the 13th: The Game, and System Shock 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 January 2017:
In a time when space travel is most prevalent, there will inevitably be accidents that occur. This could result in the loss of valuable technology and resources as well as rare discoveries. The main story of the game follows the exploits of Aryn Vance and John Kindley, members of the Salvage and Rescue Operation, an initiative created in order to reclaim lost items and repair derelict ships or outposts. During a routine salvage operation, Aryn and John discover an unknown spacecraft. They quickly learn that this is no ordinary ship, but they have only seen the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead them to the most amazing discovery of their lifetimes.
Stardrop is a first-person adventure/exploration game that places you in the role of Aryn Vance. Your main mission will be to search the mysterious spacecraft for clues while your trusty associate, John Kindley, remotely provides you with intel from on board your ship. Each area of the craft will house numerous environmental puzzles that you will need to solve in order to uncover the origins and fate of the vessel. The game will even showcase periods of weightlessness in certain areas. The puzzle variety will also be quite divese, which should prevent the game from becoming repetitive or boring. You will also unlock numerous side missions during the main story which will help to expand the game’s narrative and extend your play time. To get a taste of what’s in store, check out the demo of the first chapter as well as a special Christmas-themed side mission.
There are only a handful of days left to back this project. They are over 90% funded, so this game will soon become a reality with just a little bit more help. A digital copy of the game will set you back only $14 which includes Early Access as well as any future DLC. Higher tiers are offering the chance to include your own text or audio log in the game or even the chance to design a character or an entire side mission! Early access will begin in September 2017 with the final game planned to be ready in October. At launch, the game will be available through Steam or DRM-Free through itch.io for Windows, Mac and Linux.
In the Line of Fire
I’ve never shared this here, but my favorite home console of all time is far and away the Sega Dreamcast. With it’s incredible library of games combined with out-of-the-box 4-player local or online multiplayer support, it was a system that paved the way for console gaming as we know it today. Even though the system was discontinued back in 2001, passionate fans and game developers continue to keep the system alive and kicking. In the Line of Fire is hoping to be the newest game in the Dreamcast’s ever-growing homebrew library. What makes this even cooler, is that this will be one of only a select few FPS games available for the console.
While this game is a first-person shooter, it will offer a robust single-player campaign as well as split-screen local multiplayer. In the main game, you will control a 4-person SWAT team; assuming the role of one while issuing commands to the other three. Each level allows you to change which officer you control, so you always have the right skills (or weapons) for the job. The game will also feature an upgrade system which will allow you to enhance your team’s abilities, such as speed, accuracy and weapon damage. The development team is also hoping to reach a stretch goal enabling them to include online multiplayer support as well.
There is just over a week left in this funding campaign, but they are a long way from their goal. If you’re a Dreamcast fan, you owe it to yourself to back this game. A standard copy will set you back $50, but will be packaged just like a retail Dreamcast game including a jewel case, game disc and instruction manual. Pledge a larger sum and you can get a deluxe version which includes a soundtrack CD or even a limited edition version that includes a printed art book. The dev team is planning for a release window of December 2017. As you can assume, it will be available at launch exclusively for the Sega Dreamcast.
The 1980’s were a veritable boon for RPGs, giving rise to long-running franchises such as Ultima and Final Fantasy. For me, PC-gaming in the 80’s began and ended with the Commodore 64. The developers at Stirring Dragon Games love this old workhorse as well, which is why they are working to create a new RPG playable on modern computers as well as the trusty C64. While the game is being built as a C64 title first, the PC version will feature numerous visual filters and music formats that can be changed on the fly. So, whether you grew up with a C64, a ZX Spectrum or a NES, there is a color palette waiting for you.
Unknown Realm is a top-down RPG that casts you in the role of a young man whose search for his missing uncle finds him transported into a fantasy world. He will need to adapt quickly in order to survive against the various monsters and nefarious characters that roam the land. Fortunately, this game boils combat down to its turn-based essentials while also doing away with needless XP grinding in order to put the game’s main focus on the story. Your actions will have a direct effect on the characters and the world, so don’t make your choices lightly. There are plenty of NPCs to be recruited, and a wealth of side missions and mini-games round out this already impressive-looking game.
