A Kickstarter project which is currently charming its way round Twitter is Knights And Bikes. Seriously, it’s popped up in my timeline more than half a dozen times in an hour and a half. It looks like an action RPG firmly rooted in 80s kids film traditions and with an art style somewhere between Costume Quest and Don’t Starve.
Watching the main video I figured it was two kids rushing around on bikes, trying to save one of their homes from demolition and maybe turning everyday scenery and struggles into fantastical battles via their imaginations. A kind of big corporation trying to destroy the litte guy type story, you know? Like Batteries Not Included or something. But reading onward it seems like the fantastical elements operate outside the kids’ minds and the whole thing is slightly different.
According to the Kickstarter text Knights And Bikes takes place on a island off the Cornish coast. It’s a fading tourist destination with things like arcades and crazy golf – the kind of thing I grew up with as a kid living in a small seaside town.
“Our story takes place in the 80s when the island’s most prized relic is proved to be fake, raising questions about Penfurzy’s legends. We pick up in the fall of 1987, the end of the island’s worst tourist season ever. All the mainlanders have gone home. Well, all except one.
“As Nessa and Demelza begin their search for the truth behind the island legends, they unleash mysterious spirits that possesses many of the island’s inhabitants, human and animal alike. It’s up to our heroines to figure out what these spirits want, where or even when they’re from, and ultimately how to stop them.”
The slight mismatch between my initial impression and what the game actually is comes, I think, from the fact I’ve never seen The Goonies – a film EVERYONE is referencing in relation to the game project. I think the only thing I know about The Goonies is there’s a scene where a kid shakes his belly. It was discussed at tedious length in one of those dreadful “100 Greatest Something Moments” shows and as a result I never felt the urge to plug that particular cinematic gap.
The basic loop of the game is to explore, rescue islanders, collect treasure and soup up your bike/abilities in order to explore more and rescue more islanders. Knights And Bikes is being developed by Foam Sword which is composed of Rex Crowle (who amongst other things was creative lead on Tearaway) and Moo Yu (whose credits include lead gameplay programmer on Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction)
Obviously the usual caveats apply because Kickstarter – don’t invest unless you’re okay with the idea the project could never get any further than it is right now. But I will say I really love the mood of the Kickstarter page and that it does a really good job in expressing the adventurous attitude of Nessa and Demelza.