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, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, 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 October 2016:
The story of Tiny Metal centers around two neighboring nations, Artemisia and Zipang. While there has been peace for many years, when the Artemisian king’s transport mysteriously explodes, their armed forces waste no time mobilizing an attack on Zipang. This offensive is joined by the independent military force called the White Fangs, ensuring that this small squad is a force to be reckoned with. While Lord Tsukomo knows that his Zipang forces outnumber the approaching offensive, he knows not to be hasty lest he underestimate their refined combat prowess. Regardless, one thing is definitely certain; Artemisia and Zipang are at war.
Tiny Metal is a turn-based tactical RPG being developed by a star-studded team including Scenario Supervisor Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Koudelka), Story Supervisor Hiro Inaba (I am Setsuna, Arc the Lad) and 3D Modeller Mutsumi Oda (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Parasite Eve 2). The game’s military theme and cutesy art direction immediately call up comparisons to the Advanced Wars series. This is a fair comparison as this game also boasts a robust arsenal of troop types and vehicles as well as strategic battlefields where different terrain types can enhance or hinder your squad. To get a taste of the action yourself, be sure to check out the demo available on their campaign page.
The campaign is already about 50% funded, so there is a great chance of this game getting the rest of the funding it needs in the two weeks it has remaining. You can pick up a digital copy for as little as $20 and a physical copy for only $50. Other rewards include the game’s soundtrack, beta access or even the chance to design a character. The development team is anticipating a release window of June 2017. At launch, the game will be available through Steam for PC only. Mac and Linux versions will be released at later dates.
The year is 2219 A.D. and humanity has spread itself across the stars. However, this progress is interrupted by a renegade force originating from the Mars colony. The rebels seize control of the Jump Stations which allow quick travel across the cosmos, cutting Earth off from the rest of the galaxy. The Rebel Forces then descend upon the Moon and overtake the Lunar colony. The Earth’s United Nations must now mobilize a counterattack before these terrorists take their fight to Earth itself. The time has come to initiate Code: HARDCORE.
Code: HARDCORE is a gorgeous 2D-animated action game featuring mech (or giant robot) combat as the main event. The game will feature more than 15 different mechs ranging in style and design including heavy artillery, extreme speed and even transforming. Mechs can even be upgraded as well as outfitted with a variety of weapons and color schemes. In addition to choosing your mech, you will also choose your pilot. During play, your pilot can be ejected from his mech in order to enter buildings, plant bombs or even commandeer enemy mechs. Each pilot has access to unique skills, so be sure to choose a pilot to best compliment your mech. The game will feature a full-fledged single-player story mode as well as a 4-player versus mode and co-op survival mode.
With nearly three weeks left in their campaign, this game has already met its funding goal and crushed a few stretch goals as well. Still, the team has a lot more features that they would like to include, so your pledge can still help to make this game even bigger and better. A digital copy of the game can be purchased for as little as $15 with higher tiers offering rewards like backer-exclusive weapons or mech skins as well as a 7.2″ metal action figure of one of the mechs. The game is expected to launch in late 2017 and will be available on Steam for PC and Mac or via PSN for Playstation 4.
‘Tis a tale as old as time; a handsome Prince falls in love with a beautiful Princess and the two are set to marry. Alas, just as they are moments from exchanging their vows, the Princess is snatched from the altar by a twisted demon and whisked away to the kingdom of a rival Lord. This would be the point in the story where the Prince, brimming with courage and honor, sets off to save his beloved. Yet, this time, the Prince is instead filled with rage. He curses the gods for allowing this travesty to befall him and he embarks on a journey to both save the Princess and denounce the gods themselves, freeing himself from their influence.
One look at this game, and you know this is something special. William Shakespeare once said that all the world is a stage and, in Backdrop, it actually is. The game’s world is designed like the sets of a play, filled with shifting backdrops and flamboyant characters. As the player, it is your choice to decide how the Prince will act. Will he be kind and benevolent? Or will he be cruel and wicked? Your choices will effect the world and events that unfold around you. The Prince will also gain access to different masks that will not only change his appearance, but also his personality. When the story calls for combat, colorful words will hold just as much weight as cold steel, granting you bonuses or penalties depending on what you say.
