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There are a few things you expect in life. You expect death, taxes, clever humor from Demetri Martin, and crowdfunding sites having a slew of projects all asking for money to fund them. My only honorable mentions will be the GameBoy-inspired roguelike, Kharon’s Crypt and the digital card game Doomtrooper. They already got funded, so I don’t have a reason to talk about them. 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. Let’s not waste any time, and check out the slew of crowdfunding projects that deserve your attention.
Developed by Second Step Studios, The Devil’s Eight is a 2.5D boss-rush game with a heavy reliance on music. You will be on circular battle arenas, with a large boss in the middle of said arenas. A cool element that I observed was the fact that it looked like the bosses moved and attacked to the rhythm of the song playing in the back ground. I find that neat that they are making an action-focused boss fight that fits the techno beats and vibes that are in each level. It reminds me of those fun music-themed levels from Rayman Legends. I like that this game wants to do something different in terms of gaming, but I am concerned about the visuals. I like the overall style to the game, but I wonder if the effects and colors will be too much while trying to lay a smack-down on the bosses. When I die or get hit, I want to feel like it’s my fault, and not because my eyes were distracted by all the visual overloading going on. Still, I think this is a cool concept, and it looks like a game I would love to play on something like the Switch or PC, if the requirements aren’t too demanding. If you like action games, boss-focused games, and music, then you should definitely check out this devilish delight.
A popular thing to do these days is for indie developers to help out other indie developers by making a game that shows off their characters, while also making these playable marketing icons part of an actual game. The crowdfunding site Fig.co even had one of these types of games called Bounty Battle, where it was like Smash Bros., but with indie game characters. It’s nothing new, so you have to keep coming up with different genres or styles of games to put them into. Indie Pogo, by Lowe Bros. is the newest contender to be the next big “we have indie game characters in our game” game. The big gimmick here, besides the list of indie characters in the game, is that every character will constantly be jumping. You have to jump on them or attack them while avoiding their attacks. The pixel art looks great, as characters move well and the colors are bright. I am a tad concerned that this game might get overshadowed, since it’s yet another indie game advertisement among a couple of other games that are doing the same thing. I mean, it’s cool that indie developers, at the very least the good ones, are helping out other developers by advertising their games, but I want the game to be fun. If you like local party games, then Indie Pogo is the project for you.
While I don’t think anyone is truly looking for another Stardew Valley-style game anytime soon, if you can bring something interesting to the genre, then by all means let’s see it happen. My Time at Portia from developer Pathea Games, decided to step up to the plate. You will be a newcomer to Portia, where you must live a peaceful life, help the citizens with certain tasks, farm, craft items and objects, fight monsters, and befriend the many people of Portia. The game’s visual look is hugely impressive. For an indie game, and an indie game on Kickstarter, the game looks pretty good. I like the art style that reminds me of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and I adore the lush colors. My only real complaint is that the character design on the humans is fairly forgettable. I just don’t care for their designs. I like the other designs of the animals, buildings, and vehicles, but the humans look like they were from a free-to-play mobile game. Hopefully, they can polish them up if they get funded, and work on the game. I think there is a lot to enjoy with My Time at Portia, and if you want to try out a slice of the game, they have a playable demo. If you like Stardew Valley, or any games in that vein, then I highly recommend supporting My Time at Portia.
Now, we have the 2D action roguelike that promises to be a dark and brutal experience, Dark Devotion by Hibernian Workshop. You play as an individual that must traverse a fallen temple, that will have branching paths with smaller bosses, and a major boss in each main world or floor of the temple. If you have played any games that have roguelike elements, any mechanics from Dark Souls, or found yourself in a dark desolate world with nightmarish creatures and horrors awaiting your arrival, then Dark Devotion should be familiar to gamers. You will also have an end-all currency known as Faith. You use Faith to unlock hidden paths, upgrade your character, open special chests, and so on. This means while you can definitely use it to upgrade yourself so you can be strong enough in the next run to take down those tough baddies that turned you into paste, maybe it’s a good idea to save some just in case you run into chests or an alternate path. Unfortunately, no matter which path you take, you will not be able to backtrack. Each time you leave a room, the door closes, so you had better make the right move. The game itself is pretty promising, and it has a free demo if you want to try it out before you plop down some of that nice money, but my concerns with the game come from the fact that I feel like I have seen this type of game before. Earlier this year, we had Blasphemous, which was this dark and horrifying 2D action game, and being a tough 2D action-focused roguelike is nothing new. We pretty much have a market that is already flooded with roguelikes that are tough and unforgiving, and we have a lot of games inspired by the Dark Souls franchise. Nothing is inheritably wrong with that, but if it feels like I’m seeing or playing a game that’s very similar to others, then that’s a problem. I love the promise this game brings to the table, but if you are burnt out on roguelikes that don’t do anything to offer you a reason to replay the levels over and over, then people might be turned off by yet another game that does all of those things. I still have a lot of faith in this project, and if you want to back it, by all means do so. It’s definitely a more promising and ideal Kickstarter than most that pop up on the site.
