Welcome back to The Koalition’s Kickstarter Weekly. The RPG seems to be one of the most popular genres on Kickstarter, and for good reason: the genre is versatile. RPG elements can be implemented into just about any genre, and they can be easily modified. In the case for this week’s issue, I decided to look for RPGs that either incorporated tactical elements, such as Flamberge and Convoy, or allows you to accumulate information and think for yourself, like in Late to the Party.
By: Michael Savage-Benoist
Current Funds: $2,576
End: November 22, 2014
Flamberge is yet another game on Kickstarter that unashamedly pays homage to a classic while experimenting with its own turn-based mechanic. In this case, the team, Michael and Ben, designed their game to be similar to Fire Emblem except with one twist: the game uses simultaneous turns. The result should be a game that scratches that Fire Emblem itch with the intent of keeping things fresh.
From a glimpse of its screenshots on Kickstarter, Flamberge takes the best of Japanese and Western RPGs, and combines them with the recent trendy pixel art style. The setting takes on Western fantasy traits, but the characters look like they’ve been designed with anime influence, as shown in the portraits in the dialogue boxes. The pixel art is trendy, portraying the lush fantasy setting with power that would be too much for the SNES but emulates it all the same. Tying it all together is a soundtrack that’s chiptune with orchestral influence (the piano piece Vast Expanse is my favorite of the samples), perfectly making the game’s presentation a cohesive whole.
As a turn-based game, Flamberge tries to make things interesting by allowing simultaneous turns. Enemies plan and attack at the same time you do, so you’ll need to anticipate their actions. It basically creates the same strategy you’d find in an SRPG while eliminating some of the unnecessary steps. In addition, Flamberge has all of the features necessary to make a SRPG addicting including 15 job classes, 15 playable characters, and all of the loot you can carry.
Michael and Ben quickly achieved their goal of $1,500, and have since acquired $4,162. While I’m always weary of Kickstarters with low funding goals, I have to admire how the team broke down the costs and created a calendar for their game (although I’m sure there will be plenty of detours along the way). I only wish they had elaborated more on story and mechanics, but for what it’s worth, they’ve provided enough video, songs, screenshots and even a demo for potential backers to check out. Simple yet effective, much like their game.
By: Michael Savage-Benoist
Goal: $50,000 (CAD)
Current Funds: $8,637
End: December 5, 2014
Although I haven’t reached the one-year anniversary with the Kickstarter Weekly, I have been at this long enough that I’m noticing familiar faces in each Kickstarter video. In some cases, such as with Pyrodactyl Games, I not only recognized the faces in the video, but also immediately recognized their previous Kickstarter-funded game, Unrest. I was drawn to their previous game because they explored a setting I had never seen before in an RPG: the streets of India. Following through with their love for exploring new settings in RPGs, the team has returned to Kickstarter for their Cold War RPG, Late to the Party.
The setting is the Cold War, where tensions are high between not only the United States and Russia but also within each respective country–particularly the latter where food and supplies are scarce. Late to the Party follows a young Russian woman who is trained by the KGB in order to gather intel within the potential revolution threatening to become a reality. Of course, players have the option of either working with the KGB in order to quell the rebellion or play the double-agent.
The Cold War dealt more with espionage than outright combat, so it makes sense that Late to the Party focuses on the former. The game actually looks like it plays similarly to a point-and-click adventure game. Branching dialogue paths allow the main character to uncover every angle of the conspiracy theory; however, how each NPC depends on their disposition (how they feel about you) and state (their general attitude). Naturally, you can choose dialog options that takes advantage of each person’s disposition and state to your whims.
As mentioned before, Pyrodactyl Games has two advantages for its Kickstarter project: first, they’ve already established their credibility with successfully released games like Unrest and Will Fight for Food; second, the game should appeal to those looking for a different flavor of RPG. Whether or not the game will come together in the end is a risk all Kickstarter games risk, but at least you can check out Pyrodactyl Games’ previous efforts. I can say they are at least consistent with their interesting settings.
By: Convoy Games
Current Funds: £14,368
End: November 29, 2014
As with the western fantasy setting, the RPG is no stranger to the post-apocalypse. The brightside is that with the post apocalypse comes a variety of perspectives on what it should look like, even if those ideas tend to gravitate towards the zombie apocalypse. Thankfully, Convoy seemed to take its ideas from Mad Max, which is not often seen in video games (apart from the video game adaptation and Bedlam, of course).
Omik Prime, a desert wasteland, has seen better days, and it has since been divided into several, violent factions. Unfortunately, your spaceship malfunctions and you find yourself caught within the crossfires of each faction. The local mechanics are willing to help you out, but you have to venture out into the wastelands, where you risk never being seen again, in order to find the parts you need to turn your convoy into a spaceship.
Convoy introduces high-speed car chases to the roguelike genre. As you are driving around the desert with a bird’s-eye-view perspective, members of each faction will attack you. You can order members of your crew to launch a counterattack; however, you need to be aware of each of your unit’s position. On top of that, you need to keep an eye on your fuel gauge and upgrade your vehicle so that you can last longer. Still, as with any roguelike, your vehicle can survive so many random encounters before it suffers a flat tire or worse.
Convoy Games has a neat idea for their game, making me suddenly more interested in post-apocalyptic games. While the game seems to be in good hands, the team has taken to Kickstarter in order to implement more ideas, like ramming. Thankfully, the team has already met its goal, and Convoy will also be headed to Steam in 2015.
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.