Kickstarter Shout-out: Games to Support as of 11/2/17

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Well, the Halloween season is over, and we are moving into the holiday season. This is where I think some crowd-funding projects might struggle, since this is when people start saving up cash for presents for themselves, friends, and family. It’s a shame, since for a season where we help each other and be human, it’s hard for us to go and support projects during this time of the year. Granted, it doesn’t help when bad Kickstarters happen, but still. I found some Kickstarter projects that should be worth your time.

Of course, the usual warning for these types of projects is that you should only invest enough into the project that you don’t mind losing, if the project doesn’t deliver, or is underwhelming. Make sure to do your research into the project, and see if it would be something you would love to help support. My one honorable mention will be for Jack and Casie, a cool action/puzzle/inventory management game that has a free demo that is totally worth checking out. Now then, let’s get started.

Shadow of the Mask

nov01

Let’s start with the Kickstarter that has the least amount of time attached to it, Shadow of the Mask by Tera y Kiwi. You play as two detectives in a world where superheroes were once a huge deal before the law came down on them. Your main goal is to solve a recent brutal murder that may have to do with a fallen-from-grace superhero. The world itself is very interesting, since there are no more heroes, and villains have founded companies and continued to be evil, just evil under the law. It’s a great set-up. Shadow of the Mask is a point-and-click adventure game where you travel through the cybernetic city solving puzzles, talking to individuals, and going through mostly traditional adventure game stuff. Graphically, I love the look of the game. Sure, I can see some people calling it ugly, but I like the Superjail-style art work, designs, and 90s Rugrats-style color pallet. My main concern is that I hope the puzzles work fluidly within the adventure. Nothing is worse than a puzzle that just halts you in your tracks. I wish the animation was a bit better, but for a game on Kickstarter, it looks pretty good. It’s better looking than most games that were on Kickstarter or when Steam Greenlight was a thing. If you love adventure games, sci-fi settings, or free playable demos, I would highly recommend checking out this project.

Shakes and Fidget

nov02

Up next is another adventure game with hugely impressive production values. This project is called Shakes and Fidget by developer KING Art, the people behind The Dwarves and The Book of Unwritten Tales, and Playa Games, who made the Shakes and Fidget mobile game. You play as, well, Shakes and Fidgets, who live in a fantastical world as shopkeepers. That is, until they get a distress call, and go on a dangerous and hilarious adventure. If you have played any adventure games, then Shakes and Fidgets will be the game for you, since it plays like every other game in the genre. You will travel around multiple areas, solving puzzles that will probably involve whatever you have in your inventory. For better or worse, the game is definitely pushing its animation and production values around, and it looks impressive. In terms of Flash animation, everything looks clean, and it looks like a game with a lot of personality with the world and its designs. My one major gripe with this Kickstarter is that it focuses so much on the personality and drive the team has for making the game, that it doesn’t really expand on the mechanics or the gameplay. I know most adventure games are the same, but you can still do something that makes the game stand out, besides its pretty production values. It feels like an amateur mistake to not really talk about the gameplay. Still, it’s a developer I trust, and they have made games before. That’s more than most developers on Kickstarter. If you like adventure games with a silly sense of humor, then I definitely recommend supporting this game.

Lonely Mountains: Downhill

nov03

Remember when Trials and Joe Danger were sort of big deals in terms of the indie scene? I love those types of games, but we don’t see a lot of them anymore, which is why I’m happy to see this game, Lonely Mountains: Downhill by developer Megagon Industries. The gameplay in Lonely Mountains has you going down a very large mountain jumping, sliding, and drifting down the dirt paths down the giant rock. You basically have to be careful with how fast you are going, or else you will be flinging your body into some trees, dirt, rocks, or right off the mountain itself. The developers have also promised that there will be different bikes that will help break up the game.

The game’s graphics are simple polygons, but there is a charm to how they are set up. It keeps the game simple and easy to navigate. I’m a tad concerned about how long lasting appeal the game has, but it seems like a fun game to pick up, play for a few minutes, and then put down. I hope it can come to other consoles since this looks like it would do well on something like the Switch, due to its pick-up-and-play nature. If you love sports games with a different twist to them, then definitely support this Kickstarter.