While there is more than two weeks remaining in this campaign, the team is still quite far from reaching their goal. Show your support early and help spread the word to ensure this gorgeous and unique game can be made. A digital copy can be obtained for as little as $20 with an Early Bird tier. Pledging a higher amount can get you the game’s soundtrack and art book, a physical copy of the game or even a full license to the game’s art assets for use in your own project! With enough funding, the game will be available around September of 2017. At launch, the game will be available through Steam or DRM-Free for PC and Mac with a Linux version later on.
In the world of Code 7, humanity has recently launched a small team of scientists into space to set up the first interstellar colony. With terra-forming equipment, research tools and a helpful A.I. at their disposal, their efforts seem fruitful. That is, until the whole station suddenly falls silent. Two special agents, Sam and Alex, are charged with finding out what happened. What they discover is beyond their wildest dreams and could, if not stopped, jeopardize the lives of every single person on Earth.
The developers of the game describe it as a “next-gen text adventure” and I couldn’t agree more. At its core, the player interacts with the game strictly through typing commands. However, rather than bring greeted by a silent wall of text as in games of this genre from the past, Code 7 features vibrant visuals, fully voiced characters and an atmospheric soundtrack. Aside from text commands, there are also many different mini-games revolving around hacking into a computer or guiding a character through a dangerous situation that will break up the text-based sequences. Get a taste of what’s in store by downloading Episode 0 on the campaign page.
As of this writing, there are three weeks left to support this campaign and they have already crossed the halfway point. A digital copy of the full game can be acquired for as low as $15. Other available rewards include physical copies of the game, in both regular and steel book editions, as well as the soundtrack, a t-shirt and an eBook prequel story. The game will be released over five episodes with Episode 1 planned for April of 2017. At launch, Code 7 will be offered through Steam or DRM-Free for PC, Mac and Linux.
A quiet, little seaside village is suddenly attacked by imps. With no way to properly defend themselves, a hero rises to save the town in the form of a bearded farmer named Branson. He manages to force the imps out of town but, in an attempt to reclaim the town’s stolen property from the imp’s hideout, he finds himself captured and imprisoned. As fate would have it, Branson’s cell-mate is a wizard barber who imbues the farmer’s beard with new, hair-raising abilities. Dubbing himself Beard Blade, our hero escapes from his confines with a vow to bring these mischievous imps to justice.
The colorful, pixel-art design of Beard Blade is fueled by nostalgia for the 16-bit platformers of the SNES. Heavily inspired by Wario Land and Yoshi’s Island, the game will have you running, jumping, punching and smashing your way through over twenty levels. Different power-ups will enable Branson to utilize his magic beard in a variety of ways. Deciding what powers will suit each level best will dictate how challenging each stage will be. There will be plenty of collectibles and side-quests scattered about the game world to scratch your completionist itch as well. Check out the demo available on the campaign page to get a feel for the game.
There is a little more than three weeks left in the campaign. While there first few days have brought in nearly 400 backers, they still have a long way to go before reaching their funding goal. A digital copy of the game will only set you back $10. Rewards such as a digital soundtrack, a retro-style manual, a t-shirt and a hardcover artbook will await more generous contributors. The developers are aiming for a release window of early 2018 with the game being available via Steam for PC only. Other platforms may be offered, but only if the campaign can raise enough extra funding before its end.
Of the games I featured in September, only BlubBlub reached its funding goal. Astro Boy: Edge of Time is not only still pushing forward with development, but they are also still going to honor their backer rewards…for free! Vulpine will continue onward as well, aiming for another Kickstarter attempt somewhere down the line. Broken Reality and Alkimya are pressing ahead as well, but will be moving at a slower pace and, possibly, a smaller scale. As always, I will be sure to share any and all updates on these projects as they progress.
Speaking of past projects, a point-and-click game I featured back in August of 2015 has finally been released! The Last Time is available on Steam and itch.io right now! Be sure to check it out! Until next month, happy gaming!