There are just under two weeks left to support this project. While the main goal has been reached, there are some wonderful stretch goals that you can help unlock with your pledge that will enhance the final game with even more features. A digital PC copy can be obtained for just $19 which also includes a host of digital goodies. Higher tiers can get you a physical PC copy, a selection of physical items (or “feelies”) and even the coveted C64 game cartridge which offers re-writable save data and near-instant load times. The game’s launch is planned for December 2017 on Windows, Mac and C64.
Super Red-Hot Hero
It’s the distant year of 2016 and an incredible new planet has been discovered that is teeming with volcanic activity. The brilliant scientist, Dr. Professor, has worked out a deal with the planet’s mighty King Kazan to harness the powerful energy of the planet’s magma to created a new form of energy. This Red-Hot Energy is shared with the Kazan army in the form of new weaponry and armor. Finally, an artificial heart is transplanted into a Kazan native which transforms him into the Super Red-Hot Hero! Alas, before they can begin mass-producing these implants, the Hero escapes the science base and plans to use his power to overthrow the King.
Super Red-Hot Hero is a side-scrolling 2D action-platformer. One glance at this game and you can immediately see the MegaMan-style inspiration. As the eponymous Hero, you are able to punch and blast your way through King Kazan’s forces as well as being able to use your special ability of teleporting through explosions. With access to this power, how and where you destroy your enemies will dictate how you can traverse through an area. With loads of hidden power-ups and secret areas combined with a variety of enemies and unique bosses, this game is sure to scratch the itch of MegaMan fans everywhere. Be sure to check out the demo available on the campaign page.
With a little more than two weeks left, this campaign is about 60% of the way to its goal. A Super Early-Bird tier can get you a copy of the game for just $7. Other rewards include downloads of the soundtrack and art book as well as postcards, t-shirts and the ability to design an enemy in the game! The developers are planning the release around September 2017. At launch, the game will be available through Steam for Windows. PS4 and Xbox One versions are also possible, assuming the corresponding stretch goal is met.
The Tale of the Ice Staff
Long ago, the world was host to both humans and incredible beasts. In a struggle for dominance, man waged war against monster. The conflict ensued for many years until, finally, humanity had bested the creatures, wiping them from existence. However, the fantastical beings were not wiped out, but merely took up residence in a parallel dimension. Now, centuries later, these fiends have returned to our world to take their revenge. Only a young woman with the power to wield magic stands between them and their goal of world domination.
The Tale of the Ice Staff is an Action-RPG with a beautiful pixel-art aesthetic. The game offers multiple ways to control your character as you fight your way through hordes of adversaries; melee combat, ranged spell-casting or even summoning totems to fight in your place. Each area you travel to will be randomly generated and will be full of hidden items and lore, side quests and challenges. The developers claim that there will be over 40 hours of gameplay as well as a host of collectibles such as a robust bestiary unlocked by defeating the games 150+ enemies.
There is just about three weeks left in the campaign, but there is a long way to go before they meet their goal. You can grab a copy of the game for just $10. Paying a bit more will get you other goodies such as the soundtrack, a variety of key-chains, posters and t-shirts. Higher tiers will even let you design a monster, a mini-boss or even an entire side-quest. The game is planned for release some time in 2017 and will be available on Windows, Mac and Linux at launch. Stretch goals are set to also release the game on 3DS, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Of the games I featured in December, Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King, Jupiter Hell, Sharin no Kuni and Balthazar’s Dream were all successfully funded! Alas, Legrand Legacy was not as fortunate. The developers are still pressing onward in their spare time. Be sure to check their campaign page for ways that you can support them. If they decide to relaunch their campaign, I will be sure to let you know.
Happy New Year! And, until next month, happy gaming!