Kickstarter has had a solid few weeks of games, and this week is no exception. As with last week’s issue, I found some colorful games that are solid entries within their respective genres, although each one features a unique twist. Retro-Pixel Castles is a village-simulator that allows you to do all of the planning but leaves the building to the villagers. Bedlam is a post-apocalyptic RPG with a colorful, yet grimey art-style. Finally, Battle Chef Brigade is a cooking simulator with a pinch of zesty action.
Project by: Raymond Doer
Current Funds: $1,817
End: October 26, 2014
One of the key features of a videogame, whether it’s an action game or in this case, village-building simulator, is empowerment. In real life, I’d be stabbed or shot if I picked a fight with anyone in Texas, and I doubt my capabilities of effectively building and running a city; in a video game, however, these anxieties are squelched. Raymond Doerr and his team, however, believe this empowerment is a detracting quality from village simulators, and he and his team created Retro-Pixel Castles in five months with one constant condition: the player will always lose.
In similar simulators, players have total control of every design aspect of their village; however, Retro-Pixel Castles requires players to place most of their faith in the villagers. The only thing that the players have any input is the planning of the village’s development; the villagers themselves carry out most of the tasks and even decide who will perform certain tasks. As you can imagine, every plan may seem perfect at first, except not everyone will be able to follow-through with their part while keeping in line with your vision. In other words, things can and will go wrong.
The main issue between you and your utopia are the monsters who prey upon your villagers. No matter what, these creatures will devour every last citizen, and your village will soon become a ghost town; however, Retro-Pixel Castles gives you plenty of opportunity to improve. With every passing session, the game becomes more difficult, but you unlock more items and content that you can use when you draw the blueprints for your next village. Such content includes new buildings, buildings, units and your own experience. This should help players constantly refine their strategy, rendering the same tactics unusable.
Raymond Doerr is the one-man team (such a fitting last name) Retro-Pixel Castles is being built by a one-man team, apart from the soundtrack which is being composed by José Ramón “Bibiki” García. Raymond is developing Retro-Pixel Castles while simultaneously studying Psychology. I bring this up because while the game comes complete with full content and map-editors, I think the game will be most interesting depending on how much of Raymond’s education is reflected in Retro-Pixel Castles.
Project by: Skyshine Games
Current Funds: $43,250
End: October 25, 2014
Even though it risks over-saturation, the post-apocalypse continues to be a fascinating setting. There’s a strange appeal to the collapse of society as we know it, probably because people like the idea of starting over with only their survival instincts. While there will be no shortage in post apocalyptic art or the consumers who enjoy them, it’s nice to know that games like Bedlam try to keep things visually appealing; in this case by using an art style inspired by 80s sci-fi comic books.
Bedlam is focused on exposing the grime that’s hidden beneath science fiction’s architecture. As technology advances, class warfare only continues to worsen, leading desperate men and women to perform risky jobs just to get by. The Mechanic, Bedlam’s gravel voiced protagonist, is one such man with a risky blue collar job, and he has the dangerous task of protecting the passengers and loot aboard the dozers from the bandits in the vast wastelands.
The dozers are moving fortresses that require a crew and a capable leader, that’s you, to operate, and you’re given only one crew and chance to travel to Bedlam safely. Combat, while turn-based, doesn’t use a turn-order, as you can choose to direct whichever unit you choose. While having a tactical mind is important for battle, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll outfit your dozer to survive the harsh climates of the wasteland. Throughout your trek, you’ll come across points-of-interests where you can find salvageable items; however, you’ll also risk radioactive storms and ambushes at these stops. As you can imagine, this game is a roguelike, which is fitting given its cruel, post-apocalyptic setting.
Apart from its eye-catching art-style, Bedlam’s appeal to backers lies within its team’s experience and the engine that they’re using. The team has worked on AAA titles such as Fallout and Skyrim. However, they’re using the same engine that powered a successfully funded game on Kickstarter, The Banner Saga, a beautiful game that our Editor-in-Chief, Richard Bailey, thought very highly of. You can see the potential for Bedlam in the engine alone.
Project by: Trinket Studios
Current Funds: $26,168
End: October 27, 2014
I live with many roommates who tend to watch reality TV shows, and, as someone who despises reality TV, I can’t help but think of ridiculous gimmicks to make each show more interesting. Jim Sterling once did a comedy bit on his podcast about how Gordon Ramsay should create a show where chefs fight each other in mortal kombat; while I wouldn’t want a show in which people risked their lives over something so senseless, I admit such a concept would make Kitchen Nightmares seem more interesting. However, such violence is welcome in the virtual world of Battle Chef Brigade.
Battle Chef Brigade should appeal to our food-porn obsessed culture as well as fans of action games. In this fantasy world, chefs of all races and species with the proper cooking chops gather to compete in the deadliest, most hardcore cooking competition–Iron Chef and Kitchen Nightmares eat your hearts out. As with most cooking shows, contestants use the mandatory ingredients and concoct a hopefully delicious meal, under a time limit no less, and hopefully appeal to every judge’s exceptional taste buds. The only difference is that the ingredients are alive, combat-efficient monsters, and each chef needs to hunt them down in order to gather the necessary ingredients–as if the time limit weren’t enough (no pressure)!
What’s interesting about Battle Chef Brigade’s magic system is that it serves dual purposes: cooking and fighting. Learning the proper magic spells can literally be the difference survival and mastery of the culinary arts. Each chef also boasts a unique personality and a corresponding fighting style, such as the quick footed, knife wielding Mina and the sly, trap-setting Kirin. Of course, each personality will react to each chef’s personality differently, and judges come from unique races with a difference in preference for flavors. It’s a delicate yet fast-paced balancing act that sounds difficult yet rewarding to master–kind of like actual cooking.
Battle Chef Brigade is one of the few Kickstarter projects in which I have utmost confidence in. I have never heard of such an interesting concept, which makes it stand out from the rest of its competition. The team has years of experience testing the waters with smaller games, and it thankfully breaks down the cost–something that many developers should consider doing. While I realize these traits doesn’t exclude it from having problems, I’m sure Battle Chef Brigade will provide the magic touch that reality TV desperately needs.
Have you seen any interesting projects on Kickstarter that you think deserve mention? Are you a developer who is currently running a Kickstarter campaign? Let us know in the comments section, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.