Kickstarter Shout-out!: Projects To Go Support as of 9/9/17

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Well, it’s back to school time, and that means more Kickstarters! Well, technically school time, and Kickstarters don’t have anything to do with one another, but I don’t really need a reason to talk about some awesome and promising-looking Kickstarters. As usual, just because these are the ones to go support, it doesn’t mean the ones that should be supported will, by the end of it all, be good games. The only honorable mention, since it got fully funded, will be going to Fig.co’s Virgo vs the Zodiac, a JRPG using cute sprite work.  Always donate enough so that you won’t be mad that it’s gone. Just do some research, and donate to the one that sounds good to you. Now then, let’s get started.

Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond

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This game might sound familiar, as it is the sequel title to Celestian Tales on PC. Developed by Ekuator Games, Realms Beyond continues the story nine years after the first game, with the six individuals who are chosen to protect their land from an ongoing war. There isn’t really a lot to talk about this one, since it seems to be similar to the previous game. It has the same combat system that levels up and instantly heals everyone after each fight, the same lovely sprite and 2D art, and since this is basically episode two, it will take the data from the first game, and shape the story and character interactions based on your actions. I’m a little concerned that this new game in the series might not do enough to make it stand out. I enjoyed the first game, but it seems like the only thing changing is the story. It was an interesting story, but the stand-out feature, being able to play as six characters that have different perspectives on the story itself, isn’t really taken advantage of. Still, I’m looking forward to this RPG. It felt a tad different than other indie RPGs that try to copy the success and popularity that Final Fantasy VI left, but instead, Celestian Tales reminded me of a Game of Thrones RPG done right. If you have played the first game, and want to see the story continue, then definitely support this project.

 The Crown Stones: Mirrah

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Want another Metroidvania-style game in your digital library? Then look no further than The Crown Stones: Mirrah by developer Frater Studios. You play as a protagonist with amnesia as you traverse your way through a hellish world of the dead. If you have played any Metroidvania-style games, then this game and its mechanics should feel familiar for those veterans of those types of games. All combat takes place on a 2D plane, where you have a stamina bar that is pretty much the same one used in Dark Souls, where you must choose wisely when to attack. You can also gain special chakras that give you different attack abilities, and a “berserk” meter that when filled up, can give the player much more damaging attacks. Another element talked about in the game is that you can use stealth. You can get past enemies or sneak up behind them while hiding behind the multiple piles of dead bodies to hide from enemies. It throws an interesting twist into the gameplay, since going in head-strong is probably not going to work all the time, depending on the enemies in the area.

While I do love the vibrant sprite work, the smooth animations, and the brutal combat, I have two concerns. One, it’s on a crowdfunding site I have never heard of. It’s the first time I have heard of the site Catarse. I don’t know how many people have heard about this site, and I feel like if it was on Kickstarter or went through Fig, it would have a better shot. Two, while I do not mind these styles of games, the game itself may have trouble standing out among the other Metroidvania games, that use sprite work and “Dark Souls”-style elements. It is a bit too commonplace now to really be unique. I know everyone loves Dark Souls and wants to make the next great Dark Souls game, but at the same time, seeing those elements pop up whether they be well-implemented or not, lessens the appeal. Still, I wouldn’t be talking about this if the project wasn’t promising or appealing. If you don’t mind yet another Metroidvania-style game with some twists to the formula, then definitely go support The Crown Stones.

The Good Life

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Remember the cult classic Deadly Premonition? What about the creator’s Xbox One/PC game D4? Well, if you are hoping to help out this memorable developer, then you should support their newest project, The Good Life. You play as a blonde photographer, who once lived a life in New York. Unfortunately, she has a massive amount of debt under her name. To fix all this, she decides to move into a small British town that is called “The Happiest Town on Earth”. However, there is a twist! At night, everyone turns into cats! She must find out what is exactly is going on while also finding a dead body within a pond. Well, that definitely sounds like a game by the Deadly Premonition creator. For the most part, you will be going around this 3D world tackling odd jobs to pay off your debt, while also solving what exactly is going on with this town and the community inside. While working, taking photos, or becoming a cat, you will find items that will be important to the story.  You will have little RPG elements that improve and become bigger, like stamina, being immune to getting sick, and have items that will give you temporary boosts.

It’s a weird and unusual game, and the visuals, character designs, and music match the tone. It’s an odd and unreal kind of story, which only SWERY, the developer behind the game, can come up with. You would think this entire set-up would be off-putting, but it really does feel like it gels well. Sometimes, being odd in concept can lead to feeling cohesive. I am concerned that people will be turned off by the more realistic funding goal, and the fact his games have niche appeal will not bring most people in. I get why his games are popular, and I love the ideas this project brings to the table, but at the same time, his other games had major flaws to them that were hard to look past, even with all the weird charm to them. Still, we need a shot in the arm of quirky and unusual games, and I think The Good Life should be one of those games to help with said shot.

The Cyanide & Happiness Adventure Game

UPDATE: It has been funded!

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Based on the extremely popular web and animated series, you play Cooper McCarthy, as you try and wackily make your way to your graduation ceremony, while having to avoid a small little event called the apocalypse happening around you. It’s a typical point-and-click adventure game, where you gather items to solve puzzles, meet wacky characters, and try to make it to the end of the game. The franchise’s style and humor definitely lends itself to an adventure game. It looks good, and the people behind it have made successful games in the past using Kickstarter. I guess my only real concern is if this game is friendly towards new viewers to the comics, web series, and so on. Hopefully, you can just jump in and not have to worry about knowing everything. There isn’t’ really much to talk about with this one, since it’s a tightly wound project that has people who know what they are doing behind it. If you love the franchise and would love to support their newest project, then you should definitely check out this adventure game.

 Griff the Winged Lion

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I remember when this project appeared a year or so ago on Kickstarter. It was cute, but it was in too early of a stage to show off, and it felt like it was more about how amazing they made the retro graphics, and less about how good the actual game is. Thankfully, the developer behind the game seems to have learned from that, and the game looks promising. It might be a PlayStation 1-era Spyro the Dragon-style game, a3D platformer back when they were all the rage, but at least it’s not another 16-bit or 8-bit-style game. I like how this game is trying something different, and something that we haven’t seen the indie scene truly tackle. The project also has a demo that you can check out before backing it. My only real concern is that, while the game looks the part, I hope it’s not held back by older design choices. Sometimes, all that nice nostalgia attached to older games is either bad in retrospect, or caused by console limitations. I do have faith in this game though, and I think everyone should support it if they are into this type of game.

Scorn

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Finally, here we have probably one of the best-looking Kickstarters in terms of visual presentation, Scorn. This was a popular Steam greenlight (when it was still a thing) entry due to how much polish and quality there was to the main game. Then again, when people actually put effort into their Greenlight submissions, people may actually vote on it. This is a first-person shooter, where you travel through a world that was probably made by H.R. Giger’s wildest dreams. You must traverse this stick, fleshy, and disgusting world, while fighting monsters and traversing this atmospheric nightmare land. You will have to either fight your way through, or probably just let the grotesque creatures be, since ammo is limited. The game’s true standout feature is the wonderfully disgusting world it has created. It drips with personality, and is probably one of the more truly realized worlds seen in a while. I am disappointed however, that there are no console stretch goals at the moment, and I’m worried about how much content will be in this one part. It’s being split up into two parts, so hopefully, when the first part is finished and gets funding for the second half, players will be able to enjoy the full experience. I also hope the maze-like level design won’t turn people off, and will be easy to navigate. This is easily one of the better Kickstarters of the year with a huge amount of true blood, sweat, and tears put into the game, and I hope it can reach its funding goal.

