Kickstarter and its generous community have brought the video gaming world some top-notch entertainment over the last few years. Games like Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Superhot, 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 amidst 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 July 2016:
You awake on the dusty ground of an unfamiliar world surrounded by the burning wreckage of a spaceship. You have no idea how you got here or even who you are but, judging by your spacesuit, you are sure the ship was yours. Low on resources and short on supplies, you must traverse this alien world in order to piece together both your broken ship and your memories. You don’t know if you were meant to be on this world, but the aggressive fauna and hostile automatons sure don’t make you feel welcome. Let’s not forget that eerie black orb you stumbled upon either. This is TRANSMISSION.
TRANSMISSION is being designed as an exploration-based action/adventure game. Presented from an isometric view, you can easily take in the gorgeous, hand-painted environments of the world around you. While the protagonists spaceship has crashed, the laboratory/med-lab is still operational. You will be tasked with collecting various resources and items in order to upgrade your gear and repair your ship. As you venture out into the surrounding areas, you will begin to remember bits of your past. These memories will be presented as beautiful cutscenes that really drive home the intended visual style of a painting in motion. Combat will also play a big part in the game as you will need to use your shield, melee and ranged weaponry in order to avoid injury and defeat alien creatures. Fortunately, you won’t be going through all of this completely alone, your ship’s on-board A.I. will be there to help answer questions and even wax philosophical with you. In all, between the game’s art direction, the upgrade system and the simple bliss of exploring an alien world, I am very excited by what this game is trying to accomplish.
The campaign’s reward tiers offer some nice perks and gradually priced tiers. Grab a copy of the game for as little as $14, or tack on some more cash to gain access to digital art and sound collections as well as signed physical art prints. As of this writing, the game has raised about 1/3 of their $84K goal, but there is less than a week left to show your support and help bring this game into being. Upon release, the game will be made available DRM-Free for PC, Mac and Linux. PS4 and Xbox One versions may be offered via stretch goals.
As a young child, the world is still so full of wonders. Even the most mundane objects or ideas can seem magical or terrifying. Each new discovery presents a bevy of possibilities. One of the greatest discoveries in a young child’s life has to be when they meet their best friend. With a friend by their side, everything seems less scary and impossible feats seem easy. At a certain point, it feels like the two of them do everything together. Alas, there comes the day when that best friend disappears. What is a child to do then?
Nimbi is the story of a young boy who, with the help of his pet kitty and armed with his imagination, sets out to track down the whereabouts of his missing best friend. Along the way, he will meet colorful characters that will bestow up him hooded onesies that will grant him some of their powers. With the abilities these onesies provide, young Nimbi will need to solve a series of puzzles and problems in order to traverse each level and reach the exit. The game’s cutesy aesthetic and colorful world exude such an innocent, simplistic charm. If you are curious to get a feel for yourself, you can download the game’s demo. The demo features two playable levels and the Elephant Onesie. With just the basic features in place, I still had a great time roaming around the environments and solving the puzzles. I look forward to seeing how this game evolves as development continues.
The reward tiers on this campaign are very generous. You can get a copy of the game for as little as $11. Higher tiers will offer digital goodies like an artbook and a soundtrack as well as physical treasures like patches, keychains and t-shirts. As I am writing this, there is only a week left to fund this project and they still need $16K to hit their base goal. Once released, the game will be offered on PC, Mac and Linux via Steam or DRM-Free. There is a stretch goal to add Xbox One and PS4 versions as well.
Art definitely plays a big part in constructing a game’s world. However, once in a rare while, you find a game where the art itself is the main character. Aik is shaping up to be one such game. The world and characters of Aik look like an impressionist painting comes to life. While this, ultimately, is a puzzle/platformer, the art direction of this game makes it feel like so much more. The monochromatic color scheme gives the game an added layer of mystery and danger that might not have existed otherwise. This game is, in a word, beautiful.
As I mentioned, the game itself is a puzzle/platformer. However, the game will boast a non-linear story and a sprawling open world. Discovery and observation will be integral to navigating an area. Animals will need to be studied before they can be defeated and quests will be issued exclusively by visual cues rather than dialogue. As the titular character, Aik, you will need to solve puzzles and defeat aggressive creatures in order to gain new abilities. Each new area you discover will reveal more information about the world as well as Aik itself. What is Aik’s purpose in life? I can’t wait to find out. Beyond the game’s gorgeous visuals, the idea of deciphering what each new mission’s objective is from visual cues sounds very intriguing. I am curious to see how the AI of the different creatures will be designed. The campaign video is full of such wonderful glimpses at how engaging this game could be.
