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Kickstarter Katchup - April 14th 2013

The Win Bin

Featured post

Last weekend took on a life of its own, which is the sort of thing weekends should probably do more often, and I was stranded away from my trusty keyboard and therefore unable to type words about games that might exist at some point in the future. This was a sad thing. Fortunately, missing a week means that there are more winners than ever before and the bumper crop contains two games that I’ve played and enjoyed, at least three that I look forward to playing when they are released and a project that makes me realise how much I want to play with an Oculus Rift.

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!
  • This week’s Katchup was composed while listening to Boards of Canada and the new Kurt Vile album. Also some EL-P for good measure..

The Winners

Divinity: Original Sin – Larian Studios

Goal: $400,000
Now: $492,638

Before reading on, if you haven’t already you could spend a few minutes reading my impressions of Original Sin, which should help to explain why I’m pleased as punch that Larian have reached their goal. I’d like them to reach the million dollar stretch goal as well, despite being almost entirely allergic to the idea of holding amazing features to ransom. I know that’s not what every stretch goal represents but that doesn’t stop a rash from covering my keyboard whenever I consider them. The female character, in the image at the top of the Kickstarter page, is now wearing armour that protects much more of her body than the previous set. The new attire is a result of Larian listening and responding to community feedback.

Ritual Dementia – Sithog

Goal: $7,000
Now: $8,008

This was Ritual Dementia’s second appearance on Kickstarter and a couple of weeks ago, with three days left before possible ruination, the campaign was $1,500 short. I’m glad the project has been successful because all of these words are appropriate to use when discussing the game: ‘deliriously’, ‘frightening’, ‘exploration driven’, ‘genetic manipulation’, ‘limb loss’ and ‘demon breeding’. The game is now on Greenlight and the extra continents planned as stretch goals will be added at some point after release, which is almost a year away.

Contract Work – Iterative Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $5,086

Crikey. That must be one of the closest Kickstarter finishes ever recorded. Has anything ever succeeded by one dollar? It must have happened. Find it. Let’s all look and say ‘blimey, that was a near thing’ and then tell our grandchildren about it. Hopefully it’ll be something good rather than a campaign to make artificial fruits constructed entirely from frozen urine, or a machine that sits in the corner of a room reminding the occupants of their past misdeeds and idiocies. Contract Work certainly looks better than those things, being a side-scrolling cyberpunk action RPG. You can play the demo by pointing your browser and face over here.

Consortium – Interdimensional Games

Goal: $50,000
Now: $54,299

Consortium is a sci-fi adventure that cares more about storytelling and characters than lasers and death bots. I’m happy to see it succeed and, in keeping with the basis on dialogue and personal interactions, many of the updates contain extensive character profiles. Good reading.

The Gallery: Six Elements – CloudHead Games

Goal: $65,000
Now: $70,504

Pretend to wander through painted worlds while actually wearing an Oculus Rift headset and stubbing your toe on the cat and then falling down some stairs. Why is your computer next to a staircase? That was an accident waiting to happen and I don’t think you can sue CloudHead Games or anybody else. The game does support other control methods buy, even though my body contains almost as much cynicism as caffeine at any one time, I’m starting to desire an Oculus Rift of my own. Is that even the correct phrasing? Would I own a ‘Rift’ of some sort? I am eager to plunge my brain into virtual realities.

Strategizer: Art Of Defense – White Titan Games

Goal: £10,000
Now: £10,202

The base-building RTS raised 20% of the necessaries during the final three days of its campaign. The team are still receiving donations at their website. The game is due in June although anyone who pledged enough to receive beta access should watch their inbox at the end of this very month.

Humans Must Answer – Sumom Games

Goal: £5,000
Now: £5,519

I wonder how much the demo helped? I certainly enjoyed it and there’s something about this game of space chickens and side-scrolling shooting that has pleased me since I first heard about it. It should be out next month, with the five grand providing resources and time for polishing and completion.

