Kickstarter Katchup – April 1st 2013

By Adam Smith on April 1st, 2013 at 5:08 pm.

I haven’t eaten a single chocolate egg in the last twenty four hours, which would normally be an acceptable dietary state, but with this being the extended weekend of confeggtionary rabbit worship, I’m a little bit upset that nobody bought me a big Smarties egg. There’s nothing like a tube of Smarties to make me feel like a kid again. Some crispy chocolate buttons, a few episodes of Button Moon and a glass of Tizer. Right, that’s my annual product placement commitment out of the way and hopefully I’ll be receiving a batch of shop-soiled Smarties eggs any day now. On with the Katchup.

The Rules

  • Featuring a game in this list doesn’t mean we endorse it. We likely haven’t played, and as such can’t say whether it will be worth your cash. That’s your call.
  • Letting me know about a game (which you can do via my name at the top of this article) doesn’t mean it will definitely be included. Leaving links in the comments is a good way to let other readers know about projects, but please email me if you want them considered for the list. Include the word Kickstarter in the subject line too if you care about making my life even slightly easier.
  • We only include games where pledges reach developers only if the target is met.
  • Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games.
  • Projects that have reached their funding get included in the Winners list, and then aren’t featured in the weeks after that, to give more attention to those that are still needing the cash. Tough if you don’t like it.
  • Be aware that there are several currencies in play. Always check!
  • Instead of a comical reworking of a silly rule, here’s the album I was listening to while finishing off the Katchup. It’s Amygdala – DJ Koze.

The Winners

Battle Worlds: Kronos – KING Art Games

Goal: $120,000
Now: $146,403

I spoke to KING Art about Battle Worlds and their decision to turn to crowdfunding and, even as we spoke, it seemed clear that the campaign would be a success. Battle Worlds is one of the most appealing turn-based strategy games that I’ve spotted in the last few months and with almost a month left on the Kickstarter clock, the team aren’t giving up on their ambitious stretch goals. Updates are scheduled to arrive regularly and there are three targets to hit, two of which add new content. The third, at $360,000, would introduce what sounds very much like a dynamic campaign mode.

LogicBots – Incandescent Games

Goal: £5,000
Now: £5,892

LogicBots is a puzzle game in which the player programs robots to solve problems rather than interacting directly with the elements of the field themselves. With a small target and an exceptionally well-run campaign, including a playable demo, the final week saw the total more than double and brought success.

Super Ubi Land – Notion Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $5,360

Super Ubi Land should be out by late summer and I’ve developed a soft spot for the pleasant little platformer. A demo should be released shortly and as well as watching the Kickstarter page, it might be worth turning attention to Notion Games’ blog for future updates.

The Losers

The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death – Autoloot

Goal: £80,000
Now: £5,858

Funding for this isometric, turn-based RPG was cancelled almost immediately after inclusion in the Katchup last week but the two events are unrelated, I assure you. The team will be returning with a new campaign in May, with PR support and a clearer message as to what distinguishes Dark Triad from other fantasy CRPGs.

Shackleton Crater – Joe Got Game

Goal: $700,000
Now: $27,460

When a project is hunting for more than half a million dollars, it needs a strong start to its crowdfunding campaign and Shackleton Crater has struggled. The project was cancelled last week:

As part of the feedback we received from everyone we realize that additional gameplay and game details are needed to effectively communicate our product. Our dream of creating Shackleton Crater has not diminished, so we plan to continue our development efforts to provide this detail. Additionally we plan to pursue other opportunities to develop and publish our game.

The Golem – Moonbot Studios

Goal: $750,000
Now: $96,128

The Golem that Guillermo del Toro is sort of helping to build will be looking elsewhere for funding:

So here is the plan: we are still going to make the game. Doors are opening for us and we’re securing funding from a more traditional source. However, we still want to make this game with your help. We’re going to launch our production blog so we can stay in touch with you and keep getting great advice along the way. It’ll be public so anyone can help out.

