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Kickstarter Weekly: Witchmarsh, Within and Pale Blue

Games that combine genres

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Welcome back to The Koalition’s Kickstarter Weekly. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to find a common theme between each of three games, and that trend continues this week, unfortunately. In the meantime, I found three different games that either take an existing genre and apply it to a new setting such as Witchmarsh, or create an unusual, promising hybrid of genres like Within and Pale Blue. However, I was THIS close to finding three interesting games whose titles began with a “w.” Oh well.

Witchmarsh

Project By: Inglenook

Goal: £50,000

Current Funds: £37,106

End: June 15, 2014

One of the trends I’ve noticed on Kickstarter is the amount of developers who attempt to take classic RPGs and apply them to new settings. For example, Pixel Noir wanted to players to solve mysteries in a noir setting, and Prisonscape showed us what Chrono Trigger would look like if it was set in the penal system (and it’s not pretty). I’m all for this trend continuing as long as possible, and Inglenook’s Witchmarsh serves as another example for why.

Witchmarsh is an action RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts, and to me it it gives off a Symphony of the Night vibe. It stars a group of detectives in the roaring twenties who search for the mysteriously vanished Witchmarsh Twelve. In order to claim their reward, they’ll have to explore the darkest corners of America, and battle supernatural forces in order to survive.

While I mentioned that Witchmarsh looks similar Castlevania, Inglenook actually cites Baldur’s Gate and Wizardry as their sources of inspiration. Players navigate the world with a party of four in this 2D side-scroller. Combat is all action, meaning players need to dodge and plan their moves accordingly; of course, they’ll find plenty of gear, and they can level-up the party however they deem necessary. Exploring the world also appears to be open; however, being a group of detectives, the party will need to find leads in order to open up new passages. While exploring the world’s Gothic aesthetics, you’ll be accompanied by a jazz soundtrack, which fits in well with the story and setting.

Interestingly enough, Witchmarsh released an update that states they’re now partnered with publisher Chucklefish Games. The team still insists that their publisher is allowing them creative freedom. All they need from Kickstarter is an excuse to work on this creative project full-time.

Within

Project By: DESTINYbit

Goal: $28,000

Current Funds: $996

End: June 15, 2014

When discussing iPhone games, I, and many other game critics, have been guilty for writing “for a mobile game.” I realized that many of my readers do not care for mobile games, and I’ve even seen them call the platform a “cancer” or “evil” on another article I wrote. And while Within is a card-based fighting game for mobile devices, the developer’s Kickstarter page wants you to know that it is still a full-fledged game.

The team is trying to write a love-letter to the fighting game genre. It’s a traditional four-button fighting game with all of the staples: high/low attacks, cancels, chains and more. The game will also feature trading cards that allow you to customize your favorite character’s attributes. Apparently, the same two characters can fight, but the deck for each will completely change their fighting style.

Within is going to be a free-to-play game. While I realize that that carries a stigma, I think Within is heading in the right direction. Players will start off with eight characters, 140 cards, third-party controller support, and local and online roll-back based multiplayer. As for the controls, the team says they’re designing it off of arcade-sticks—hence the four-button setup. This is apparently the best way to retain the precision needed for fighting games on touchscreens.

Through community-driven efforts, the team has currently created and revealed two characters, and they already have a total of four characters planned out. What they need Kickstarter money for is to double the amount of characters, stages, and episodes.

Pale Blue

Project By: Tinker Games

Goal: $48,000

Current Funds: $10,871

End: June 19, 2014

Even though the trend is no longer new, I still find it compelling when creative-types attempt to tell the bad guy’s story. In this case, why do the bad guys of every 80s or 90s cartoon maintain their evil operations, even when the protagonists have thwarted them time after time? This is the story that Pale Blue hopes to tell.

With Pale Blue, Tinker Games created a story that they wanted to see in their favorite Super Hero shows such as Power Rangers, Kamen Rider, Jaeger and Ultraman among others. The COCOON organization is conducting their experiment codenamed Pale Blue, and their intent is to design the perfect utopia by killing all of the humans. In the process, they turned a girl named Ellen into a monster. Ellen apparently appreciates her new powers, and she sticks with the organization so she can cause havoc. As the story unfolds, Ellen gradually loses her remaining humanity—case in point, her arm looks like Tetsuo’s at the end of Akira.

Pale Blue is not a straight-forward action platformer. While Ellen has extraordinary powers, she will need to devour humans and other enemies in order to sustain her energy. This means that she’ll need to be stealthy at times. This doesn’t mean she’ll always need to hide; in fact, players can use stealth to their advantage by setting up some gnarly stealth-kills. Levels are linear but contain optional pathways to explore; some of these paths lead to contextual items that let you alter the environment. Finally, the game borrows from Tower Defense, and Ellen will have to recruit and deploy units to defend COCOON’s assets from the Aura Rangers–guess what characters they’re based on.

The game is still in the early stages, and the alpha footage is slightly disappointing because the enemies are too docile at the moment. Still, they have some great concept art, and the ideas are in place. If they can deliver on telling the bad guy’s tale, then Pale Blue has potential.

Other Projects?

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 garrett@thekoalition.com.

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Garrett Glass Senior Editor
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