The scene: a dark alley, overcast skies hiding a waning moon as you meet me in a shady dealing, our cloaks buffeting one another in the wind. In a quiet voice and husky tone you demand: “Describe a game that is the opposite of the norm.”
I look at you strangely, then speak, “Why? It has already been done. Project Maiden.” Your surprise is audible as I continue, “A female protagonist, themes of loss signified by powers lessening as the game continues, a singleplayer focus and that’s just the start…”
What my flowery prose fails to mention is how exciting this all looks (well, and developer Kevin Cole is the most adorable). Yes, it’s a 2D indie puzzle platformer, but beyond the basics I’m intrigued by a set of mechanics that outreach the norm. Rather than a simple double jump, heroine Imogen begins with the ability to morph the very ground into a platform. Instead of paralysis, enemies can be turned to stone and statues to life with the same Transmute power.
Most interesting of all is this idea of reverse progression. Not mentioned in the video is the specifics of how this will work with a Mega Man style level selection process, meaning each will need to be passable with a bare minimum of powers. As an alternative to “choose your own path”, this “choose your own loss” is brilliant and the implications for storyline and themes are wonderful. Perhaps best of all, it will be entirely free once it’s released. There’s less than 24 hours of funding to go, so get in there now.