Developed by Pathos Interactive, Bannermen is a real-time-strategy game similar to the ones you played back in the day, like Age of Empires. The twist added to the gameplay is something the developers call “dynamic environments”, where you can use magical spells to control nature, like burn forests, use lightning to shock soldiers, and so on. You gain these powers by making shrines or temples at certain parts of the map. You will even be able to play this game with friends in a multi-player mode. It’s quite a solid idea, but my main concern is the look. Outside of the environmental powers you can obtain, Bannermen looks a tad generic. As a game using the Unreal Engine, it looks fine, but the art style is what is unappealing about it for me. I know they are going for more realistic medieval looks, but I guess if you are going to be in a genre that is dominated by the titans like StarCraft, there should be something that helps you stand out visually. It also looks like a generic RTS game. Now more than ever, you need to find a way to stand out, and looking like something else in my game library isn’t going to be enough. Still, I think this is a rather solid project, and if you want more RTS-style games, then you should go and support Bannermen.
If you are a fan of tactical RPGs like Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, or The Banner Saga, then Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark by 6EyesStudio is your game. Honestly, Fell Seal has been considered a spiritual successor to the Final Fantasy Tactics series, since everything takes place on a square arena, characters move in place until they are commanded to move and whack an enemy on the head. You have multiple job classes, hundreds of moves, and travel along a map with set destinations. The game looks pretty solid. The 2D art is visually eye-catching, and the designs of the characters remind me more of the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics with that cool art style used in the cutscenes. I even like that you get to pick some visual delights for non-story characters, and make them look how you want them to look. The music by composer Jan Morgenstern is also a nice part of the presentation package. The samples I listened to from the game had magnificent fantasy vibes, and that shouldn’t be surprising due to Jan’s work on the Nintendo DS title Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled. If I had to be concerned about one thing, it would be how the difficulty, grinding, job classes, and abilities will be balanced. I love a good challenge, but if it becomes too much, and I get punished because I didn’t level everyone up correctly, then I’m going to be annoyed if the game isn’t very clear. I also want every class and move to be useful. I don’t want to go through a game where I only play as maybe six or so classes, and not use the others. I know not every gamer is the same, and tactical RPG players probably have their own team set-ups, but still. However, I love this project, and I can tell the team working on this has a passionate drive to make this a reality. If you love tactical RPGs, great hand-drawn graphics, and a playable demo, then I highly recommend checking out this Kickstarter!
And finally, the final Kickstarter I want to talk about is Flynn: Son of Crimson by Studio Thunderhorse. You play as Flynn, as you take control of a mystical power known as the Crimson, and must stop an evil force from coming your way, and killing the land. Flyyn: Son of Crimson is a 2D action-focused platformer in the same design of a Metroidvania-style game. You run, jump, and fight your way through a magical world. You will have multiple weapons to unlock for your uses, like a sword, a bow, and claws. Flynn is also able to trade in trinkets for new moves. For as many 2D pixel games as we are getting, Flynn looks pretty spectacular. The music is also pretty catchy, thanks to composer Jacob Lincke. Jacob definitely has a very Studio Ghibli-inspired soundtrack that reminds me of some of the earlier Ghibli films, like Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. My only concern is this is yet again, another Metroidvania-style game, and we have a lot of those. I hope it stands out enough to warrant someone who has played a lot of these games, to purchase another one in the genre. Even then, Flynn looks like a fantastic game, with tight combat and great visuals. If you love these types of games, then I highly recommend checking out this project.
That is it for September, and we shall see what new projects become interesting when we go into October! Thanks for checking these out, and I will see you all next time!