What I’ve learned, or rather remembered, about the RPG genre is that it’s versatile, and there are many projects on Kickstarter that showcase such versatility. I’ll admit that I had originally planned to pick three RPGs that took place within a Western fantasy setting, but I found myself sidetracked by these three projects and their different takes the genre. Warlocks is a frantic sidecrolling RPG with some of the coolest moves I’ve ever seen, Stash is an MMO with turn-based mechanics, and Data Hack: Reboot is a narratively ambitious RPG whose ideas have since expanded beyond the original planned trilogy. Hopefully this issue of the Kickstarter Weekly has something for every RPG fan.
Project by: One More Level
Current Funds: $3,437
End: October 2, 2014
I’m not sure when this trend started, but there really has been a lot of good looking pixelated RPGs on Kickstarter lately. They, including One More Level’s Warlocks, all seem to utilize a similar, hyper-stylized pixel art aesthetic that would look good even if everyone who gazed upon it took off their rose-colored lenses. If this trend keeps up, and we see a homogenization of the art style, games like Warlocks might go unnoticed and unfunded. Luckily for Warlock, it has one other thing going for it: It looks like pure, chaotic fun.
A group of creatures emerge from the previously undiscovered shadow world and attack the rest of the established planets. These creatures are not above using germ warfare, and they inflict upon the inhabitants of these planets with the wicked shadow virus. The only solution is to band together with four other warriors, and travel across dimensions in order to find a way to eradicate the shadow virus once and for all.
Warlocks is an action RPG on a 2D sidescrolling plane, which doesn’t sound too exciting in itself; however, it has some crazy combat mechanics with over-the-top abilities. For instance, there is a character that can moonwalk while performing fire spells; let me elaborate: the combos in this game allow you to perform ridiculously awesome abilities, and each of the six characters come with his or her own set of skills to play with. Warlocks allows you to play with 4 other friends in both online and local multiplayer; I can see this game becoming regarded as a weird mixture of Street Fighter and Left 4 Dead.
As if the interesting combat wasn’t enough, Warlocks simply looks incredible, and One More Level clearly spent a lot of time creating its setting. The aesthetic looks like an interesting blend of fantasy and science fiction, the music never loses its electronica influences even when being fitted for each world, and the animations look fluid and perfectly complement the intense combos. It sounds too good to be true, but you can decide that for yourselves after checking out the team’s Kickstarter page and trying out the demo of the original version of the game.
Project by: Frogdice
Current Funds: $39,638
End: September 12, 2014
Backers need to scrutinize everything on Kickstarter before they choose which project they’ll fund’ In particular, the projects that claim to revolutionize certain genres. Stash claims to do the same for the MMORPGSs, which I admit is outside of my gaming expertise, but it doesn’t hide that it’s hear to satisfy your craving for loot, and it does implement several ideas that make it stand out.
Stash takes place in the same setting that’s used in all of Frogdice’s games, Primordiax. Beyond the typical Fantasy name, this setting is designed with table-top RPGs in mine, which led to the tile-based design. Dungeons are randomly generated, although they all share two things in common: A final boss and lots of loot. While Frogdice doesn’t share too much information about their story, it do an adequate job at preparing players for the lootfest that they’re about to partake, provided that the game reaches its full Kickstarter goal.
In terms of gameplay, Stash has at least two things going for it that has caught my interest: it has impressive customization options, and it uses a turn-based battle system. In the former category, players are able to create their own base of operation, a building whose interior and exterior is determined completely by the player’s design. This is a great way to entice players to stash the loot they’ll accumulate over time. The other draw is that it’s turn based as in a table-top RPG; however, it also features MMO staples such as PVP, clans, and the like. The trick is to find the balance between Final Fantasy Tactics-like gameplay with the endless exploration of an MMO, which Frogdice is apparently confident it can pull off.
On the surface, Stash does not look like a pretty game, but the team has a lot going for it. For starters, this is not Frogdice’s first time on Kickstarter, as it has released its other crowdfunded efforts on time. Secondly, it takes a respectable approach to the free to play model (pay what you want, as they call it), as Stash is designed so that you don’t need to pay in order to advance. Finally, these guys have been around since 1996, and, considering their experience with Kickstarter, you should expect them to release the game on time.
Project by: Ross Turney
Current Funds: £4,736
End: September 9, 2014
I love seeing what people can make with RPG Maker. The first game I ever featured on the Kickstarter Weekly, Lisa the Painful RPG, was built with the program; however, I never would have guessed it because it looks like a combination of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Earthbound with a dash of Super Mario Bros. 2’s level design. Data Hacker: Reboot doesn’t go into as drastic an art direction, but there’s something appealing about an RPG that looks like the ones from yesteryear with purposefully glitchy visual effects.
Data Hacker: Reboot is actually part of an ongoing serie–the third of what was originally supposed to be a trilogy before the creators found their muse. The game takes place within the Online World, a fictional popular MMO game. Players and avatars begin to disappear, setting off a catalyst that would lead to the creation of world fragments filled with unexplored yet familiar landscapes. Now, as headstrong character Thanier, players will uncover the mystery behind these fragments, and discover the meaning of existence while they’re at it. How they reach such a seemingly unobtainable answer depends on the choices they make, which affects the outcome in future episodes.
Data Hacker: Reboot seems to be more interested in the narrative potential provided by the RPG genre, but it also uses some intricate ideas for combat that’s ideal for players who dig customization. Fundamentally, Data Hacker: Reboot is a turn-based RPG that’s similar to the likes of Final Fantasy. That said, it boasts an impressive class system in which players can choose from 70; as with the narrative choices, players are free to develop their characters into the powerhouses of their choice. This should hopefully keep things fresh for those overly familiar with the structure, but, just in case, the team is also throwing in its version of the card game found in Final Fantasy 8–I know some who play that game solely for that.
Data Hacker: Reboot is an ambitious RPG that needs just a few crucial components to meet its epic scope. The game had already been on Kickstarter, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t meet their goal. This time, the game has been approved on Steam Greenlight, and they have other streams of revenue coming in. All they need from backers is enough coin to pay for beautiful, updated artwork that mirrors the ambitious narrative.
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.