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Gracilevania: Heart Forth, Alicia

I think the title is an instruction – ‘Let your heart go forth, Alicia!’. A bit like ‘Chin up, Alicia’, ‘Put your best foot forward, Alicia’ or ‘Flying elbow drop, Alicia!’. The game behind the instruction is a gorgeous Metroidvania sort of thing, starring a warrior-wizard lady with a whip and a collection of spells. The graphics aren’t ‘retro’ simply in the sense that they look dated. Take a look at the video, being sure not to turn off the sound during the odd voiceover, and you’ll see a side-scroller that looks and sounds as lovely as many nineties console greats. Alicia’s heart has led her to Kickstarter, of course, and with 29 days left to go there’s already just shy of $15,000 in the bank. $45,000 more to go.

This doesn’t call back to a period or genre I have any particular degree of nostalgia for, but I’m still won over. The movement looks smooth, and the jump arcs and combat timings make immediate sense. Here are some features:

Master devastating and versatile magic spells to annihilate your enemies and solve creative puzzles.

Engage in fast, agile melee combat with an enchanted wizard’s whip, over 20 special attacks and upgrades, and a wide array of mobility skills.

Adventure through a vast, intricately detailed world filled with hidden wonders and puzzles, dastardly platforming, lethal dungeons, and much, much more.

Play with powerful RPG elements that include all the gear, loot, sidequests, upgrades, crafting, and gameplay depth that make for a classic RPG experience.

Discover 5 secret fairy companions to crush, shock, freeze, and burn your enemies, or save you at your most dire moment of need.

Experience a deep and immersive story that takes place within a much larger history of events and cultures, and starring a cast of fascinating, memorable characters.

Lovely stuff. Work on the game started seven years ago and the Kickstarter is for a final full-time push, as well as payment for contributors. Developer Alonso Martin has an actual pie chart to show how the money will be spent, which is sensible and kind of adorable at the same time. More money is going on the physical rewards than on his own living expenses, which terrifies me. Do people really crave miniatures and the like so much? Actually, scratch that, Alonso is selling books with mythology, illustrations and backstory in. That’s the kind of physical reward I can understand.

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Adam Smith

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