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Like I said previously, a flood of indie game projects decided to hit crowdfunding sites in November, and I didn’t want to make one long editorial. I had to split the list up in two. I think this November has been very fruitful with its choices, since I know a lot of games that I think should exist. As usual, only invest in as much you are willing to part with, and the final product might not live up to the hype. Do your research, and only support the best of the best Kickstarters on the site. Enjoy!
Up first is the newest Fig.co campaign, Obelus by developer, Springloaded. You play as an intergalactic insurance salesman named Dave, who traverses the galaxy offering insurance to the few fleeting groups of humanity under a tyrannical company. All Dave has is his trusty salesman skills and a giant mech to help you defend yourself from hostile alien life. The game is a 2D narrative-driven action game, where you go from planet to planet inside the mech. When you encounter hostile lifeforms, the game turns into a shooter, like Metal Slug or Contra, in which you defend yourself by using the mech’s built-in cannons. As you reach individuals in need of insurance, you will be able to get into conversations with them and your trusty giant tank. Depending on where the argument goes, the game’s story will be affected by the decisions made in said conversations. Be careful though, the mech can be heavily damaged, and when it goes into auto-repair mode, you will need to be on the outside of your nice safe mech, but luckily, you’ve got a shotgun to take care of those mean aliens.
Even though it uses pixel art, the game does a good job with making you feel alone and isolated on your business ventures. The music that has been inspired by John Carpenter and Blade Runner makes you uneasy as you walk across dangerous landscapes. Anyway, the game looks beautiful, and the world feels crisp and alive. I’m a tad concerned with how enjoyable combat will be between story sequences, and I want my choices within the story to actually change depending on what I say, but I have trust in this developer, since they have experience with making games like Ultra Hyperball for the Nintendo Switch and Hiragana Pixel Party on PC. If you love atmospheric 2D action games with an emphasis on story, then definitely go support this title.
Up next is a dark and spooky horror-survival game called The Padre by developer Shotgun with Glitters. The Padre is an isometric horror-survival game where you play a demon hunter known as The Padre. You go investigate a case of a missing Cardinal while traversing ghoulish landscapes and buildings, solving puzzles, fighting monsters, and hopefully, not giving in to your darkest desires. The game will also have adventure game elements, where you find items to solve said puzzles with. I have a few concerns about the game, like the game looks appropriately spooky and unsettling, but the blocky designs are weird against the grungy horror ascetics. I am also very concerned with how the flow of the puzzles and combat will go. Horror games are infamous for horrible combat, and I hope this game can pull it off well. It’s a promising project with a lot of potential to be an interesting horror title to be on the lookout for. If you want to try the game out, there is a free demo, so you can see if you like what they are doing or not. If you love horror games, then I highly recommend checking out The Padre.
Since the Minecraft-style of game is not going away anytime soon, with so many games big and small picking up crafting (even if they shouldn’t), you might as well get creative with it. This next one is called Deiland. It’s being developed by Chibig, and it was a popular submission from the Square Enix Collective. It’s a 3D action RPG where you play as Arco, a young boy who was sent to a Minor Planet to awaken the magic from within the planet’s crystals. If you have played any crafting/survival/Stardew Valley/Harvest Moon-style game, then the mechanics should be familiar to anyone who is a fan of those games. You will be able to craft items, crops, buildings, and shape the planet to your liking. You will also have to be careful and use environmental events to your advantage. You will be meeting new characters who will be friends and enemies on your adventure. On top of the planet you take care of, you will be able to explore other planets with your new friends and fight monsters.
The graphics look great, even if I wish the developer could have found a way to not have slowdown pop up from time to time. It has a nice graphical style with a good color pallet, and it at least is visually nice to look at. The music is also pretty great, with whimsical space-like vibes and calm summer day-like songs that really give this game a laid-back vibe. The two composers for this game, Paco Mitos and Rafa Gimenez deserve a lot of credit for making some pretty fantastic tunes to listen to. I am a tad concerned that they didn’t really go into detail about the combat, and it’s not very clear how it all works, but that’s really it. I think this looks like a great project, and it’s already coming to PC and PlayStation 4. Everyone should definitely go check this game out if they are into anything to do with adventures, crafting, harvesting, and any fans of Harvest Moon.
