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Kickstarter Weekly: Caffeine, SumoBoy and Shiness

Welcome back for the 26th issue of The Koalition’s Kickstarter Weekly. I’ve included this week three projects that provide a little kick. Caffeine is a horror game that could possibly serve as a substitute for the real ingredient that makes coffee so special. SumoBoy is a game that pushes back against bullying. And Shiness is a JRPG that has a more powerful graphics than its competition. Kick back and enjoy the trailers!


Project By: Inglenook

Goal: $70,000 (AUD)

Current Funds: $2,554 (AUD)

End: June 19, 2014

Space is certainly not the final frontier when it comes to survival horror. But there’s a good reason for that—apart from the nightmares caused by either Xenomorphs or Necromorphs, I mean. Each spacecraft is a long way from home (planet); to be isolated on one of these crafts must be taxing to the mind. Now, imagine combining this horror setting with the effects of drinking too much caffeine and you should know what the eponymous game is all about.

As in many sci-fi stories, Caffeine’s version of Earth has been depleted of its resources. Somewhere in space, a boy awakens alone on a mining station designed to procure the precious caffeine we enjoy in our coffee. With no memory, the boy must explore the station in order to find out what happened to the miners, as well what’s hidden in the shadows.

Caffeine is an exploration horror game; you won’t be wielding wooden planks with nails protruding out of them. All you can do is move with the keyboard and explore with the mouse. While some may not enjoy exploration games, they may feel inclined—depending on their tolerance for fright—to explore Caffeine’s bleak space station. Like many standard horror games, audio cues cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, and the mysterious shadow shown at the end of the trailer gives a vague yet threatening sense of what’s to come. There will also be puzzles to solve and audio logs to find, so don’t expect to just walk.

Caffeine is the creative product of Australian indie filmmaker Dylan Browne. He’s hoping the Kickstarter community can donate enough funds so that he can support himself until he releases the game in 2015. Caffeine will be coming to PC and PlayStation 4, and, depending on funding, possibly Oculus Rift.


Project By: TAPRR

Goal: $100,000 (AUD)

Current Funds: $5,600 (AUD)

End: June 26, 2014

I’m sure most people have experienced bullying in their life time. Maybe it happened to you as a child. Maybe you currently suffer from it at your place of work.  Regardless, I think it’s safe to say that many will relate to TAPRR’s SumoBoy.

I was immediately drawn to SumoBoy because the main character is different than the norm. In this vibrant interpretation of Japan, one overweight boy named Oji sees monsters in disguise of the bullies who torment him. Eventually this boy discovers that his mother is a princess and currently losing a battle against the evil spirit Kurai Kami. Now he must master the art of sumo wrestling to save the world. Throughout his epic quest, he’ll have the opportunity to put his training to the test, hopefully not succumbing to the same dirty tricks that his bullies use.

SumoBoy is a stylish dungeon crawler that employs real sumo techniques. But like any hero, Oji comes equipped with a legendary sword known as the Blade of Balance. This blade is capable of both love and hate, which comes into play when defeating monsters and healing those in need; however, this can also provide an important choice when battling evil spirits (bosses). Rather than channel his hate and smite each demon he meets, Oji can instead choose to help the spirit redeem itself, which is a more proactive solution than violence.

I was a little skeptical at first about the game’s anti-bullying messages when I saw a stylized dungeon crawler, but I think the Blade of Balance and SumoBoy’s protagonist shows potential. I like the idea that even Oji, given a blade of great power, can choose to heal despite the bullying he’s suffered his whole life. Let’s just hope that SumoBoy receives the funds it needs to stand up for itself.


Project By: Ynnis Interactive

Goal: $100,000

Current Funds: $93,521

End: June 8, 2014

As much as I love them, I’ve noticed a saturation of retro-styled RPGs on Kickstarter. That doesn’t mean that they’re not interesting, as some, like Pixel Noir or Prisonscape, bring the genre to new settings. But it’s not often that I see a 3D cell-shaded JRPG that looks at home on a PlayStation 2, and that’s why I’m excited for Shiness.

Shiness’s vibrant trailer immediately reminded me of one of my favorite PlayStation 2 RPGs, Dragon Quest VIII–it still holds up visually. The struggles of the main characters aren’t as cheerful. While traveling along the Sky Islands, two Wakis, Chado and Poky, accidentally crash into a dangerous island. The two become separate, and Chado must use his martial arts skills to defend himself as he searches for his little brother. Little do they know that they’re about to become entangled with the island’s various factions.

While Shiness pays homage to its favorite RPGs, it has other ambitions. Ynnis Interactive animated the fights so they look like their favorite Manga series such as Dragon Ball and Naruto. There also won’t be transition screens between battle; everything takes place on the field you explore like in Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy XII. Finally, players will be able to create combos similar to fighting games, and they’ll be able to cast magic.

While Shiness doesn’t try to place the RPG into a new setting, it still stands out thanks to its vibrant graphics and streamlined combat system. The team need just a little less than $7,000 to reach their $100,000 goal. I’m sure they’ll hit their goal, but you should definitely check out the art that’s available on their Kickstarter page.

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



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