Ice-Pick Lodge tend to pop up when you least expect them, with the game you least expect them to make. They’ve been sensibly resistant to attempting another Pathologic, instead darting off to create new specimens of the weird, the wonderful and the intimidatingly odd. The enormous success they so richly deserve has eluded them, which means a move to Kickstarter is probably sensible. True to form, the project they’re proposing, a game called Knock-Knock, is bat-shit weird – but at the same time, I think it’s the most mainstream-friendly they’ve yet been. Not in a bad way, though.
Knock-Knock is the Evil Dead meets hide & seek, as a malevolent-faced hermit tries to evade monstrous ‘Guests’ to his cabin in the woods. It immediately puts me somewhat in mind of Slender, but with rather more DIRECT ACTION and an art style that evokes 80s children’s cartoons from that alternate evil dimension on the other side of the mirror we’re never supposed to mention.
Bless ’em, they even have a creepy backstory for the game’s genesis. They received crazed notes from a mysterious ‘gentleman and scholar’ begging IPL to create a game from it: “The surface examination did not reveal anything straightforwardly terrifying, yet we could not escape the feeling that something truly sinister was lurking underneath.” So, of course, they went for it.
The goal on each level is to survive ‘a night’, which entails about 10 minutes of hiding, constructing barricades and finding/using randomly-placed items to keep yourself safe from harm as all manner of things that go bump in the night terrorise your home from both outside and in. Here’s a taste:
Their Kickstarter reward tiers are similarly playful/obtuse. The reward for $47 is a mystery, $100 gets you a special tree in the forest which will be deemed your ‘surrogate’, while $1000 lets you add your best scary stories into the in-game journal.
They’re after $30k to do this, going on the video have a fair chunk of something to work with, and are currently $1400 in with 46 days left. More details/mad wibbling may be found here. More artwork, meanwhile, is here.