This is a cute little gem that reminds me of games like Pocky and Rocky and Mystical Ninja. It’s called Rising Dusk by developer Studio Stobie. The story is very simple. A young girl is stuck in the twilight realm where yokai exist, and she must find a way to get out of it. So, if you watch the trailer, the game looks pretty standard. It’s a 16-bit-style platformer. What is going to be different about this one? Well, you know those coins you are supposed to collect in most games? Yeah, in this game, you avoid them like the plague. The main gimmick of this game is that you avoid the coins like a “No Touch” challenge, except that the no touching is literal. If you grab even a single coin, certain platforming blocks will disappear. You will need to bob and weave your way past the coins, maybe use the yokai to your advantage, and make it to the end of the level. All you can do is run and jump.
The game’s 16-bit-style graphics look great, with many layers and smoothly-animated sprites. The music really does remind me of games with a more Japanese-flavor in the sound department. If you have played any of the Mystical Ninja games, you would understand what I mean by this. My concerns are that the game’s controls need some tightening up. The gamepad controls should be default, instead of customizing them in the options menu. The level where you travel on top of large yokai heads in the demo needs to make jumps from head to platforms easier, since I fell right through the platforms a couple of times. It was a fun demo, but there were definitely areas to improve upon. Still, I can see this game getting a solid audience, and the gimmick is different. I just hope the game doesn’t become too difficult with its coin-avoiding mechanic.
Next up is an isometric action game inspired by mythology from India. This is Raji: An Ancient Epic by developer Nodding Heads Games, and is another Square Enix Collective entry. You play as Raji, a woman who is bestowed god-like powers, who must save her brother, who was taken away by an army of demons that are planning to take over the land. Like I mentioned above, Raji is an action adventure game. You are given a magical staff to fight large ogre-like demons. You can equip your staff with different abilities like using it as a projectile, and using lightning to hurt other enemies. You will be making your way through ancient landscapes obviously inspired by Indian architecture. A lot of this game’s charm and appeal is how different the setting is. While it’s not different from a lot of action adventure games, its setting and look is what elevates this project. It looks wonderful in terms of graphics with 3D models that look like something from a finished game. You get such a grand scale, in scope of the world you travel through, with ancient buildings looking properly brittle and aged, and larger than life moments, like in the trailer when you see a giant demon off in the distance. The music is also spectacular, with a fusion of traditional Rajasthani folk and Carnatic Indian music. This should come as no surprise, since their sound designer Lunis Tzelos is part of a Greek band named Reggitko, went to train in this type of music a few years back. Everything simply works with the graphics and the music, bringing you into this fantastic world. I played the demo, and it was fun, but the combat can definitely be polished up with tight dodge rolls and maybe a parry button or something. I got hit so many times, because I wasn’t able to get out of the way in time, or was stuck in an attack animation. I also ran into a bug, where one of the frog demons jumped up too far up the wall and I couldn’t kill him, since he needed to be closer to progress through the demo. Still, this project has a lot of potential to be great, in terms of an action adventure game with a wonderful source of inspiration.
And finally, we have the very cool and musically-inclined Bit Band by Gavin Reed. You play as a band, as you travel through a quirky city playing shows, earning new gear, and becoming the best band that ever was. You must be wondering if this is a Rock Band or Guitar Hero-style game, but thankfully, it’s not. While the top screen is playing their music, your job is to focus on the bottom part of the screen. Yeah, the big twist to this game is that you are playing a puzzle game like Tetris, while horizontal, and throwing in some RPG-like elements. You see, the way you stack blocks is going to result in how well your band members do. If one band member has a gap or an empty spot, they will take damage. Not only that, but each place you play your music will have their own monsters trying to halt you from jamming out your rocking tunes. How do you take care of them? Well, you make special potions to help yourself out with dealing with the enemies.
Graphically, I love the look of the game. It’s yet another game using retro graphics, but with how they are done and how smooth the animation is for everything, it looks like one of those early PlayStation titles that had really nice retro graphics, before everyone made the huge push for 3D graphics. I hope the game doesn’t get too chaotic on screen, with so much stuff going on, but this was a fun surprise, and a proper way to close out this Kickstarter Shout-out article. If you love puzzle games with an awesome twist, then definitely support this game.