Du Lac and Fey: Dance of Death

nov04

We’re back again with an adventure game, but this time, a bit more cinematic, and in 3D. Du Lac and Fey: Dance of Death by developer Salix Games puts you in charge of an immortal knight of the round table, Sir Lancelot Du Lac. You are on a thrilling mystery journey with your assistant, Morgana le Fey, who takes the form of a dog, and Mary Kelly, to save the city from a grizzly series of murders. It plays very much like a 3D adventure game, where you traverse different locations, talk to citizens with different dialogue trees, and from time to time, go through some action sequences. The game’s biggest and probably most interesting offering is that it has a really big cast of actors playing the characters. You have Gareth David Lloyd, Perdita Weeks, Alexandra Roach, Rupert Vansittart, Nina Kristofferson, Inel Tomlinson, Harry Hickles, Pri Burford, David Morley Hale, Jack Kristiansen, Eden Vansittart, Sam Huges, Kitty Dearlove, and Emma Vansittart. These actors have been in big shows, like Penny Dreadful and Game of Thrones. The graphics look good, and while it is still early on in development, it’s way better than most trash developer games that showed up on Steam Greenlight. It gets a good grimy and unsettling mood with its colors, designs, and music by Jools Scott, who has loads of music experience, including Transport for London and Philharmonia Orchestra. I’m concerned with how the more action-oriented set pieces will play out, but this team of developers has worked on games like The Division, Fable Legends, Bioshock 2, Disney Infinity, No Man’s Sky, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Halo Wars 2, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Batman: Arkham Knight, so I think these individuals have experience. I also like that there is a female director on board. You sadly don’t see that a lot, and it’s nice that this is the case with this one. If you love cinematic 3D adventure games, and a focus on story-driven experiences, then definitely support this awesome Kickstarter.

Ara of the Wanderers

nov05

Here we have an atmospheric pixel art game called Ara of the Wanderers. It’s being developed by Bearmancer, and puts you into the shoes of Ara, an individual in the world of Eras, a land where nature has taken over, and covered buildings, and unknown mysteries still lay buried under ruin. It is up to you to go out, and find out about your past. The game is a 2D action adventure game inspired by The Legend of Zelda and Deus Ex, where you will be traversing different areas of the world, solving puzzles, and getting into combat with human and non-human enemies. Actually, scratch that last part, because the game is open-ended in how you approach the situation. You can bribe, kill, and downright avoid them if you wanted to. The developer is boasting that every action in this game in terms of combat will have consequences. That means you had better be smart enough to find a way around the situation, since killing that opponent could lead to something changing later in the game.

I like the graphics for the game. Sure, it’s more sprite/pixel work, but when you make the movements smooth, and use unique designs, it can definitely make your game stand out among the many that use the same style of graphics. The music by composer Tobias Hendrickson brings you into this world with an ominous vibe, but one filled with mystery. I’m a tad concerned with how people are going to receive the combat, and how consequential your actions as a player will be, but I’m down for supporting this game. If you like games with good world building, sprite/pixel art, or games that drop you into a world with a mystery to solve, then definitely check out Ara of the Wanderers.

The Untold Legend

nov06

Developed by Iconic Games, The Untold Legend is a top-down action-adventure game in the same vein as The Legend of Zelda. You live in the world of Loomia, a magical land that was once home to an ancient race known as the Loomians, which could stretch the fabrics of time. You play as a young hero sent to venture through this land, and stop an evil force from ruining the world, and bending space and time to its will. For the most part, the game plays very much like a Zelda title. You venture around a huge open-ended world, going to any location you wish to visit first (with the exception of a few areas), fight monsters, solve puzzles, and take down large bosses. It’s a fairly typical action-adventure game in this style, but it does have a few twists in the formula. For one, your shield will be able to help you in different situations, like getting over lava, turning into a lantern, and you get the idea. You will even be able to buy items to equip yourself with that will change how you look onscreen. You will even get more attacks the better you are with certain weapons. It’s definitely a game set to be big, ambitious, and fun.

At first, I thought the graphics were really good sprite work, but seeing that its 2D flash animation is rather impressive. I mean, it does have a bit of that mobile game look to it, but everything is animated well, and combat looks satisfying. The music is being handled by Daniele Zandara, and sounds pretty good. They have a few fantastical-sounding samples on the Kickstarter page if you want to listen to the soundtrack. I’m a tad concerned the flash game look is going to turn off some people, but I think any fans of the top-down Legend of Zelda games will love this game. If you like anything I mentioned previously in this statement about the game, then definitely go support it.

Stay tuned as November decided to be full of Kickstarters, so expect more than one article this month!

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