A Rite From The Stars is an adventure game, inspired by nineties classics and modern marvels alike. The setting and plot are interesting, but we’ll move on to that in a moment because there are far more important statements on the Kickstarter page. Developers Risin’ Goat (only enough in the budget for one ‘g’) claim that the game will not feature ‘pixel hunts’, ‘pointless walks’ or ‘boring inventory management (also known as “Use the stick in everything until it works”)’. I reckon all three of those things should have been left on the Lucas and Sierra cutting-room floor a long time ago, along with almost every puzzle in The Dig and the many deaths of Roger Wilco. A Rite From The Stars isn’t simply emulating the past and I’m grateful for that. The Kickstarter has eight days left on the clock and $15,000 of a $40,000 target left to raise.
What sort of third dimensional angles and perspectives are those? You might be forgiven for thinking Rite From the Stars was some sort of action adventure if you’d been exposed to the video before reading what the game’s all about. Despite the point and click inspiration, the game has several mechanics to play with, including a unique feature for each branch of its story. As Kirm, “a boy from the Makoa Tribe”, the player will have three choices at the beginning of the adventure – Wisdom, Courage and Spirit. These are three branches of the rite of passage that the tribe’s children must overcome and they can be approached in any order and at any pace. Fancy showing off your courage for a while and then beating a passage down the path of wisdom? That is acceptable.
The path of wisdom could be the most frustrating, if the short description is anything to go by. Rather than reading lots of books and making friends with an owl, to prove that he is wise, Kirm must explore a temple that just so happens to be full of traps. To make his way through, he’ll have to use items that he finds along the way but he can only carry one at a time. I know there aren’t supposed to be any fiddly inventory puzzles or long pointless walks, but I’m already envisaging myself walking back to the beginning of the temple from some point midway through, because I decided to carry a sachet of soy sauce instead of the magician’s forceps.
The courage path introduces Kirm to his power animal, which is a meerkat that may or may not try to sell him insurance while being a dick to its elderly, confused employees. Both characters can be controlled by the player, which may lead to some Lost Vikings style shenanigans. Or maybe it’ll be more like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and we’ll all have a big old cry when the meerkat [TURNS OUT TO BE AN ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID INDIVIDUAL AND EVERYONE SHAKES HANDS, NODS POLITELY AND HEADS HOME FOR A CUP OF BOVRIL AND A CHIP BARM – ED].
Finally, there’s the path of spirit, no which Kirm can enter the spirit world in an attempt to reach the highest spot on the island that his tribe inhabits. I hope this is basically The Sentinel but less terrifying and that the Sentinel turns out to be [THE FEVER DREAM OF A YOUNG GEOFF CRAMMOND – NOT ED].
Ten dollars is the minimum pledge that includes a copy of the game when it releases (hopefully) early next year, although there are only 49 pledges available at that tier right now. Oh, and there’s a demo, compatible with Windows, Linux and Scottish ‘Yes’ vote favourite, McOS.