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Kickblunders: Games to Avoid and Back as of 8/19/17

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Well, it’s the end of the summer, and it means Kickstarters are back in full swing! Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites like Fig.co decided to unload on the world some pretty awesome-looking projects that you should both support, or avoid like the plague. I will give out some honorable mentions to projects that got funded in a rather short period of time. These are the Harvest Moon-style action RPG Re:Legend, Phoenix Springs, an adventure game with a surreal setting, Bounty Battle, a Super Smash Bros.-style fighting game using many popular indie game mascots, and the tactical multi-player game for PC and Switch Hex Gambit. Now then, let’s get started!

You Should Avoid: The Last Kingdom

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We start off with a sloppy Kickstarter called The Last Kingdom. It’s supposed to be a tactical RPG, but there is no gameplay to show off. The trailer shows us nothing. There are no pictures, no sprite work, no real details about how this tactical RPG differentiates itself from others, and it’s just not well put together. And asking for such a small budget for a tactical RPG is pretty insane in the membrane. It’s yet another project that’s way too early to show off, and you should avoid it at all costs.

You Should Back: Lona: Realm of Colors

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Lona: Realm of Colors is an adventure game developed by SpaceFox. You play as an artist named Lona, who is trapped inside her own artwork. You must traverse through said art, putting in and taking out the color of that art piece to make it through this adventure. The game’s main focus is to tell a story, since she is using her art to make abstract visuals of situations she is dealing with. The main goal is to go into each picture, go to either one side of it or another, and try to solve the problem given to you. The game has a really nice art style, and it should, since it’s about an artist. It has a lot of vibrant colors, and the pictures are very detailed. My one concern is how the overarching experience will pan out. I hope the interactivity of the pictures will be enough, due to how we won’t have to deal with inventory puzzles or dialogue trees. It’s all about the story, and I want the story to be interesting if the gameplay is not going to be the focus. Anyway, if you like games that focus more on visuals, and like a promising story, then you should definitely check out this Kickstarter.

You Should Avoid: Mcgee Detective

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You know, if this was a flash game when flash gaming was in its first year, this would probably look impressive. However, this is 2017, and if you can’t make good looking art or know how to make a visually appealing looking game, don’t make the art yourself.  This 2D platforming puzzle game is just the pits in every way possible. It has bad art, bad animation, mediocre gameplay, and a very lackluster Kickstarter page. I don’t know what this individual is thinking by making such an ugly game on a budget that’s $1,123, but you can’t do that. A more talented individual could have made a game about a mouse on an adventure look charming, but boy, this one is just looking to be avoided like raw chicken tartare.

 You Should Support: Jettomero

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Update: It just got funded!

Sometimes, we need a goofy little game that has charm oozing out of its robotic parts. Jettomero, developed by Gabriel Koenig, looks to be that type of game. You play as a robot named Jettomero, who travels from planet to planet finding fuel, and trying to save lives while being a giant destructive robot. You will be able to customize Jettomero, and as you traverse the galaxy, you will encounter other large robots to fight while uncovering the history of your robot. The game has a more laid-back vibe as you travel across the cosmos in this cool 1970s-inspired sci-fi universe. My only real concern is how expansive the experience will be, since these types of games tend to not do well if they choose to overstay their welcome. Other than that, I loved seeing Jettomero in motion, and I think it’s one of the more charming crowdfunding projects on the site. It only has a little left in terms of funding to make, and if you love cute little games with a charming personality, then you should definitely help this robot save everyone!

You Should Avoid: Bad Lands Road Trip

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There is nothing worse than when a Kickstarter project gets less and less impressive as you scroll down its Kickstarter page. Bad Lands Road Trip is one such bummer project. First off, we have yet another project that is too early to show off, the art style for the menus and interface look cheap, everything looks like an asset flip, and the game doesn’t look all that appealing. We already have enough open-world games, and we don’t need another one of lower quality. I feel badly, since there was obviously a bit more done with this project, but it’s still not enough to warrant throwing down money onto it. Maybe if they waited a little longer and made everything not look like an asset flip, then I would be down for some fun simple robot-shooting fun. It’s just not going to happen today.

You Should Back: Beyond-Human

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Yes, we do get a lot of Metroidvania-style games, and to a degree, that is my major concern for this project, but I’m rooting for it. Back in 2014, I was going to write about this project because it came out the same time as a very similar project was on the site, but didn’t since it was obvious both weren’t going to make it. Luckily, the game looks way better than it did back then. You play as a silent protagonist named Adam, who woke up into an alien-like world. You must Devil May Cry your way through a large sci-fi world brimming with a hostile atmosphere, and find out who you are and what exactly happened. Sprite or pixel graphics might be a tired thing to see among the indie community, but as long as it’s done well and looks good in motion, then I don’t mind it. All the designs are pretty neat, the effects look great, and it looks like a good action game. The concern for me is the fact that this is a very common genre to see among the indie crowd. Not that it can be a bad thing, but if you are going to make a Metroidvania-style game, I want it to stand out and be memorable, because the developer wanted to make a game in that style and not simply because it’s popular. It doesn’t fully keep me from recommending and talking about this game at all, but I think it’s understandable to be a bit more wary about games that want to go the Metroidvania route. Even then, it’s a cool-looking game, and it looks like the developers have a grasp on what they want to do. If you like action games, Metroidvania-style games, or games that use sprite work at all, then you should definitely go support Beyond Human.

You Should Avoid: Umbra Protocol

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Yeah, this project has kind of the same problems as McGee Detective, in that the concept art and the logo picture for the trailer looks way better than the actual in-game animation. The game just doesn’t look all that appealing, and if it’s not obvious, there is a reason why people are not really funding this one. I feel like with a better artist or more interesting gameplay, it could have been more appealing. It just looks like a ton of mobile games that you see get dumped onto the App store, and are understandably overlooked.

You Should Back: Suplex Saga

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Remember that really mediocre “wrestling” RPG that was up on Kickstarter a few weeks back? Well, the better version of that idea is Suplex Saga by Finger Gun Games. You play in a Final Fantasy-style turn-based RPG, where you are Ace Evander, a rookie wrestler who wants to make it to the top. Along with some of his friends, he wants to be the best of the best to bring back the Evanders name, while dealing with a wrestling company take-over that will rock the world! Combat takes place on 2D planes, like in older Final Fantasy titles, and the combat is turn-based. Just like in some RPGs like Paper Mario, the combat is all about timed-button presses that pull off super moves and other abilities. I love everything about this game, but I have one major concern. I have been following this project closely, and to be honest, I don’t think they are getting the word around fast enough about the game. Maybe because it’s a busy time of year, or maybe they are not doing enough to get other people outside of wrestling fans to buy this game. I want this to succeed, since I just adore an RPG with a different personality to it, but I think they need to do more to get the word out, or maybe come back in a few months with a playable demo and some spruced-up sprite work. I think some projects do better when people can play a bit of the game they might want to throw money down on. In general though, I think this is a goofy and fun-looking RPG. I love the idea of it, and while I wish the console stretch goals were the first ones up instead of a pdf guide, I would love to play something like this on the go.

