Kickstarter Weekly: Darkest Dungeon and Hot Dog Heartache

This Kickstarter Weekly is equal parts oppressing and wacky.

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Welcome back to the 11th Kickstarter Weekly.  As always, we’ve searched Kickstarter’s website for games with potential. Some of these games bring innovation to a particular genre. Other games may relive a genre’s glory days . This week, we have Darkest Dungeon, an RPG that takes into consideration your character’s mental well-being. We also have Hot Dog Heartache, which is a game about a hot dog who is just looking for a kitchen to call home—it might also take into consideration the hot dog’s mental well-being.

Darkest Dungeon

Project by: Tyler Sigman

Goal: $75,000

Current Funds: $143,639

End: March 13, 2014

I made a goal to feature two games that had not yet reached their funding goal, but I couldn’t resist writing about Darkest Dungeon. Why? Because Darkest Dungeon answers a question that many of us have probably asked while exploring dungeons—how are my characters dealing with the stress?

In this gothic rougelike RPG, you recruit a group of adventurers to take back your ancestral estate (although you’ll visit other levels), which is now a dungeon overrun with monsters and overbearing darkness. The adventurers have only a torch for guidance. As the torchlight dims, the adventurers become uneasy and stressed. While these warriors have seen their share of battle, they each have their breaking point, and they’ll eventually succumb to paranoia, panic, greed and other normal responses to highly dangerous situations. Of course, these characters can succumb to (permanent) death if they are taken by the monsters—not uncommon for a rougelike.

The other thing worth noting is Darkest Dungeon’s presentation. The art is gorgeous, taking visuals that look similar to Don’t Starve and infusing in it a haunting gothic atmosphere. Players travel on a sidescrolling 2D plane, which is designed to evoke feelings of claustrophobia from the players. As for the gameplay, it’s a turn-based RPG that requires tactical thinking to master.

Darkest Dungeon is already funded, but they are hoping to reach certain stretch goals. They have a stretch goal for town events, which would make each return from the dungeon different from the last. They’ve even set a mystery goal for $500,000.

Hot Dog Heartache

Project by: Fever Brain Studios

Goal: $25,000

Current Funds: $1,110

End: March 7, 2014

If Darkest Dungeon seems too depressing, then perhaps you should check out Hot Dog Heartache. If Darkest Dungeon and Hot Dog Heartache were placed on a spectrum with distressing on one end and zany on the other, Hot Dog Heartache would leave the spectrum and go right into outer space.

A chef decides to indulge in comfort food only to inadvertently create his own Frankenstein’s monster of a snack. When he places a magical hot dog into a bun, the food transforms into a sentient hot dog. All is well with the universe until the chef discovers that the hot dog is not what it seems—it’s actually made of tofu (gasp)! Scared, lonely, and lost, the hot dog ventures forth into the world.

Yeah, so I doubt that Hot Dog Heartache is going to win points with its story (although it is being fleshed out), but I do dig its style. The graphics may seem crude, but they mix 16-bit graphics with 90s Nickelodean aesthetics—fitting for a game called Hot Dog Heartache. As for the game itself, it’s a retro platformer that’s meant to challenge its players. Essentially, players will be able to run, jump, and kick their way through a variety of sentient kitchen utensils. Oh, and the hot dog bleeds ketchup and mustard when it dies.

Hot Dog Heartache has actually made the rounds before, but it is being revamped in another engine. They seem to have garnered some attention from the let’s play community, and they used that attention to gauge consumer interest. If you’d like, you can play the demo yourself by checking out 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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Garrett Glass Senior Editor
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