Pulse – Team Pixel Pi

Goal: $75,000
Now: $80,977

Pulse is “a first person survival game that takes place in an unseen world revealed only by sound”. Pulse has a prototype. Pulse nearly didn’t reach its goal but then this happened.

The Players

The Enraged – Right Side Down Games

Goal: $12,000
Now: $5,374
Days: 12

Here’s a tedious fact – I write the new entries in the ‘Players’ section of the Katchup in reverse order, very occasionally shifting them around to put a project that I particularly like closer to the top, hoping people will be more likely to look at it there. Terrible biased, I know, but that’s the way it is. The Enraged is at the top because it looks interesting, because it doesn’t have a great deal of time left and because it’s the last entry I’m writing tonight. It’s a turn-based RPG set in the modern world, except (of course) full of monsters, and it has some neat ideas about survival and group management. There is a demo but I haven’t had time to try it. You should.

Mineral Cities – Gareth Jenkins

Goal: £6,000
Now: £1,824
Days: 10

Mineral Cities sounds like a clever, elegant simulation and is precisely the sort of project I enjoy discovering, or in this case being told about. Rather than hollering about its superiority to the latest in simulated cities, Gareth’s project lays out its own ideas, some tweaked from existing concepts such as the triple zones of Maxis’ series, and then plunges them into a “peaceful future space, where rules are simple and minerals are king”.

You’ll quickly find yourself analysing the simplest of decisions. Anticipation, remorse, regret and reflection. It’s like playing Go with yourself while watching Solaris.

Magnificent.

Road Redemption – DarkSeas Games

Goal: $160,000
Now: $33,138
Days: 27

People really liked Road Rash, I guess, judging by the manner in which this motorbike brawler/racer has thundered out of the gates. I was one of those people, truth be told, playing whichever version of the game it was that had Soundgarden music in it for hours and hours and hours, and never managing to be very good at it. My favourite thing was crashing, refusing to get back on my bike, and running toward the finish line. I still chuckle thinking about it and it must surely be a possibility in Road Redemption?

PreApocalypse – Zachary Kingston

Goal: $8,000
Now: $1,426
Days: 25

It’s a great name, isn’t it? Zachary’s strategy/tactics game isn’t set in any old pre-apocalyptic period, it’s the point in history right before the end of everything, or at least it will be if you, the player, don’t sort things out.

Assume the throne of a doomed empire. Battle against time, politics, and uncertainty to prevent Armageddon.

It’s a one-person project with a modest goal and, judging by the words on the page, a sensible approach to scheduling and workload. Well worth a look.

Flowstorm – Neat Corporation

Goal: $50,000
Now: $2,832
Days: 17

John played Flowstorm’s web prototype earlier this week and wrote this:

…it is a game about manoeuvring a little rocket ship THAT’S A DANGEROUSLY SIMILAR SHAPE TO MY NIGHTMARES, through ludicrously tight curvy corridors. And what’s rather pleasing to discover is that’s a game about skidding, as much as it is thrusting. (Missus.)

I played it too and loved the way my ship shattered like glass, fragments splintering and shuddering to the ground. I also liked that the engines sound like whipped cream squirting out of a can.

Worlds of Magic – Wastelands Interactive

Goal: £30,000
Now: £18,388
Days: 17

I love Master of Magic, even when I remove my rose-tinted monocle and accept that it wasn’t the perfect game that my memory likes to bludgeon all other fantasy 4X games with. Worlds of Magic is being constructed by veterans of the strategy genre and looks like the closest thing to a modern take on the Microprose masterpiece as anything else out there. I’ll find out more when I talk to Wastelands in the next couple of days.

Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars – Digital Eel

Goal: $30,000
Now: $22,127
Days: 19

I’ve spent a great deal of time playing the previous Infinite Space games, won over by their short-form space stories that require minimal effort to extract preposterous and bizarre tales of adventure from. I’m not keen on the 3d maps, partly because I fear complication and clutter in a game that I’d prefer to be clean and compact, but I’m happy to be proven wrong once I actually get my hands on the game, which should occur sometime around the year’s end.

The Big Blue – Playchemy

Goal: $665,000
Now: $48,930
Days: 14

I don’t think The Big Blue is going to make it, which may well disappoint those who miss Ecco the Dolphin. It’s a spiritual successor with the original team on board and reading some of the text in the updates has reminded me that the Ecco series was as mad as a milliner pouring chamomile tea into a march hare’s ears.

One day there is loud white noise in the ocean, the next day silence. Imagine the first Singers who sing out, “hello” and another singer from across the globe answers, “hey whats up?.”

OK.

The songs are dense with information and the sound bursts are quick and loud. All one million dolphins are doing the same thing. Singing these song bursts at the rate of 100 per minute…If you try to enter this matrix of dolphins, they will sing a Repulsion Song that will throw you back 100 meters. Other than that, they will not acknowledge you in anyway, but they will NOT let you enter their space.

Eh?

Bik – Mike Pinto

Goal: $12,000
Now: $5,877
Days: <1

I thought Bik would be on its way to the jazz-infused, pixellated promised land but pledgers haven’t been attracted to the game that is almost a biro. Among the seventeen updates, I found this demonstration of the game as it currently exists, utilising placeholder art. In the few hours that remain, perhaps this pinch of a possible point and click future may convince some to consider the sci-fi adventure. There is also a demo.

Netherworld – Martin Ziegler

Goal: £7,500
Now: £575
Days: 17

Because I am both a busy man and an occasional ignoramus, I haven’t managed to try the demo of Netherworld yet, but perhaps you have? It’s available right now, so there are no excuses. Unless, like me, you are a busy ignoramus, in which case that may be all the excuse you need. It’s a campaign in need of traction but there’s surely an audience waiting to discover this an abstract roguelike that the creator describes as:

“FTL meets Magicka in a somewhat Björk universe.”

Surely?

Guns Of Icarus Online: Adventure Mode – Muse Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $97,902
Days: 36

I hadn’t really noticed that the campaign for Guns of Icarus’ persistent world, adventure-focused mode was going to run for quite as long as it is. Muse have almost reached the goal with over a month to spare which presumably means there are going to be lots and lots of stretch goal updates in the following weeks. Here’s the first of the bi-weekly video updates. The second is already available but I enjoyed this one more so you’ll have to click on the Kickstarter page link above if you want to watch the other. It’s a hard life.

Planet Explorers – Pathea Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $95,200
Days: 6

By this time next week, the sandbox of voxels will be a thing of the future, which is to say, it will definitely be happening. It’s not Minecraft in space because it’s also a bit like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts in space, allowing players to build vehicles, most of which will hopefully be wonky and hilarious. It also has a proper story set on a planet designed by the creators rather than the crazed mind of a computer. Here’s the word on stretch goals, which is like a brain-salve following the last two entries:

“I just want to say…what is up with stretch goals? We’re doing them only because everyone else seems to be doing it and people expect this. But I don’t believe in stretch goals, I believe in you do it or you don’t, there is no try. :) Everything listed on our “stretch” goals, with the exception of the last 2 maybe, we plan to do anyway once we have the capacity, doesn’t matter if we make the goals or not.”

Mmmm…brain-salve.

Something Fragile – Happy Badger Studio

Goal: $18,000
Now: $6,842
Days: 11

Hand-crafted platform-puzzler, Something Fragile, certainly looks different, unless you live in a room made of fabric filled with scrapbook clippings and knitted hearts. In that case it probably looks very familiar and you’re a maniac who has been locked away to make the rest of us safe. Thanks to requests from a mysterious presence referred to as ‘the community’, the game will be released with Linux support if the base goal is met.

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Adam Smith

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