Tom vs. The Armies of Hell is the gun-toting, demon-slaughtering, Diablo-like brainchild of Sean Burgoon. It’s about a software engineer drone for an evil corporation who’ve (obviously) opened a portal to Hell in their basement and he’s blasting his way through it. The second attempt at Kickstarter, looking for $20,000 (£12k), has just been launched after failing to reach $100,000 last year. Despite that, it’s caught my eye with brilliant humour and an excellent preview build, along with a fantastic pitch video. Sacrifice a goat in my name to access the murky depths below.
It’s basic, glorious fun. Sean’s got the amount of chaos to have on screen just right, with loads of enemies swarming you almost constantly. A boss I fought took up an entire room – the exact right level of scale – and looked totally awesome in the cartoony, caricatured art style. The breaks for plot development are short and usually just an excuse for the quality humour to shine through. Weapon modification takes the place of character development, at least so far. It’s completely free to move upgrades around, so experimentation and switching them to guns with ammo remaining when you run out on others is key.
While the demo build is clearly very early when it comes to balance, the level design, weapons and art are already excellent. There’s a lot of systems jammed in that keep the action varied, like certain items turning Tom into a melee monster or timed events that yield rewards. I hope Sean manages to get it to the point where he’s comfortable releasing it to the public before the end of the campaign, it’ll be a great boon to funding. I’d be impressed with it from a much larger team, that it’s the work of a solo venture is amazing.
You might be worried about failed first attempt to crowdfund the game. Last year Sean put it down to mostly a poor pitch video and not marketing enough, which are pretty common failings. He’s continued to work on the game over this past year, hence the lower goal, and put together a much more solid pitch. Not releasing a prototype or demo didn’t help the first attempt either, and it seems a mistake to skip that now too, when it’s playable and enjoyable enough. If you fancy it, $10 will get you a finished copy of the game when it comes early next year.