Kickblunders: Games to Avoid and Back as of July 13th, 2017

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Well, June was a wasteland in terms of Kickstarter projects worth writing about. Most of them were all blunders, and there was one individual who was either trolling, or was not really prepared for posting Kickstarters that were, to be frank, some of the worst I have ever seen this year. Luckily, a bunch of Kickstarters have recently been popping up, and taking up the spotlight, and deserve to be shown off. As usual, do your research on the Kickstarter itself, and see if it is worth your money. Not every Kickstarter that gets funded is successful, and the game might not deliver on its promise. Be careful, but if you feel passionate about the game you want to back, then by all means. Spend only enough money on the Kickstarter that you will be happy to donate to the project. Oh, and congrats to LUCAH for getting funded! It’s a great action RPG that I wish I could have gotten to before it got funded. Let’s get started!

AVOID!: Snowball Wars

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It’s very obvious by the look of this one that it’s the developer’s first try at a game, and while there is more to it than most bad Kickstarters, it’s still really lackluster. The art looks like it was done in Microsoft Paint, the music isn’t from the game, and the page just shows amateur artwork. I get it, making your own game is a big feat, and I do admire the successful indie games that are made by one person or a very small team of people. However, I’m not going to give anyone special treatment just because it’s their “first game”. Maybe Snowball Wars has potential, but as far as I can tell, it isn’t going to go anywhere fast.

Instead, you should go support: KnightOut

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This indie game developed by 2nd Studio marks the first crowdfunding project on the site, Fig.co, to be made for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a multi-player party game where you build large castles to protect your king, while destroying your opponent’s castle and killing their king. There is a single-player mode where you fend off hordes of monsters with your buff castle and army of knights. At first, I wasn’t really impressed, due to the game’s graphical style shown off in the trailer. I knew it was early in production assets and animations, but something felt off about it to me. However, after seeing the game in motion a couple of times, I found myself strangely growing fond of the game and the gameplay. I’m not usually the type of guy who downloads every single local multi-player game that goes for that Smash Bros. mentality of all the action happening on one screen, but this one caught my attention, because of the Switch, and how you already have two controllers from the get-go on the console. My only real concern is the longevity and lasting appeal of the game, since the local multi-player market is truly crowded. I just don’t want to see their hard work swept under the rug when the next Screen Cheat or Towerfall pops in to take its thunder. It looks like a fun game to play in bursts, and I hope 2nd Studio does a good job with the overall experience they are offering, and doesn’t have to resort to microtransactions or crummy game-killing business decisions.

AVOID!: Temperament

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The big problem with indie developers and the indie game scene is that once a certain genre gets a slam dunk of a hit, the copy-cats, bandwagon-hopping developers or scam artists (you decide which is which since all of them have been abundant in the indie scene) are not far behind. While there is nothing super inherently wrong with Temperament, a first-person spellcasting game, it’s woefully lackluster in terms of being anything promising. First off, the concept art and images shown on the page is not in any way good, due to how inconsistent the two pictures look in terms of designs. The indie scene has already had a few games within the first-person genre, where the main gimmick is to cast spells that have already been done. This project sounds like it has nothing to offer that I couldn’t get with other games like Ziggurat. There is also, once again, no gameplay to look at or to see how it would look in motion. It’s just an underwhelming disappointment from an individual who has tried two other times to have a Kickstarter success, but to no avail. You can talk to me and tell me about the game, but I want to see what I would be interested in backing.

Instead, you should go support: Fight Knight

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While I don’t technically need to support this one, due to how quickly it made its funding goal, this first-person brawler from developer Thomas LeBlanc is worth mentioning. Fight Knight took the site by storm with its first-person 3D pixel art style, and its focus on fun first-person melee combat. It’s always a bit eye-rolling when you see a first-person game with melee combat, since it never feels great to punch or hit someone in first-person. The game also has a playable demo, and from what I have heard, people were having a fantastic time playing it, but were criticizing the head-bobbing, another problem with first-person games, but I’m sure the developer will do a good job at making sure no one gets too motion-sick playing the game. It’s a fun looking game with a quirky personality that I think should get more support and hopefully get onto other consoles. I would love to play this on the Switch.

AVOID!: All the Hidden Corners

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Out of all of the games I had to put on this list, All the Hidden Corners was the one I was most reluctant to say go support. Hence, it’s on the avoid side of things. I like the 3D adventure game idea, the graphics, and the set-up. My problem and why I’m hesitant to say go support this one is because the trailer was not really convincing me to say “hey, I want to throw hard-earned money at this game!” I admire the idea and the visuals, but I want to see the game in motion. I know annoying to keep bringing this up, but that is the biggest problem with Kickstarter games. Show, don’t tell.

Instead, you should go support: Harold Halibut

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I was pleasantly surprised to see this game from developers Slow Bros. It’s what the page describes as a “modern handmade adventure game”, where you control Harold Halibut, a janitor and lab assistant, inside a large ship in a planet surrounded by water. I love the stop-motion art style and the rusted barren look of the world’s surroundings. While having a solid sense of humor, the world you live in is definitely not safe, and there is obviously something else in the water besides the ship and the people living inside it. You can tell a huge amount of passion has gone into the look and feel of the game. My only real concern is how the puzzles will work and how interesting the story will be. I want to feel invested with every step I take, and I don’t want to lose interest. The game’s soundtrack is also pretty solid by composer, Onat Hekimoglu. It definitely helps bring you into this briny world. I hope more people are willing to go support this game, since I feel like it deserves your time and money to help get this game developed.

AVOID!: Brass Town Wrestling

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Now, how cool does this sound, a wrestling RPG? I mean, wrestling, while floundering in some areas, is still a huge deal. How cool would it be to have an action or unique turn-based RPG where all the attacks are wrestling moves? Too bad Brass Town Wrestling isn’t that. It’s a generic RPG that only has wrestling as a motif. That’s the biggest pile of weak sauce that I have seen in a while. Not only is it yet another RPG Maker game that does more damage to the RPG Maker reputation, but it just doesn’t look like anything all that amazing. Its battles are in first-person, but the attacks don’t look that interesting, and the art looks very amateurish. It’s games like this that give RPG Maker a bad reputation, and it’s an example of a developer not taking full advantage of their situation. This is obviously one that you should avoid.

Instead, you should go support: Fantasy Strike

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Developed by Sirlin Games, Fantasy Strike is a 2.5D fighting game that is being helmed by ex-Street Fighter developer David Sirlin. The game claims it will be an easier fighter to get into, because there won’t be any joy stick inputs to pull off super moves, and instead, everything is done by the face buttons and keyboard. I think that’s actually pretty rad. Usually, when a fighter promises that they will be easier to get into, they never really mean it. You still need to learn the complex button commands, and they always make the icons the arcade control icons. This looks like it could very well be a good beginner’s guide to fighting games, along with the upcoming Switch indie game, Pocket Fighters Rumble.  While the characters don’t look that interesting or memorable, I’m sure later down the development line, they will make the characters more interesting. I also hope it can come to more consoles than just the PlayStation 4 and PC. I bet if they could get this on the Switch, they could make the console a go-to for fighting games, once Nintendo releases another Smash Bros. for the console. If you enjoy fighting games, I would highly recommend you check out this new Fig campaign.

