Less Brutal, More Legend: Karmaflow Is A Rock Opera

that sure is a thing right there

As a recovering, relapse-prone power metal fan, I feel duty-bound to tell you about Karmaflow. On one hand, it’s a puzzle platform adventure inspired by the likes of Zelda, Journey, and Darksiders, but on the other, it’s an actual, factual power metal rock opera. Characters burst into glorious mane-tousling, guitar-combusting shred ballads, with voices provided by the likes of DragonForce singer Marc Hudson, Epica’s Simone Simons, and Cradle of Filth’s Dani, er, Filth. This sounds like the best worst thing ever.

The musical pedigree here is actually rather impressive, with numerous metal acts signed on in addition to a 52-piece symphonic orchestra. Well, that is assuming Karmaflow passes muster on Indiegogo. It’s a bit under halfway to its 50,000€ goal, but the developers – who cite experience on games like Age of Wonders, Overlord, Awesomenauts, and Killzone – claim that the game will be made in some form or another no matter what.

Here’s a basic rundown of the maybe-taking-itself-a-little-too-seriously madness:

“In a rich fantasy setting, you take on the role of the Karmakeeper, who is responsible for maintaining the balance in different worlds. You will travel to these worlds and have to save the Guardian Spirits that live there, by finding and unlocking the long lost Karmaflows.”

“Through puzzling, platforming, and exploration, you will be treated to an extensive story told through interactive music. The Karmakeeper will gain new abilities while making his way through rich environments, and uses sources of Good Karma he can find in the world to drive out the Bad Karma that led to the Guardian Spirits’ downfall.”

It actually looks fairly nice so far, though it is extremely early. Much of the art style appears to have murdered Journey and stolen its skin to wear as a stylish coat, but there are worse sources of incredibly overt inspiration. I do wish the Karmaflow team had more to show of its vaunted “interactive” music, though – if not in final form, then perhaps using a few preliminary recordings synced up with gameplay.

But still: a power metal rock opera videogame. It will either be the greatest thing or the absolute worst. And if we’re really, really lucky, it’ll do a screaming knee slide into the center and be both at the same time. I am hopeful. I am hopeful in spite of myself.


  1. golem09 says:

    Rock Opera? Yes!
    Screenshots? Nice!
    Metal? NO.

    • Harlander says:

      An interesting analysis, but I find I disagree with your final step. I’d formulate it more as:


      Also: “Zelda, Journey, and Darksiders”? Anyone else feel like they’re being asked to spot the odd-one-out?

    • PoulWrist says:

      Sorry, metal is the best thing ever.

      • golem09 says:

        So people keep telling me, while I tell them that metal is just bad prog rock. But we never come to an agreement that way, weird :P
        So I skip the metal conversations by now, and accept that my opinion sucks.

        • Sian says:

          I think the problem with your opinion is the same that most people have when they talk about metal: You think it’s just one genre of music. In reality, metal is a collection of styles that can vary quite wildly. Here’s a map: link to mapofmetal.com

          By the way: If you ask fans of certain genres of metal, you’ll hear that power metal isn’t metal at all.

        • noodlecake says:

          Isn’t Prog Rock bad Prog Rock?

          I’ve never really cared for metal for the most part but I’ve recently gotten into some stuff. I like a lot of quite technical music so it’s not really a case of me not liking anything complex. It’s just all the posturing and flash that comes with it and all the pointless shredding. Great. You can play guitar fast. Have a cookie.

        • Sarkhan Lol says:

          So this is the modern iteration of the It’s Just Noise argument.

    • derbefrier says:

      I never cared much for metal either. There are a few exceptions here and there but as a general rule if its metal i probably wont like it all that much.

  2. Baltech says:

    This looks (and sounds) damn amazing, especially if they manage to actually make the music respond to the gameplay. The way that monster is singing at the apparent protagonist at 2.06 (sounds like Andi Deris… o.0) sent chills down my spine.

    But a Powermetal Opera without Tobias Sammet? Heresy I say!

  3. staberas says:

    I tried to kill the metal ….

    • Shadrach says:

      No one can destroy the metal!
      The metal will strike you down with a vicious blow!

      • dahauns says:

        We are the vanquished foes of the metal
        We tried to win for why we do not know

  4. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    While I reserve the right to be sceptical about this particular game, the idea of a game that is also a musical is brilliant and obvious now that someone’ve thought about it. lt will be interesting to see what comes out the other end.

    • Veracity says:

      Rhapsody. It isn’t very good. Might’ve been with more of a budget.

  5. Skeletor68 says:

    I am excited for this.

    Also, saw Lamb of God in Dublin last night. Posting on the off chance another RPSer/metalhead attended so we can be friends forever.

    • MasterDex says:

      I wanted to attend but lack of funds this summer scuttled those plans. How were they?

  6. Jackablade says:

    I think they really need to up the overwrought metal factor quite considerably if they’re going to find the audience worthy of that amazing musical lineup. It doesn’t need to be quite as overt as Brutal Legend, though theres plenty more places where that album cover as environment theme could be taken, but the clean austere design of the character and the “Karma Flow” title for starters would benefit from a bit of metalling up.

  7. Fred S. says:

    Protect Mother? Could they get more Oedipal?

    • Darkwings says:

      Oedipus’ complex isn’t about protecting… so yeah, they totally could.

  8. Noviere says:

    So… funny story. Up until now, I thought Cradle of Filth was a joke band made up for the IT Crowd.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Last night I saw the film “Museum Hours” which has singer Mary Margaret O’Hara in the lead role, and when another character professes a liking for Heavy Metal she replies “like Cradle of Filth?”, which was a fairly strange moment for both me and the character she’s talking to.

  9. cpt_freakout says:

    The game concept is very attractive, but unfortunately the music is exactly the kind of metal that I loathe, haha. Considering I love most of metal, that’s just some bad luck for me!

  10. Lagwolf says:

    Metal: Yes
    Opera: Yes
    Puzzle Platformer: Oh God NO!

    • snv says:

      Exactly my reaction. Looks promising to be awesome in every aspect, except as a game. But thats just me disliking platformers.

  11. Turkey says:

    Ugh. Now I’m just fantasizing about video games based on muscial genres I like.

  12. SkittleDiddler says:

    This might have been good without the C-list metal celebs and the opera rock.

  13. tikey says:

    I don’t think it hits the right notes.

  14. kael13 says:

    I have a secret love for power/orchestral metal (and Simone Simons) in all its cheesy glory, so I would certainly take a look at this. I hope they get funded!

  15. newprince says:

    I don’t see why people find it necessary to loudly proclaim their dislike of power or symphonic metal. It’s not like everyone doesn’t know just how niche of a taste it is.

    Furthermore, when someone says they don’t like any metal at all, it makes me very sad. I start to disbelieve they actually like music at all.

    • Nicodemus Rexx says:

      Hear, hear! Metal is such a diverse genre that It’s my personal belief there’s a Metal for everyone, and anyone who says they “Don’t like Metal” just hasn’t found theirs yet.

      For instance *I* used to think I hated Metal, but playing Brutal Legend opened my mind enough that, with the help of some friends, I was able to branch out and find mine. Only then did I realize that through a lot of the groups I’d been experimenting with over the years, I’d actually been searching for Metal the whole time and just hadn’t realized it.

      • snv says:

        The Metal is strong in everyone, but not everyone is aware of that.

  16. thekelvingreen says:

    I am somehow reminded of the Great and Mighty Poo from Conker’s Bad Fur Day.

  17. Rath says:

    If ever a game were crying out for Luca Turilli’s “War Of The Universe”, this is it.