The Players

Bik – Mike Pinto

Goal: $12,000
Now: $3,802
Days: 13

Bik is a pixel-art adventure game built on a love of classic Lucasarts and Sierra point and clickers, and a jazz soundtrack. Developer Mike Pinto is a jazz musician and teacher who enlisted artist Neil Numberman to design his latest album artwork, using retro game influences.

When I saw Neil’s first pieces of art and how perfectly they fit with my compositions, the world of Bik was born. I had no choice but to turn the idea into a full-on video game.

A demo is available and you can also check out Mike’s music online.

Ritual Dementia – Sithog

Goal: $7,000
Now: $5,609
Days: 3

If you listen closely you’ll be able to hear the sound of a man kicking himself. That man is me and the reason for this drastic display of self-punishment is Ritual Dementia: The Revenge. The project had a previous run at Kickstarter and fell short of its goal and I’d vowed to watch for its return and it’s only now that I’ve noticed it, with three days left before the campaign ends. It’s a deliriously strange game, containing horror, open world exploration, inheritance and genetic manipulation. I think it’s being beamed to us from the dimension where Ice Pick Lodge reside.

APB: Vendetta – Reloaded Productions

Goal: $300,000
Now: $12,866
Days: 29

I’ve never played APB and I actually thought this Kickstarter campaign was aiming to fund a relaunch of the original game, which I didn’t realise had gone free to play. This makes me a terrible newsperson, I know, but I’ll do my best to describe what APB: Vendetta actually is by copying and pasting some words from the Kickstarter page:

APB Vendetta is a character-driven extreme mobility competitive shooter, inspired by the APB Reloaded universe, built on an entirely new high-agility game system featuring; extreme movement mechanics, melee combat, dual wield weapons, character-specific finishing moves, a fighting-game ethos, customizable private servers, modding tools and an upgraded game engine using the latest (2013) version of Unreal3.

Is it The Specialists mod, then, except with more hairstyles? It’s a ‘buy-to-play’ game, which means it’s just ‘a game’ – “players receive all guns, characters and game affecting items upfront, with optional monthly server rentals for on-demand managed and modded servers.”

Contract Work – Iterative Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $3,632
Days: 9

I’ve played the browser demo for Contract Work and from what I can gather, it’s a 2d side-scrolling ARPG of sorts with a cyberpunk vibe, hacking and lots of robots. You can play the demo here or learn more about the game at the Kickstarter page:

Take the best retro shooters like Megaman and Contra, mix with the character development of System Shock 2 or Deus Ex and place that in a gritty cyberpunk world like Akira or Ghost in the Shell. The result is Contract Work.

Pixelry – Evelend Games

Goal: £23,000
Now: £2,261
Days: 16

I played the current version of Pixelry a few weeks ago and found it to be a simple and entertaining jousting RPG. This hugely updated version adds more than most sequels and should be a polished pixel game in the same sort of battling roleplay genre as Swords and Sandals. I can’t help but notice that the quote from me on Pixelry’s campaign page is a lot like a shrug in word form. I really was enjoying myself though!

Netherworld – Martin Ziegler

Goal: £7,500
Now: £5
Days: 31

Martin Ziegler has abused the spirit of Easter Sunday by cannily recognising yesterday’s lack of Katchup and surmising that his project, which launched on Indiegogo today, may qualify as a late entrant. Very wise. And sentences like this are a surefire method of grabbing my attention:

“…it’s an abstract exploration roguelike with a very open-ended tactical combat, and in which you can construct your own spells. Think FTL meets Magicka in a somewhat Björk universe.”

It’s a hugely intriguing project and I advise anyone who liked any of the words in that quote to take a look. The reason there’s only a fiver pledged (at the time of writing) is that the campaign has only just launched.

Divinity: Original Sin – Larian Studios

Goal: $400,000
Now: $244,538
Days: 25

Original Sin has had a huge opening week and I’m certainly looking forward to the game. It’s an odd Kickstarter in some ways but of a type that may well become more common. Larian have been working on the game for a long time and are now seeking extra funding to spend more time adding content now that the systems are in place. I’ve already played the current build and came away mightily impressed; it’s an RPG built around a world that reacts and caters to the player’s decisions constantly and in the moment rather than having several large turning points.