AVOID!: Hotel Escape

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When people come to Kickstarter to pitch their work, you usually want something that looks good, and makes sure the potential backers know exactly what they are getting, and know they will put out the product as promised. I guess no one told Hotel Escape that. The Kickstarter page is a mess with ugly artwork, a trailer that’s not really that promising, looks like something from the days of Steam Greenlight, and to be frank, the game doesn’t look that good. The developer might say that they have worked 4 months on the project, but I seriously doubt that from the look of everything. The game is too dark, the framerate is garbage, and the gameplay looks mediocre. This is also the second time the developer has tried to get funding for this game, and I’m sorry, a minute change no matter how effective, is not going to get people to back your project. Oh, and a $200 funding goal? I don’t want to be rude and disrespectful, but how much money does this person think they need to make a video game?! $200 is not going to cut it! You need more than that! Not hard to see why I’m saying avoid this one at all cost.

Instead, you should go support: Neon City Riders

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Finally, let’s go support Neon City Riders by developer Mecha Studios. This top-down action adventure RPG sets you into this cyberpunk post-apocalyptic world, where everyone is forced to join some kind of street gang, and cause constant war and chaos among everyone who lives within the city. Your goal is to stop the violence and find out how to solve the overarching problem. If you have played any or a majority of top-down action adventure games, like the old Legend of Zeldas, Crossing Souls, Legend of the Mystical Ninja, then you should know what you are getting yourself into. A large world to explore, puzzles to solve, upgrades to obtain, new areas to explore, and everything you do is at your own pace. You can go wherever and fight whoever you want first.

The game’s graphical presentation is bouncy, colorful, and it doesn’t look that bad. I know some gamers are getting tired of pixel art-style games being a thing, since it seems like everyone and their great great grandma is making a game inspired by the days of 8-bit and 16-bit games, but if you put your own spin on it, and it doesn’t make me think of other games in a bad way, then I think you could keep doing it. My only real issue is that some people might be concerned about the low funding goal, and that it’s yet another neon/80s cyberpunk-inspired world. Again, if you put your own spin on it, then do so, but I can understand if people are getting tired of it, since neon/80s-themed games do pop up a lot. Still, I think it’s one of the better Kickstarter games to come to the site in July so far. If you like your top-down action games, and want to play a bit of the game, the devs do have a demo that you can try out. If this all looks fun to you, then join a gang and go support Neon City Riders.

Kickblunders: Games to Avoid and Back from May 2017

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Well, it’s time for another Kickblunders, a look at what games to avoid and support from May 2017. It felt like after Yooka Laylee’s release and Nintendo releasing the Switch and making bank, Kickstarter dried up a bit. Luckily, a lot of good Kickstarters are up now, and while some bad ones popped up, I think I found enough to warrant which ones to avoid and which ones to invest into. The only honorable mention I have is for the Kickstarter success Blasphemous. While I was working on this editorial, it got funded right off the bat. Still, if you like 2D action-heavy Dark Souls-style games, then you should keep supporting Blasphemous.

Now, before we officially begin, just a heads-up. Kickstarter games are not always going to be fruitful, and end up as amazing games just because they don’t have to deal with a major publisher (not yet at the very least). Make sure you do your research, look for the signs of good and bad Kickstarters, and wisely choose which ones to support. Hopefully these comparisons can help split the bad eggs from the good eggs. This is going to be a long article, so let’s begin!

Avoid!: The Cypher

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Listen, it might just be a Kickstarter for a demo, and it might at the very least have a video, but once again, you can’t be showing off a Kickstarter project anymore if you don’t have good legit footage or something playable. Yeah, I get that you want another game like Def Jam to exist, but do you know how much it would cost to do what you want with this type of project? It’s not only going to cost a lot in terms of making the game itself, but you will also be paying for royalties for the rappers to be in the game. I just don’t think this one was well thought out.

Instead, You Should Back: Project Rap Rabbit

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What’s this? A brand new rhythm game with an emphasis on rapping made by the minds behind PaRappa The Rapper and Gitaroo Man? Sign me up! While I am concerned that it won’t get funded because of people’s growing concern about Kickstarter projects from big names, I do think this one is worth supporting. It’s not just another Rock Band. It’s basically an RPG dialogue-based rap system, where you listen to the rap, choose your dialogue, and then rap back in rhythm. I love the art style and personality the game is bringing to the table. I do wish they had some actual gameplay, but I would rather support this project by vets who know what they want to do rather than a developer who has no idea what they are doing.

Avoid!: The Rise of Mooncrest

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This one hurts to talk about because it started off with a lot of promise when it was originally uploaded to the site two years ago. It also hurts because it’s from my home town of Austin, Texas. There are so many red flags about this re-upload that it isn’t funny. First off, the art is horrendous. Yes, in the end it doesn’t matter how pretty your game is if the gameplay isn’t good, but this looks like a flash game some sleazy two-bit developer would throw onto the app store. The Advance Wars-style gameplay isn’t the problem, it’s the visual presentation. You can tell a lot changed from the two versions of the Kickstarter with the budget being lesser and the four-person team is now only one. It doesn’t bring up a lot of good signs. I hate to say this one is a blunder, because it’s not the worst that I have seen. It does do a lot of things right, like have footage and a demo, but when a pretty similar style game is coming to the Switch called Wargroove, or other digital board game-style tactic games, then you need to step it up. I feel like this needed more polish in the art department and some clarity as to what happened with the other three people on the team.

Instead, You Should Back: Flash Point: Fire Rescue

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This is developed by RetroEpic Software, the newest Fig campaign (sorry for not getting to Phoenix Point in time. It looks great!), where you play as a group of fire fighters as you strategically make your way through different houses putting out the fires and saving civilians. You better watch out because fire can be rather unpredictable. The game has a great art style, and looks like a rather in-depth system of tackling every level. I hope they can bring it to consoles, since I feel like it could do well on something like the Switch.

Avoid!: Alpha’s Theory

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Once again, when there are other games in this genre like The Binding of Isaac, you need to not look like a fairly early-in-production flash game. It’s not like we can’t have variations of the same genre, but you also can’t simply go to Kickstarter, not have a video, and show off super early gameplay anymore. You need to look like you are far into development, with more polished footage and actual gameplay. It doesn’t look appealing, and there are obvious signs no one is backing it. It needed more time on the development table.

Instead, You Should Back: StarFlint: The Black hole Prophecy

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Back again for a second attempt of getting funded is the 2D point-and-click adventure game StarFlint by Sunmason Games. Once again, you play as two dashing young space heroes named Trixie and Flint, as you traverse the galaxy solving puzzles, enjoying a bit of comedic dialogue, and stop a large conspiracy taking shape. The game promises to offer multiple branches of where the story goes, depending on what you choose to do with multiple endings.  I’m a tad concerned since a lot of games try to have the “choose your own adventure”-style gameplay mechanic, but they don’t feel fleshed out enough to warrant selecting other choices during the game. I think I would rather just play a good linear adventure game, but if they can pull it off, it will give the game a good amount of replay value. If you like your 2D adventure-style games, and want what could become the next big adventure game, definitely go support StarFlint.

