What do we even call a game like this? The Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts of this world. The Besieges, the Space Engineers and similar. There’s enough of them now to feel that we need some kind of definition. I’ll leave that up to you lot to debate in the comments.
Whatever the designation name, it seems a growth field, and now there’s one more of these games in the works – Nimbatus, from new Swiss outfit Stray Fawn Studio. A game wherein you’re tasked with constructing the perfect robo-spacecraft to complete your goals as you explore a procedurally generated universe. It’s shaping up nicely, offering a playable demo, but needs some money in order to reach the finish line.
The gameplay trailer above sums up the gameplay loop in a perfect space-nutshell. Pick an objective, and then build just the right tool for the job. Easier said than done when you’re trying to combine steerability, combat effectiveness, heavy excavation gear and all keep it within a fixed size profile. Other missions might ask you to create something built purely for racing or within a tight budget, forcing some creative engineering.
More technically inclined players may want to check out this longer gameplay video, detailing some of the randomly generated scenarios you can get into. One of the more interesting events is Robo Sumo, a challenge to create a fully autonomous drone guided by sensors and logic gates to locate and push the enemy drone out of the ring before it can do the same to you.
Nimbatus’ Kickstarter is doing okay for now, but could be a bit closer to its initial funding goal. I wonder if part of that is due to this being the first ever I’ve seen asking for money in Swiss Francs (CHF). For some reason, people get cagey about handing over funds in anything other than the ever-familiar US Dollar. Asking for funding in British Pounds struggles enough, and I’ve seen some developers go through an American proxy simply because they can set up their Kickstarter to take USD.
If the thought of bolting together your own little robo-spaceship tickles your fancy, you can throw your money at the Nimbatus Kickstarter here. CHF 14 or more ($14/£11) is counted as a full preorder.