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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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: It has been funded!
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.
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.
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.