Avoid!: Mae and Leo’s Extraordinary Adventure

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A lot of the time, when developers show off footage for their Kickstarter project, you have to realize that it could be in a good alpha or beta state and not entirely finished. Some put their blood, sweat, and soul into it to make a good first impression, and some definitely show some flaws within the first step they take. This 2D platformer is yet another project that was way too early to show off. The art is amateur hour, the gameplay looks flat, and it’s not really that impressive. The game itself seems decent enough, but this was nowhere near ready to put on the last remaining months of Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter. It also doesn’t help that on their Greenlight page, they have been called out for deleting negative comments. Yeah, no one likes it when you can’t take criticism. When you put your product out there, you are opening yourself up to be criticized for being mediocre. Personally, I wouldn’t even give this developer the time of day right now. They might change and improve later down the line, but I could be too optimistic.

Instead, You Should Back: Ash of Gods

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One of the most impressive Kickstarters of the month of May 2017 is definitely Ash of Gods by developer AurumDust Studio. Want a tactical RPG to back and sink your teeth into while The Banner Saga 3 (a game they were heavily inspired by) is in production? Well, Ash of Gods is that game that you should support if tactical RPG-style games are your thing. It has beautiful 2D art with isometric characters that move fluidly and are full of great 2D art and cut scenes. I mean, this game is very impressive in terms of visuals. The game has elements of more typical tactics games, but also combines collectable cards and a nice online multiplayer component for those who need more after the main game is finished. Granted, some of the buzz words/comments used concern me, like how the game’s world and story are defined by your decisions. Being a roguelike always brings up concerns with how well the levels and encounters are executed, and the game wants to be hard. It’s fine if they want to make a hard game, but they need to make it fair that you lost, and not because of the game, but for the player’s own foolish moves. Developers who make hard games need to start realizing that they need to respect the player’s time, and if the player feels like they are wasting their time because of the difficulty, then they won’t want to pick it up again. If you like The Banner Saga, tactical RPGs, and beautiful art work done by a dev team that put their all into the end product, then definitely go back this project.

Well, that was May 2017. It was a pretty good month for Kickstarters. Now we shall see what happens to them. Hopefully, my editorial talking about them will get them some time in the spotlight.

Kickblunders: Games to Avoid and Back as of March 17th, 2017

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Welcome back to another edition of Kickblunders! After the first article, I got a lot of positive praise for the idea, with some minor fixes that are to be made for this newest edition of Kickblunders. Just like last time, for every bad Kickstarter, there will be a good one that you should check out instead. I won’t tackle bad Kickstarters that are being handled by kids, since they shouldn’t be allowed on Kickstarter in the first place, and I’ll make sure to link to each Kickstarter, good and bad, for you to see for yourself why they are worth it or not. Let’s get started!

AVOID: The Witch Cult

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The sad tragedy about this Kickstarter is the fact that it’s pretty good. It’s very detailed, has a unique idea, and the concept art has some great designs to it. It’s a very impressive Kickstarter that sadly does something that completely derails it from any interest. There is no gameplay. I’m sorry, but you can’t get me to back your Kickstarter if you have nothing to show off. Yeah, you got concept art, but I can’t see it in motion, or try out a demo of it. Like I said, and will probably say again and again, in this day, you have to have gameplay, and pretty good gameplay with your Kickstarter, or else people are not going to back it. I wish I could be able to say that I recommend backing this one, but since the dev has nothing to show, I can’t recommend it.

Instead, you should back: Valthririan Arc: Red Covenant

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Developed by Agate Studio, Valthririan Arc is what The Witch Cult should have been. It’s also a very unique project, since you are in charge of an academy that you can build that will have students go through different kinds of classes to become knights, mages, thieves, and you get the idea. You can upgrade different rooms, customize weapons, and once you get a good couple of adventurers and heroes, you can send them off on quests to complete, where it then turns into an action RPG where you fight monsters and find loot while completing a task. It’s a very complex game with a cute art style, and I really adore it, due to how unique it looks and feels in terms of indie games that are in development. I do wish the animations were better, since the art style is cute, but everyone has clunky and odd movements. Still, if this sounds at all appealing to you, then I would definitely go back Valthirian Arc: Red Covenant.

AVOID: Call of the Wild

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Once again, it isn’t a terrible-looking Kickstarter. The idea itself of animals fighting one another ala Animal Face-Off seems like a decent idea for a multiplayer action game. However, there is no gameplay, with only some 3D models. Like, it’s cool that the 3D models are impressive to look at, but you have no gameplay! I’m getting tired of developers uploading trailers for their Kickstarters and not showing any gameplay footage. It just hurts the overall appeal. Again, why should I give you money on just 3D models alone? I’m not really sorry, but that’s a bad move.

Instead, you should back: Narita Boy

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While the 80s theme that has been prevalent in indie games, and might be getting a tad stale, Narita Boy, developed by Studio Koba is at the very least, a promising-looking action game. It oozes 80s cheese, as you play as a legendary digital hero who must go on an epic quest through simultaneous dimensions to protect a digital kingdom that is under the tyrannical rule of some evil bad guy. Even the Kickstarter admits that it’s basically the Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery combined with He-Man, Ready Player One, and The Last Starfighter. I don’t think you could get any more 80s than that.  It seems like a solid action game with some fast-paced action, animal/vehicle driving, and lovely graphical sprites. I’m a tad concerned that it might not get funded, since it’s yet another 80s-tinged indie game, and the fact that March is a very busy month for gaming. Still, it has a good foundation to be a gem among the indie scene. If you like 2D action games with, again, an 80s theme, then you should back Narita Boy.

AVOID: Rock Audyssey

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And here we are again, a Kickstarter with a very cool idea. A rock & roll RPG. Doesn’t that sound like a unique and eye-catching idea? I know music games/rhythm games are nothing new, and they did crash and burn fast, due to them flooding the market, but this Kickstarter sounds promising. Sadly, yet again, the gameplay shown off demonstrates that it was not ready to show off. The art style doesn’t look good, and the gameplay looks lackluster. Sure, you could argue this is early gameplay and won’t represent the final product, and you would be right. However, I would argue that they also should have hired an artist, and made better-looking gameplay. The thumbnail looks fine, but it’s what is inside that is the problem. It also doesn’t help that the developers of Salt & Sanctuary made a rock & roll-themed beat em’ up called Charlie Murder, where you had sequences in the game where you played a rhythm game. If you can’t get to that level, then you shouldn’t be showing this game off to the public and asking for backing when it doesn’t look good.

Instead, you should back: Dragon Lore

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Here is something that’s fun. It’s an isometric tactical turn-based RPG called Dragon Lore, by the two-person team Madcat Games. You go on a grand adventure inside an airship, where you are set to explore a series of floating islands. The game is pretty simple, you control a group of heroes and recruited allies in a tactical turn-based combat that should be familiar to anyone who has played Final Fantasy Tactics, or well, any tactics RPG that is turn-based. The graphics are adorable, and remind me of 3D Dot Game Heroes in terms of the overall graphical style. I’m a bit concerned that it’s not going to get funded, due to it coming out this month, since this was when we also got the Nintendo Switch and Nier: Automata and we are also getting other big games, and people’s wallets might be drained by then. Still, I would love for this game to get funded, and make it through Steam greenlight, as it is probably one of the last few good things to be submitted to that trainwreck of a service on Steam. If you like tactical RPGs, then you should definitely check this Kickstarter out.