Guns Of Icarus Online: Adventure Mode – Muse Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $44,303
Days: 50

Guns of Icarus’ adventure mode will see the game moving in an entirely new direction, away from the contained multiplayer battles and into a persistent world with towns that develop and change depending on player action, factions, trading, politics and an AI director. Muse Games are Kickstarter veterans, having received 350% of the requested funds for the original Guns of Icarus Online, and this promises to be another well-oiled campaign, with biweekly video updates planned.

Consortium – Interdimensional Games

Goal: $50,000
Now: $32,445
Days: 17

If you’re wondering exactly how a sci-fi RPG that is heavily steeped in metafictional explorations might actually play, you can read my thoughts on the game’s opening. Being occasionally slow on the uptake, I hadn’t latched on to the fact that Consortium is cut from the same cloth as single location adventures like Gone Home and Anna, although in Consortium’s case the location is mobile and populated.

Planet Explorers – Pathea Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $45,780
Days: 20

When I first became aware of Planet Explorers, it led to dreams of a game that combined the crafting and exploration of Minecraft with the user-generated creature and vehicle database of Spore. That wasn’t the game that Pathea had described but it was tantalisingly close and the latest video, which Craig looked at last week, re-tantalises.

The Gallery: Six Elements – CloudHead Games

Goal: $65,000
Now: $27,100
Days: 15

The Gallery is an “immersive first-person adventure” set in a series of painted worlds. Since the beginning, Oculus Rift support has been been a prominent part of the campaign and the latest update details that and other control methods.

Something Fragile – Happy Badger Studio

Goal: $18,000
Now: $4,767
Days: 24

It can be quite difficult counting the graphics in some games, particularly the likes of Crysis. It’s a task that requires far more than the trusty RPS steam-abacus, a device that can calculate the sum of enormous figures but only when powered by fuels so foul as to contravene all manner of international laws. The graphics in artistic puzzler Something Fragile are all hand-crafted though, which should make the counting easy enough.

Strategizer: Art Of Defense – White Titan Games

Goal: £10,000
Now: £7,812
Days: 3

This base-building RTS has a good chance of making its goal even though the campaign is coming down to the wire. It’s definitely not a tower defence game, but rather a full-fat RTS that throws the player behind enemy lines and asks them to build defenses.

Over your journey, build bigger and better bases, defend with more advanced weapons, call in air support, super turrets, and alien technology. Research new equipment, travel to new worlds with new dangers, and earn medals for completeing missions and secondary objectives.

Humans Must Answer – Sumom Games

Goal: £5,000
Now: £2,466
Days: 10

I’m surprised Humans Must Answer hasn’t hit its target yet. The demo is enjoyable, the protagonists are angry space chickens and there aren’t enough side-scrolling space shooters around. Even if the campaign fails, the game will be released = the five grand is for final stretch polish.

Pulse – Team Pixel Pi

Goal: $75,000
Now: $25,362
Days: 18

I think somebody must have spilled molasses into the workings of Kickstarter this week. Here’s another project stuck around the twenty five thousand dollar mark. Pulse is a first-person adventure in which sound is used to ‘reveal the world’. The prototype is interesting but more updates, with more details, could help to push the project through the mid-term slump. That said, the developers are heading to GDC, where they are finalists in the IGF. Hopefully that’ll bring some attention to their work.

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42 Comments »

  1. dogsolitude_uk says:

    I was hoping that Netherworld might be a sort of remake of this:

  2. lordcooper says:

    You missed a golden opportunity to sneak in HL3.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      RPS comment inadvertently confirms: HL3 will have stealth gameplay.