An early bird copy of the game will only set you back about $9. To sweeten the deal, the first 150 backers will receive a free upgrade to the Kickstarter-exclusive Limited Edition version of the game. Higher tiers will get you a digital artbook, beta access or even some signed original artwork. At the time of this writing, there is just over two weeks left in this campaign and they still need about $9K to hit their goal. When the game releases, it will be available DRM-Free for either PC or Mac.
This story is set in a post-apocalyptic world; life barely clinging to the decayed ruins of the war-torn landscape. The title character is a mechanic, specializing in keeping the few machines that still work running. He lived a fairly solitary life until the day Jodie appeared. What started as a repair request for a busted bike turned into a three month, passion-filled relationship. Then, Buck woke one morning to find Jodie had vanished, leaving her bike behind. Did she leave? Or had she been abducted? Whatever the case, Buck was going to find out, no matter how many punks he’d need to put down in the process.
Buck is an story-driven action-adventure game. Combat will feature a variety of ranged and melee attacks as well as a variety of different weapons. As a mechanic, Buck will also be able to customize his weaponry using parts and materials that he uncovers in his travels. Story segments will allow the player to choose Buck’s responses to NPCs which could open or close certain paths depending on his attitude. The game will also feature full voice acting and includes notable actors such as YouTuber, James “Caddicarus” Caddick. If you would like to get a taste of the game, a pre-alpha build is available to download through Steam. I am a sucker for games that offer dialogue options, and I’ve yet to meet a Metroidvania I didn’t like. The combat is already very fun to engage in and what’s there is only about 50% implemented. I look forward to helping Buck crack some skulls in the future.
There are still some early bird tiers available, so you can grab a download code for as low as $8. Pledging for more can get you the soundtrack, artbook and even a physical copy of the game. If you’re really feeling generous, you can even get your own pet included as an NPC in the game. There are three weeks left to support this game, but with around $18K still to go, be sure to show your support sooner rather than later. At launch, the game will be available on PC, Mac or Linux via Steam or DRM-Free as well as PS4 and Xbox One.
Safina is, arguably, the most talented witch to ever grace the prestigious halls of Ikenfell. She may get up to more than her fair share of mischief, but she has saved her school from many dangers and has even gained the respect of the school’s headmistress. You can see, then, why the school would be stunned to discover that Safina has disappeared just before this year’s summer break. To make matters worse, the headmistress is nowhere to be found either! Who could possibly unravel such a mystery? How about Safina’s sister, Maritte? Okay, she wasn’t born with magical ability and, sure, the school may have rejected her application, but sisters have to look out for each other…right?
Ikenfell is being billed as a JRPG inspired by the likes of Earthbound and the Mario & Luigi series. The game is planned to feature turn-based battles as well as timing-based combat, allowing you to defend or attack more effectively by pressing buttons at the right moment. The school itself will be massive and chock-full of hidden areas, powerful magical items and dark secrets. Maritte will be joined by a colorful cast of characters that will both aide and impede her on her quest. Be ready for some magical duels with potential arch-rivals, too. Oh, and I should also mention that the game will feature music from aivi & surasshu, the composers of Steven Universe. As an RPG fan, this game is pushing all the right buttons. The timing-based combat reminds me of Super Mario RPG and the character designs are just adorable. I am eager to walk the halls of Ikenfell and discover its many secrets.
A copy of the game can be obtained for little as $9, but contributing a bit more can get you the soundtrack, an artbook or even a pixel portrait of yourself in the style of the game. The game has already reached its initial funding goal, but there are three weeks left to help enhance the game via stretch goals. Things like enhancing the soundtrack, including voice overs and adding more animations and content to the game are still within reach if you can show your support. When the game debuts, you’ll be able to play it on PC or Mac.
You may have noticed that I took a few months off. A lot has happened since October 2015, but let’s try to summarize them really quickly. For starters, two games I featured in my July 2015 article, Steamroll and One Final Breath, have been released via Steam! The Allison Road Kickstarter was canceled in favor of traditional publishing…and was then canceled altogether after their publishing deal fell through. Fear Effect: Sedna, a new game in the Fear Effect series was funded through Kickstarter. And, lastly, the Lynn and the Spirits of Inao Kickstarter video game turned out to be as shady as it was beautiful. That’s all for this month, so I’ll see you in August!