Bonus Kickstarter you should back: Pine

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Developed by the passionate team of Twirlbound, Pine is an action adventure game with a rather ambitious twist to it. In Pine, you play as a human in a world that has pretty much out-evolved humans. This includes tribes of lizard men, humanoid crocodiles, bipedal moose people, and you get the idea. The main goal is for you interact with the other tribes, and either attack them for your own gain or help them out. You will also be exploring other parts of the world that you live in, and will have to not only deal with the inhabitants, but also some puzzles as well. Depending on what you do, the tribes around you will either evolve to adapt, or devolve and become more primal in the evolutionary chain. The game looks rather impressive for an indie game. It’s awesome to see an indie developer do something more than sprites, even though I get why they do so.

My only real concern about the game is how the overall experience is going to pan out, and if this “advanced” AI is going to be as smart as the developers want it to be. Having enemies learn from your moves and attack style is impressive, but sometimes, when big mechanics like this are announced, they never end up being as great as they make it sound. I also hope the combat is complex and fun, and you don’t accidentally hit anyone that is on your side. However, that’s all I am concerned about because this is one of the best Kickstarters from March 2017. If you like anything this game offers, you should help back their product!

Unfortunately, this will probably be the last Kickblunders for a while, since the good isn’t outweighing the bad in terms of Kickstarter submissions. Luckily, I’ll still bring up the good Kickstarters that pop up, and make sure they get a proper shout-out!

Kickblunders: Games to Avoid and Back from February-early March 2017

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Welcome back to Kickstarter Flops, which is now called Kickblunders! I decided to bring this back, due to how many bad Kickstarters were popping up, and the eventual closing of Steam Greenlight this Spring, which may result in more schlock making its way to Kickstarter. Some new rules for these editorials will be that for every bad Kickstarter, there has to be a good one. I don’t want these to be all negative. I also won’t tackle Kickstarters that are by kids. While I don’t see why Kickstarters should be put up by kids who probably don’t know the consequences of a failed Kickstarter, but it wouldn’t look good for me to criticize them. And yes, I am well aware of the Banner Saga 3, Die for Valhalla, and Mutant Football League Kickstarters that have passed their funding goals and stretch goals. I think they had some of the best Kickstarters of February, and if you want to, you can and should go support them. The links to the Die for Valhalla, Mutant Football League and The Banner Saga 3 Kickstarter are as linked. Now then, let’s get started!

Avoid: Maya Chieftain

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I’ll start off with this project, because while it’s not the worst Kickstarter ever, a strategy game that gives me vibes of old PC strategy games like Liberty or Death is a neat idea. The problems come in the form of how everything is executed and shown off. The pitch part of the page is very lackluster with little detail. The game itself also looks really bad. Like, it isn’t even alpha state yet. I know it says that the individual in question has been working on this game for a year, but that doesn’t look like it. Everything looks like it was done in Microsoft Paint. It’s a shame since the idea itself is not bad, but you only have one chance at a first impression, and I’m sorry, but Maya Chieftain has failed in that regard.

Instead, you should back: Caveman Warriors

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What is not to love about an easy-to-get-into quirky arcade-style action game? It reeks of quality, and the only real criticism I have is that the playable character animations should be more expressive and, in general, better. You can play with four friends, with each character having their own unique abilities. With inspiration from the Joe & Mac series of arcade platformers, Castle Crashers, Metal Slug, and Trine, Caveman Warriors from developer JanduSoft hit all the right boxes in terms of pitching a polished and fun experience.

Avoid: Benjamin’s Fate

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With Steam Greenlight slowly getting shown the door and taken out back by Valve, one of the most notorious and downright crummy things a developer on Greenlight and Steam in general could do is take down the submission and re-upload it so it can show up back to the top of the new releases/submissions. Greenlight is notorious for stupid garbage like this, and it makes the developers that do this look like petty punks. Maybe the reason why your game isn’t being up-voted is because it’s bad, and re-uploading it won’t change a thing. Why did I go on this little tirade? It’s because the developer of Benjamin’s Fate did this on Kickstarter. First off, don’t do that. Second, I’m sorry, but the game is not very impressive looking. I don’t care if you are a team or a single-man studio, there is a clear difference between developers putting their blood, sweat, and tears into a project, and ones that don’t. Benjamin’s Fate is one of the projects that don’t. It’s a very boring-looking action adventure game that looks like an asset flip (when an individual buys a load of gaming assets not made by them, and then uploads it as their own product). You can tell me all day long about the features you have, but when you don’t show any of those features, and just show off your bland asset flip-looking character and world with nothing to do, then that’s failing yet again at first impressions. Also, if you are going to re-upload, at the very least make it better looking, so it’s not just a cut-and-paste rehash.

Instead, you should back: Guard Duty (It’s been funded, but I’m still going to talk about it)

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What we have here is a 2D adventure game that, to me, looks like it was inspired by early LucasArts adventure games. Sick Chicken’s Guard Duty has you play as two lead characters, a drunken guard named Tondbert, and his future ancestor Agent Starborn. It is up to the two of them to save their time periods from the evil rule of a tyrant who has no mortality. It’s definitely an interesting mix with the past and future timeline, and the fact that they are trying to make a more streamlined version of classic adventure games gets my support. I think a majority of retro gamers can admit that, while the old adventure games are nostalgic, a lot of them don’t hold up, due to bad or clunky puzzle design. I just adore a lot of this game, from the sprites to the setting. It’s a charming little adventure game that I feel like deserves more attention. I wish the 2D non-sprite art was a tad better, but that’s just a nitpick. My major concern is how the two-person team is going to be balancing out the tonal difference between the two leads’ worlds in, terms of story, and how the puzzle-solving will help each hero. Still, I found this to be a delightful Kickstarter project, and if you love adventure games, then you should definitely back Guard Duty.

Avoid: Dawn: An Alescian Tale

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I never thought I would see the Dollar Store version of Dust: An Elysian Tail. While it is not the worst Kickstarter that I have ever seen, because it put in some effort to look decent, it’s still not great. First off, it’s a rip-off of a game that has been out for a couple of years now with the title and gameplay being close to Dust. Actually, that’s a tad generous, because the gameplay in Dawn looks terrible. Just clunky movements, unfinished animations, and bland level design is not appealing to look at. I know it’s harsh to keep Kickstarter devs on such harsh grading scale, but you can’t be giving only 30-40% anymore. Just because you use sprites doesn’t mean it’s going to pull in Shovel Knight numbers. Just because you are a veteran game dev, doesn’t mean that everyone is going to just drop their money onto your lap. You have to be giving it 100% these days, since the indie and Kickstarter scene are becoming very competitive.

Instead, you should back: Anew: The Distant Light

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This game by Resonator, a studio founded by Steve Copeland and Jeff Spoonhower, who have worked on the Saint Rows franchise, Bioshock, Borderlands, and Uncharted. You play as a child who wakes up inside a special suit, on a distant alien moon where you must explore, survive, and fight your way back home. The world around is dangerous with multiple life forms that would love nothing more than to see you die a horrible grizzly death. Sure, it’s yet another Metroidvania-style game, but if they are done right with a world you want to explore, and is fun to go through, then I’m down to playing it. You will even be able to find unlockables, so you can upgrade not only yourself, but your space craft. The game looks great, and it shows the difference between a game with a sense of art direction and a game that’s just ugly to look at. You can tell a lot of effort was put into this game with its beautiful and alien landscapes and, for a lack of a better word, alien design to the creatures and machines. I’m a little concerned with how the story will unfold, since it’s taking the Dark Souls/cinematic platformer route, where it’s told through the world you live in and will be limited, since sometimes it can be used as an excuse for the sake of them not knowing how to write a good story. I can tell that isn’t the case with this game, but still. If you like your Metroidvania games, and want to support a game that had blood, sweat, and tears put into it, then you should definitely back Anew: The Distant Light.