  3. Hoaxfish says:

    I’m vaguely convinced I’m falling into the spam-filter when I email Kickstarters in..
    Shovel Knight passed it’s goal recently, and

    The Big Blue, an underwater adventure game is dying horribly for something sold as the spiritual sequel to Ecco the Dolphin (with the creature designer who gave Star Wars the Hammerhead race).

    Also, that controversial kickstarter I posted about last week, is continuing to be controversial as people have unearthed more bullshit (like using sock-puppet accounts to fund other fraudulent kickstarters, the kid involved being at least 3 years older than stated, and one about “getting my kids off video games”). Kickstarter are apparently okay with it as “the backer reward mentions a game”.

    Also, Torment released a ingame screenshot.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The fact that your links lead nowhere isn’t helping either. ;)

    • jrodman says:

      I went to contribute to the big blue, but when i got to the donation screen it was talking about shipping.

      I couldn’t figure out what they were going to ship, then realized they are printing codes on physical cards? For .. some tradability aspect? This semed like a waste of money and focus, and somehow I got cold feet. Sorry Big Blue.

  4. Wedge says:

    That APB game sounds like exactly the game I’ve always wondered why nobody has ever made it. Except for the part where it’s tied to the APB IP.

  5. subedii says:

    This sounds weird, I feel like APB Vendetta might have actually been better of without the name.

    APB was nominally an MMO that not many people cared about (and had some shady reviews embargo shenanigans happening) and eventually became a F2P game. I was ignoring it just for that until the mention of the fact that it’s going to be standalone.

    I feel like they’d do better simply naming it something original and distancing themselves from APB, instead focusing on sending the message of WHAT makes they want to achieve with this game that’s so awesome. They namecheck Action Half-Life and Opera in the video, but don’t really go much beyond that. “Extreme maneuverability” is all well and good, but instead of filling your video with buzzwords about “AWESOME ADRENALINE HEART POUNDING ACTION!” you could instead be filling us in on what that specifically means. The feel and style you want to evoke, how that’s best going to be worked out with the gameplay mechanics.

    I only get more of this from reading the page after skipping past the fairly meh “lore” section. Seriously? That’s the first thing you want to tell people about when you’re developing a heavily action based, or style based online shooter?

    The rest is OK. I would have liked to know more about what they’re specifically going to be doing with procedural animation, what styles of gameplay modes they want to focus on, and similar. As it stands, I don’t even know whether they’re going for “full body” representation where you can actually look down and see your arms / feet, which is pretty important to the “cool” factor when you’ve doing a Parkour game. Mirror’s Edge hacked this in that you could see the motions, from first person, but if you ever saw them 3rd person the animations looked terrible, since they were all tailored towards a First Person perspective and it’s difficult to have them both sync up and still look good (and Mirror’s Edge didn’t need to since it was always First Person anyway).

    This bring Brink to mind. Brink had issues, but I think its biggest issue was simply selling the type of game it wanted to be. People kept expecting CoD with parkour and didn’t really understand the choices the devs made with the mechanics. In some ways this looks simpler and more direct since it doesn’t look like it’s going to be mission based, is going to have more lethal combat, and it’s going to focus more on characters and weapons being balanced for one-on-one combat rather than teamplay. In that sense it’s a simpler message to sell. But I think they could do a better job of selling it.

    I’d like to wait a while and see what they actually have to show or discuss later on. There are a dozen other stand-alone multiplayer FPS’s out there that I could be playing. Most that ever do get released (stand-alone or F2P) fail regardless. I need to think that this will be fun enough to play that will drag me away from Natural Selection because I want some straight-up APB: Vendetta instead today. I don’t need you to directly TELL me it’s AWESOME, I need you to describe it and show it in such a way that I get excited.

    Maybe that’s just me. I know there’s always talk about not having your videos and descriptions too long because you’ll lose the audience for your elevator pitch, but I feel like they should have been making better use of what they could have shown and talked about.

  6. elfbarf says:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1781324918/xing-the-land-beyond
    No mention of Xing? They went from ~23k to just over 30k in the last day or two. Due to that, they now have Oculus Rift support and a new environment.

