Every now and then I’ll write a Kickstarter Weekly where all three games look stunning in gameplay, aesthetics or both. I’m pleased to report that this week’s issue will be a prime example of that. InSomia is a dieselpunk RPG that captures the essence of classic Fallout games. The Deer God combines 2D pixel art with the third dimension. As for HomeMake…well, I have yet to see anything that looks quite like it. As always, don’t just take my word for it: visit each game’s Kickstarter to see for yourself.
Project By: Studio MONO
Current Funds: $14,171
End: July 24, 2014
I missed InSomnia during its first Kickstarter campaign, although in my defense I hadn’t started this column yet. I have no idea what was wrong with the previous Kickstarter that doomed the project for failure. However, based on what I’ve seen from the current Kickstarter, InSomnia looks like a cool dieselpunk RPG.
Players take on the role of a man who awakens from cryogenic sleep on a space station known as The Ark. This gigantic space station houses a group of refugees who escaped from their ruined home planet. These refugees have to deal with the SORG, the force that destroyed their home planet, and must reach the evacuation point in order to survive.
InSomnia is an isometric 3D game that’s inspired from old school tactical RPGs like Fallout. The game is episodic, with each episode lasting about 3-6 hours (total of 15-20 hours). This is important as the game stresses its non-linear story. Throughout the game, players will engage in points of no return that dramatically alter a single-player campaign. Each episode takes place during seasons, so players will be able to see how far their decisions affect the future.
InSomnia looks like a neat game similar to Fallout, and I’m most impressed with The Ark because it seems to be a character in itself. As I mentioned before, I’m not sure what went wrong with the first campaign, but I know that from what I’ve seen InSomnia could satisfy my itch for Fallout 4. If funded, the game will be released on PC, Mac, and Linux in 2015.
Project By: Crescent Moon Games
Current Funds: $7,374
End: July 23, 2014
I’ve been a fan of 2.5D platformers ever since I played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation. While 2.5D platformers aren’t always the prettiest games, they always captured my imagination with the combination of sprites and 3D backgrounds. I’m sure if The Deer God, with its 3D objects that look pixelated, were released on the PlayStation, it would have struck its players with awe.
A hunter finds himself transformed into the very prey he has been hunting: a deer. Beginning as a fawn, the hunter must survive until he can return to his original form. Thankfully he’ll have the help from elder deer in order to learn the necessary skills for survival.
What impresses me most about The Deer God is that it depicts a pixelated ecosystem. The deer can come across other stags, doe and elders, or it could come across deadlier species like bears and mountain lions. There might even be some species that are neutral and occupy the same procedurally-generated woods. Other hunters will also track the deer, and players might accidentally seal their own fate if they stumble upon the premises of a hunter’s cabin. As with nature, these beautiful pixelated woods are quite deadly; however, The Deer God is a Metroidvania, and the hunter can learn the abilities of the deer through mystical statues, which should hopefully help him stay alive until he can revert to his human form. Hopefully staring at headlights isn’t included as an ability.
The Deer God seems like a fine Metroidvania with some of the prettiest pixel art I’ve ever seen on Kickstarter. The developers wrote claim that the game is inspired not only from their favorite games but also of their nostalgic memories in the woods. Based on The Deer God’s Kickstarter trailer alone, I can see the amalgamation of nostalgic influences clearly.
Project By: Franklin Cosgrove & Archgame
Current Funds: $8,826
End: July 9, 2014
Since last month, I’ve been receiving more emails from developers with Kickstarter campaigns. Prior to that, only 3 developers had emailed me. Most of the games I feature come from my own research, so if I don’t write about a game it’s usually because of bad timing (please don’t email me your Kickstarter link on a Thursday), or it doesn’t fit in with the rest of my choices. And while I don’t have the best taste in games—I have yet to play a single game I’ve helped fund on Kickstarter—I do try to feature the ones that stand out to me; and HomeMake, with its spherical abstract city, looks like no other game I’ve written about.
I suppose in order to help explain HomeMake, I should discuss the developers’ backgrounds—at least what’s provided on their Kickstarter page—in addition to the story. The game is the dream product of two architecture students who moonlight as video game developers. This would help explain why the developers think of the ever-changing city of Sumimoto as the protagonist. Otherwise, HomeMake follows Kigi the robot, Sandwiches the fox and other playable characters.
Each character navigates and sees Sumimoto differently. Kigi can run, jump and shoot his way throughout the vibrant city. Sandwiches, on the other hand, is colorblind and needs to rely on his sense of smell in order to navigate. Players can swap between characters as they explore the city, and they’ll want to in order to use each character’s advantages while solving the perceptual-based puzzles. It’s a neat way to explore the characters’ identities and how they relate to the city.
But I think what will sell backers on HomeMake is its presentation. The inverted-spherical cyberpunk city creates a setting that has yet to take form in a video game, and the electronic/jazzy soundtrack—I believe there’s a hint of Nujabes in the music—captures the hustle of city life. For architecture students without prior experience releasing a game, Franklin Cosgrove and Archgame created a hell of a first idea.
Have you seen any interesting projects on Kickstarter that you think deserve a 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.