Avoid: Poly Heroes

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Listen, I respect that everyone at one point or another wants to make a video game. I get that passion and drive too, and I feel like anyone can, but in reality, only the rare few will commit to the time and effort that goes into making one. I don’t really see that drive in Poly Heroes. On top of the fact that one guy wants to make an entire MMO out of the game, the game looks like a bunch of pre-bought assets. If anyone were supposed to take this Kickstarter seriously, it would need a lot more work to be done, and to not show off the game at such an early stage. You can’t be doing this kind of stuff anymore. After the Mighty Number 9 fiasco, it’s going to be tougher to get funding through Kickstarter, and unless you can knock it out of the park on the first try, you are going to be going on an uphill battle to try and get your game funded.

 

Instead, you should back: Heartbound

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I decided to mention Heartbound by Pirate Software, and while it has already made its funding goal, I still would rather help it out. This ambitious pixel-based RPG has you playing as a boy and his pet dog as they travel through time and space. The game offers a lot of elements that include a battle system, where you encounter and interact with enemies through mini-games that are described like the ones you find in Warioware, a town-building element, and a grand world to explore. The graphics look fantastic, and the game has easily some of the most impressive sprite work seen in 2017. While I am concerned that it is kind of leaning on the legacy left by Undertale, I hope it can be good while wearing its Undertale inspirations on its sleeves. It is doing a good job in doing so, but still. It felt like after Undertale came out, a couple of indie RPGs were coming out that are trying to be like Undertale. I don’t blame them, and I backed one of them, like last year’s GLITCHED, but I thought I would make that little observation. If you like sprite-based RPGs, then you should checkout Heartbound.

There are definitely more disappointing Kickstarters to avoid, and ones to back, but I want to see what you all think about this article. What do you think the Kickstarters to avoid could learn from the ones I recommend? Would you like to see some more articles focusing on the good and bad Kickstarters?

Top Video Game Kickstarter Projects of January 2017

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Well, we might be in January, one of the driest months of the year in terms of gaming, but Kickstarter decided to make sure that wasn’t the case, and there are some great projects that everyone should check out. We have a solid mix of platformers, roguelike RPGs, and action games. By the way, this is going to be a long list. Let’s get to those projects.

Little Bug

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Up first is a 2.5D platformer from the crowdfunding site Fig, Little Bug. This game is developed by a studio called Buddy System. It’s about a young kid named Nyah as he wakes up inside a dark forest that is illuminated by a crashed vehicle. She then sets on an adventure with a friendly and helpful spirit. The game lets you control both Nyah and the spirit, ala twin stick controls. Think of platforming in the vein of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. You must use the spirit to help Nyah through the level of dark atmospheric forest, worlds, and creepy-as-all-Hades purple graspy hands. You can even play this game in co-op, and the crowdfunding page says that there will be more than just what you see in the trailer in terms of abilities. To me, it’s a game that looks like there will be more symbolic Braid-style world building, due to where Nyah is. It’s not a bad idea at all, but since you show a car crash at the beginning of the trailer, I’m sure some people can put the puzzle together in terms of what is going on. I also hope the variety of the game is good enough, because nothing is worse than a game with one gimmick getting repetitive. Sure, using a ball of glowing light to save a young kid, and blasting away barriers so she doesn’t get caught by creepy purple hands can be fun, but I hope they take more advantage of the concept.

Even then, I’m talking about it for a reason. It looks good. I like the style of the world and what may or may not have happened to Nyah. It’s also a more simple game to come from Fig that has pretty much based its listing of successful crowdfunding projects on ambitious and expansive games. If you like 2D platformers or platformers with style and atmosphere, definitely go support this project.

Pixel Princess Blitz

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Developed by Lanze Games, a developer from Germany, Pixel Princess Blitz follows the story of Kuruna, a young girl who sets off on an adventure across the land of Verad. Pixel Princess Blitz is a 2D roguelike/action RPG where you travel across a hex-based world to save the day. You will encounter random, well, encounters where deciding what action you take will define the future events of the story. Once you enter battles and dungeons, you will be put into these sequences with real time combat. Think of games like Hand of Fate, where you go from the overworld to these arenas, or in Pixel Princess’s case, dungeons, and fight off monsters, other races, and individuals. You will also need to keep track of what resources you have, and manage them since once you die in this game, it’s permanent. There are also other elements to keep track of with AI, which will try everything in its power to kill you, and being prepared with the right weapons when you enter a dungeon, since some enemies might be better off getting killed by something that hurts them. It’s a rather ambitious roguelike, and that will help itself due to how oversaturated the indie market is because of how many developers tackle this one genre.

The game’s sprite work presentation is beautiful. I know it’s very common to see an indie developer use pixel graphics due to how much cheaper it can be than having to deal with 3D polygons, but sprite work and pixel art has to be well done, or else it will look like a jumbled mess.

Still, I have some concerns with how well the resource management will be handled on top of the difficult RNG elements. RNG has started to slowly become a form of concern when a game is said to have it, because of how unfairly it has been balanced, and leans way too much on the luck of the roll of the dice. I just see no reason to have both. Just focus on making one or the other great. Maybe I’ll interview the developer and see how they plan on balancing out the experience.

Overall, I like what Pixel Princess Blitz offers. It changes up enough of the roguelike formula to stand out, and it seems like the developers have a solid foundation on what they want to do and what direction to take the game. If you like these types of games, and anything on their Kickstarter page sounds appealing, then by all means help out the studio.

UnDungeon

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Probably one of the prettiest pixel games of 2017, UnDungeon by Laughing Machines, is an isometric action RPG, where you play as the seven Heralds. These powerful individuals appeared after multiple dimensional worlds decided to crash into one massive world. The main goal is to travel across these new lands. You choose from one of the Heralds and will have your own abilities and skills to make your way through the unknown/alien-like world. If you happen to die, the mystical item all the Heralds have called The Core, will bring you back to life, but will put you into a different location. You can’t really spam the enemies, for the fact that your abilities that change for each character have a cool-down meter. Pick and choose how you attack, and you should be able to make it out this horrifying landscape in one piece. You will also be dealing with a special upgrade tree, interacting with other inhabitants, and dealing with the choices you make during your journey affecting the world and story around you.

Graphically speaking, this game is gorgeous. It sort of reminds me of Hyper Light Drifter in terms of the look, and even the developers have admitted HLD was a huge influence on the look. I got such a huge kick at how unusual and unique the Heralds look. They are these, well, alien and unhero-looking individuals. You can tell how much effort was put into the animation and crisp-looking sprites. The music by stonefromthesky (yes it’s spelled that way) definitely did a great job at emphasizing this barren dystopia of a world with atmospheric wastelandish tunes with a slight hint of techno added into the mix. It seriously helps make this alien world feel more alive as you traverse the land around you.

My only real concern is that I hope the world around you is interesting, and the changes that are made to the world around you are different enough to warrant the roguelike elements. In the end, I still love this Kickstarter, and if you are looking for a great looking action adventure game to back for PC and PlayStation 4 (so far), then I would highly recommend that you support Laughing Machines in bringing this game to life.