    • baristan says:

      I’m surprised Xing wasn’t mentioned also. Most of that jump was in the last few hours. Hopefully The Gallery has the same kind of jump at the end. Would like to see more exploration games developed.

      • Cloudhead says:

        Hey RPSr’s! Denny Unger here from The Gallery: Six Elements . Xing looks great, happy they made their goal. Our biggest issue with The Gallery: Six Elements has been reaching Oculus Rift dev-kit supporters and interested enthusiasts. Getting traction in the press for “bleeding edge” game development hasn’t been easy at all. We were hoping to talk to RPS about some of the innovation we are doing and gaming’s future but understandably RPS is routinely bombarded with mail.

        Anyway, we’ll always be lifelong RPS readers…even if they ignore us! lol.

  7. bladedsmoke says:

    Everyone should chuck some money at Original Sin, the idea of a co-op RPG that is also story-driven and reacts to each player’s input on dialogue is wonderful. And if I can’t find anyone to play it with, it looks great from a single-player perspective too!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think Original Sin looks pretty nice, but I only just bought Divinty 2 a couple of weeks ago. It’s also in a two way fight over my money with Battle Worlds: Kronos (having spent my normal Kickstarter money on Torment).

    • Martel says:

      Agreed….back it!

    • Mephz says:

      just that toolset makes me want it as I’m sure people will be able to make all sorts of nice stories after I finish the main story. I’m still playing Neverwinter nights from time to time simply because there is a constant stream of excellent playercreated stories

  8. engion3 says:

    Never read into that Divinity Original Sign game until today but definitely going to back it now. I love a game I can sit on the couch with laptop and play (300 hours in dredmore) and don’t need to be hopped up on that mountain dew for reaction time.

  9. frankatank34 says:

    Hoping that the game I was making would make it on the list this week. I didn’t submit it in time unfortunately. If anyone is interested, you can find it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/752806148/the-enraged-an-old-school-rpg

  10. Quickpull says:

    I really hope the Pixelry kickstarter adds:

    “I can’t help but notice that the quote from me on Pixelry’s campaign page is a lot like a shrug in word form. I really was enjoying myself though!” – Adam Smith

    after your current quote on their page.

  11. kud13 says:

    Strategizer looks tempting… but how can you have an RTS without units?

    And I don’t like pure tower defense games. arg.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      It’s a horrible sensation finding that Tower Defense and MOBAs are basically stabbing the genre that spawned them, especially if you don’t really like either of them.

    • KDR_11k says:

      How about Netstorm?

  12. Paul says:

    Divinity Original Sin needs to surpass half a mil at least. Come on people.

  13. zeekthegeek says:

    Let’s be honest here: Shackleton failed because not only did it look boring but they also promised such innovative features as Always Online Singleplayer, and the only known name behind the project was an Electronic Arts dude.

    • Brun says:

      The fact that EA’s name was slapped all over the news coverage of Shackleton – despite Ybarra having left EA long ago, prior to its (d)evolution into its current form – probably didn’t help things.

  14. trothmaster says:

    Thanks for the mention of Bik! You can check out part of the soundtrack here(the vibe is chiptune/bladerunner):Soundcloud

  15. BarneyL says:

    Torment: Tides of Numenera is in its last week, already funded but the $3.5 million stretch goal that brings in Chris Avellone isn’t going to be hit unless it picks up pace for the last few days.

  16. strangeloup says:

    Is it just me, or is the description for Contract Work, to put it mildly, a bit fucking ambitious? Especially given that what’s on show so far is a ropey browser game.

    Inclined to throw some money at Original Sin, but on the other hand it seems like it’s going to be made anyway so I could pick that (and Dragon Commander) up when they’re released, rather than pledging money and then forgetting I’ve done so until a few days before it’s due to be paid out — I’m looking at you here, Tides of Numenera.

    • pakoito says:

      Wait 24h for the next update because they are rearranging pledge tiers. The DC one didn’t make sense.

