Letters, Red In Tooth And Claw: Apexicon Kickstarter

By Adam Smith on November 5th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

Forget Plants vs Zombies and Peggle – I’m still waiting for the next Bookworm Adventures game. Using words as a weapon is (almost) always fun. Why, if Subutai’s CLANG had been called SCRIBBLE and been about wielding pens instead of swords, we’d all be happily writing virtual reality letters to one another right now. Apexicon is a Kickstarter for a wordy game and the campaign page that opens with a torrent of namechecks, like a rapper making a comeback and thanking his crew. I say torrent but there are only three names – Puzzle Quest, Scrabble and Bookworm Adventures. Actos Games are hoping to create a fusion of those three.

As well as aiming for $15,000 over on Kickstarter, Apexicon is walking the path of Greenlight. It is, as the developers recognise, more Boggle than Scrabble, with a small playboard of letters to slice through in an attempt to slice through enemy combatants. I’ve played an early demo version and while it’s understandably rough around the edges at this point, with release not expected until May 2014, the basic flow of the game is as appealing as the inspirations suggest.

I’m expecting lots of use of skills and inventory items, since everything seems to gain levels and abilities, which seems more like Puzzle Quest 2 than the first to me. But it may be that I’m misremembering the first. And I might also be the only person who liked the second one quite so much. It was like playing Diablo but with fancy words instead of magical weapons, and polar bears instead of butchers.

Oh, and a swift search for the word ‘Apexicon’ itself reveals that as well as being a game it is a cream for the treatment of “inflammation and itching due to certain skin conditions”. The more you know.

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18 Comments »

  1. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I liked the setting of the second one better, but I thought they needed to go further with the concept. Each class should have been better/different at the lockpicking/dispelling/bashing minigames, but I liked the more grounded (but still fanciful) narrative.

    • Jonathan Meyer says:

      Hey Drinking, I’m the main game designer of Apexicon. We’re working to ensure each class plays entirely different when you choose them, meaning multiple playthroughs will be a plus. Each class also has its own storyline, and it’s woven into the greater storyline overall. We will also have mini-games, but they will not be relegated to padding out the experience. Rather, we would like to have them available for those who want to search after the phattest loot.

  2. entireties says:

    reminds me of sequence a bit, actually

    also lets be real the only reason i clicked on this link is because the cover picture has a cute boy on it

    • Jonathan Meyer says:

      Funny you should say that, we actually have Jason Wishnov, who did Sequence, as a voice over artist for one of our major characters!

  3. InternetBatman says:

    I loved bookworm adventures, so I was very excited to see this while doing the forum Katchup:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?11523-Kommunity-Kickstarter-Katchup-Kollektiv
    Hopefully this coverage will push them up a little. They’ve had some pretty small days after their launch.

    • Jonathan Meyer says:

      Hey, glad to see people excited about our game! :) We have been tirelessly working 8 hours a day since May on getting the game this far, and are ready to take it even further than Puzzle Quest ever did. The one thing I personally felt Puzzle Quest lacked was a tight narrative, and characters that were memorable.

  4. Freud says:

    When brainstorming goes terribly wrong.

    • Jonathan Meyer says:

      Actually, the Idiomancer has a very similar ability called “Brainstorm”, which scrambles the board in case you are not getting enough vowels. It also increases damage of new vowels that show up, as well as some random effects (poison, writer’s block) if you can make a longer word with those vowels. Neat effects, ho!

  5. soulblur says:

    I do love Puzzle Quest (although wasn’t so much a fan of the second one – I’m unsure what I didn’t like so much about it, but I definitely didn’t like it as much).

    I shall be following progress.

  6. Patches the Hyena says:

    Mm, this is ticking all sorts of boxes for me. I really enjoyed Bookworm Adventures (and its sequel which was amazing) and Puzzle Quest – I think I might back this.

  7. svendelmaus says:

    There’s also Word Realms, by the Kingdom of Loathing guys, who also had a successful Kickstarter:

    http://www.wordrealms.com/

    I enjoyed it, though I only played through it the once. :)

    • Jonathan Meyer says:

      They definitely have an interesting art style. Reminds me of Garbage Pail Kids!

    • The Random One says:

      I thought the same thing. It looks very similar to this, except that the words you play are less word-search and more Scrabble (even with letters dealing damage according to a very similar scoring system). The enemy abilities are also pretty cool, like the ghost that haunts you and turns all your vowels into O’s and the armored enemies that ignore the first letter of the word you play, or the first two letters, and then a boss that ignores the first THREE letters. Try coming up with a word out of a randomly chosen pool of 16 letters, that has as many letters as possible, uses both X and K, and has the first three letters be low-scoring ones so you don’t waste any. The fact that a ridiculous amount of words have customly written responses is just the cherry on the cake.

  8. notenome says:

    “Why, if Subutai’s CLANG had been called SCRIBBLE and been about wielding pens instead of swords, we’d all be happily writing virtual reality letters to one another right now.”

    I read that as “wielding penis instead of swords”, and it was very funny.

  9. LTK says:

    That was a pretty good game trailer but it falls terribly short of being a good Kickstarter video.

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