Ayo The Clown

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Probably the cutest game on this list, Ayo The Clown by Cloud M1, is a 2.5D platformer, where you play as this cute little clown (I know that was an odd pairing of words to describe a clown, but still) that must save his dog. You will run, jump, and gain simpler abilities, like pushing blocks and grabbing onto ledges as you make your way through this adorable world. You will even be able to ride in tanks and helicopters through certain levels. As you traverse your way through the game, you will be able to collect items to customize your clown.

The graphics are cute, colorful, and whimsical. It definitely reminds me of games from the PlayStation 1 era, where they were still trying to get 3D right and that one way they experimented was with the game being in 2.5D. It’s 3D, but not Mario 64 3D.

It’s an adorable platformer, with probably the only concern I have is that the game doesn’t really do much to differentiate itself from other platformers. It looks like a polished experience, but there is no real hook. There are no abilities connected to being a clown, just a clown platforming through a colorful world. I mean, it still looks good or I wouldn’t be throwing my hat into talking about them, but I do hope the game does enough to make it special, and really executes its platforming perfectly.

Sundered

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Technically, I don’t have to give this one a shout-out because it already reached its funding, but I still want to talk about the follow-up game from Thunder Lotus Games, Sundered. This 2D-animated Metroidvania action game might already be known to the public that follows indie games, but the team decided to come to Kickstarter to get funding to finish the game for its 2017 release. You essentially travel across Lovecraftian landscapes of never-ending nightmares, fighting hordes of enemies and massive bosses. Each time you die, you start back at the beginning, but can upgrade your abilities and progress further into the world. One element of the upgrade system to keep track of is that you can gain special items from bosses to improve your abilities, but be careful about corrupting them. They might be stronger, but they come at a price.

Since this is the same developer of Jotun, the 2D animation is gorgeous and the music is fantastic. I don’t really have too much else to say about this game and its developer. It’s a project that already got funded, and it’s by a developer who has published a Kickstarter success. If you feel like they could use even more money than what they have, then go help them out.

 Robo Puzzle Smash

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Do you remember those days playing Super Puzzle Fighter? Don’t you wish there were some more games like it, where they combine fast-paced Tetris Attack-style gameplay? Well, Robo Puzzle Smash is the game for you. Developed by PxlPlz and being a popular indie game at festivals, this game is set up pretty much like Puzzle Fighter, where you play a Tetris/Puyo Pop-style game, and the more blocks you delete on your side will end up on the opponents’ side. The main goal is to not let the blocks touch the top of the puzzle screen. So, where does the gimmick come in? You can rotate your puzzle screen and have blocks fall on different sides to unleash puzzle combos. You will be able to play in a couple of modes, like arcade mode, verus mode, online, practice mode, and tournament.

Graphically, the game looks like 3D Dot Game Heroes, in the sense that the sprite characters were turned from 2D to 3D. The character designs are colorful, varied, and do move around a lot while you puzzle your way through the fight. The music is upbeat and catchy, with a vibe similar to Super Puzzle Fighter.

There really isn’t much to be concerned about, besides it might not make its goal. I think if it had come out at a different time and had more interesting backgrounds, it would be better, but maybe it’s for the best. The backgrounds are simple, so the characters and puzzles don’t get muddled within the background. If you like these types of puzzle games, definitely help out this developer.

The Pedestrian

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Probably one of the more visually amusing games of this list is The Pedestrian by developer Skookum-Arts. The main goal of the game is to get your male bathroom symbol character across a puzzle platformer. So, how do you platform in this game? You do it by connecting signs in different spots for the character to traverse and puzzle-solve. The game is very simple, but there is an incredible charm to the overall game. Its graphics are great, but the fact that entire levels are taking place on signs is novel, and definitely sets itself apart from other platformers.

My only real concern is how long this game will be, and how engrossing the story will be. I know the story will be more in the background, but I hope they know just because you put the story in the background, it doesn’t mean it’s going to end up being deep and poetic. Still, I want this game to get funded. It’s a super-charming puzzle game that is, heaven forbid, unique among the indie games on this list. If you want, you can play a demo that is on the Kickstarter page to see if it’s your type of game.

Solo

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This is another game on Fig, Solo by Team Gotham. It’s a 3D adventure game where you choose a male or female sailor. You traverse islands and find out how far you are willing to go when you are fueled by love for your special significant other. You can choose what gender you want to be and what kind of relationship you have. You will also be solving puzzles using blocks, but you won’t have to worry about how to solve each puzzle, since the crowdfunding page says that each puzzle has multiple solutions. Another gameplay element to watch out for is the story. Depending on what you choose in terms of answers, the narrative and overall experience will change.

I like the graphical style for this game. It’s a 3D cartoony artstyle that’s really charming, and I feel like that fits this game more than something realistic. It’s bright and colorful, and reminds me of something from Wind Waker. I just adore the idea of this game focusing on the love for your significant other. When games decide to really focus on that, like in Lost Planet 3, it makes for some truly memorable moments. I still fondly remember traversing my mech in Lost Planet 3 and listening to the interaction the lead would have with his wife. It gives games like this a lot of life to them.

With all that said, and while I do think this game looks promising, I do hope the puzzles are challenging, and the story can be kept engaging. I know minimalist storytelling is a popular trope in the indie community, but unless done well, it can lead to some failure of story conclusions. If you don’t believe me, play Bound, and you will see what I mean. Still, I find these types of games charming. If you like story-based games with personal connecting stories, then you will probably love this game and want to support it.

Legrand Legacy

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And finally, the last game for this article, it’s Legrand Legacy by developer SEMISOFT. It’s an RPG where you play as six unlikely heroes that must prevent a huge calamity from destroying the land of Legrand. If you love turn-based RPGs, then you will feel pretty well at home with what Legrand Legacy is offering. You will be traversing these well-done pre-rendered backgrounds as 3D characters, ala the RPGs from the PlayStation 1 generation. Monsters will be visible in the levels, and running into them will take you into battles. Just like the first few Mistwalker titles, you will be able to place your characters in different spots for strategic purposes, like putting your tanks upfront, and magic users in the back. It also takes a little from the Shadowheart games, where you must press a button at the right time to do more damage and other perks. You will level up, buy equipment, and a pretty impressive feature that I have seen a lot of RPGs tackle these days, army and base building. You can recruit non-playable NPCs to help you build up your castle, go on side-quests, make your castle the talk of the town, and go through Suikoden-style army battles. There will also be side-quests, crafting, and mini-games to tackle as well.

This is a very impressive game in terms of graphics and ambition. It looks like if there was an HD remaster of the PlayStation Final Fantasy games. The backgrounds look crisp and the 3D models look like pretty visually pleasing. It’s actually great to see an RPG get made that isn’t just another indie game trying to capture the Super Nintendo era of RPGs. I love those, but other console generations had amazing RPGs as well. The music even sounds very Lost Odyssey and Final Fantasy, and that’s a good thing. I like my grand epic fantasy scores for a grand fantasy adventure. Sure, it might take its cues from other RPGs, but Legrand Legacy looks like a great RPG. I just wish there was talk of console versions since that’s how I grew up in the RPG genre. If you love PlayStation-PlayStation 2, or even PlayStation 3 era RPGs, then you should really check this game out.