    • Damaestrio says:

      Contract Work does have an ambitious scope and will be an ongoing project, but does state exactly what will be delivered in the initial public release in June.

      The demo is a work in progress – I wanted to show that there is a real game being built here, to get user feedback and be transparent in my development. Sorry you didn’t find it fun, but it will continue to be updated as development continues, so maybe you’ll give it another look; otherwise thanks for taking the time to play.

      • strangeloup says:

        My grumpiness knows no bounds on April 1, I am afraid, and reading the full Kickstarter page, the pitch sounds far more reasonable. The excerpt above just sounded a bit like “You know all these awesome things? My game is going to be like a triple chocolate fudge sundae of awesome!” I think it’s very neat that you’re taking on a one-man project, and there’s nothing wrong with aiming high; I just have the suspicion that namechecking classics is not necessarily the way to go about it.

        As for the demo, conceptually it seemed sound, but I thought the art could do with more character and distinctiveness (though you’ve got the UI down nicely) and on a technical level — I am assuming because HTML5 hates me — I found that after only a few minutes of play I was encountering immense slowdown, making it impossible to continue. It did, for what it’s worth, remind me positively of the rather fun multiplayer in the FPS Syndicate reboot.

        I wish you well with the game, and it seems you’ve got a good number of backers so far. I’ll surely give it another look if it turns up in standalone form.

        • Damaestrio says:

          Thanks for taking another look – the snippet that got pulled was more about my inspiration then a description of the final product ;) Thank you for your feedback, and if the project meets the goal I hope I’ll get to talk about the standalone on RPS sometime!

  17. F3ck says:

    Sorry, just blew my wad on preorder FC3:Blood Dragon.

  18. Avera says:

    THE FOLLOWING IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK

    There’s a kickstarter at the erotic version of kickstarter called offbeatr (they really did that pun…) for a sci-fi text-adventure called Trials in Tainted Space. (Yeah, its acronym pretty much says what kind of game it will be.)

    The goal was 10k$ and it is allready at 75’000$ with 31 more days to go.

    It is made by Fenoxo who made the fairly popular Corruptions of Champions text adventure. (Google it yourself, nsfw obviously.)

    Imo its pretty interesting how much money people are willing to spend on something like this and that the success of kickstarter made it possible for people to make games and to live from making games. Also, just to repeat that, 75k $ for an erotic text adventure.

    Pretty impressive I’d say.

    • The Random One says:

      I’m a bit confused as to why we need an erotic version of Kickstarter, since I remember Smut Peddler, a collection of porn comics by several porn comic drawing peeps who are big on the net, was on Kickstarter. Wait… or was it Indiegogo?

      Edit: Having read the pitch, it seems it’s got RPS’ audience covered by sheer force of punning presence.

  19. Moraven says:

    Battle World: Kronos has a 4-pack, shaving ~$6 off the single copy cost plus you get more digital goodies.
    Had a couple interested. You get codes as soon as the Kickstarter is done.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?10081-Battle-Worlds-Kronos-4-pack-pledge

  20. particlese says:

    O_O Woah, that’s really weird recognizing a name on here…I vaguely knew Mike Pinto via our high school band program — the crazy-awesome vibraphonist a few years ahead of me. Cool to see what he’s up to these days, especially since it involves games, Trek, and sandwich-based humor.

    I generally take my jazz a bit more on the blues or bebop side than Mike’s usual (?) stuff, but I do like the demo’s [awkwardly tries and fails to avoid typing "vibe"]. And it has sandwiches! Totally backing.

    Thanks for pointing out Bik!

  21. MarkB says:

    Wow I just read the preview for Divinity: Original Sin and it sounds absolutely amazing. I love the idea of the two players fighting about what to do and undermining each other. I’m also really happy to hear it is turnbased, for whatever reason I never really like real time RPGs.

    Also Amygdala is a fantastic album, particularly Nices Wölkchen, Homesick and the last three songs.

  22. GyroMaster says:

    Ritual Dementia has been successfully kickstarted! No thanks to you Mr. Smith!