Bloom: Memories is something of a strange creature - less of a genre melting pot and more a genre blender set to liquefy - but I very much appreciate what it's trying to accomplish. The action-RPG cites everything from Legend of Zelda to Thief to Harvest Moon as core influences, and - in something of a first considering ARPGs' "click-click-click loot pinata deathsplosion" roots - it offers multiple entirely non-violent options. Or you can plow through every one of the game's mysterious man-machine remnants of a dark past, though be warned: the world will meet violence with violence. An eye for an eye.
The almost painterly Kickstarter project offers multiple, often markedly divergent paths - from all-out action to Thief-inspired light-and-darkness stealth to silver-tongued compromise with an enemy you don't fully understand. Developer Studio Fawn adds:
"At its core, we are creating a game that moves away from the cliche of violence and domination. In fact, you can play the entire game without harming anyone or anything if you so choose."
And yes, you absolutely can - and probably should - talk to the monsters.
"The world is filled with strange creatures; sometimes taking a moment to talk to them can be well worth the time. Every now and then, as you consider how to kill the imposing monster standing before you. . . you might instead simply try and say hello."
Stealth, meanwhile, will require exacting precision, while violence will reward you with additional strength - but at some other, rot-and-desolation-spreading cost. Bear in mind, however, that your older-than-your-gene-pool nemeses are hardly slouches. Kickpunchslashthwacking with reckless abandon might not always be the most practical idea, either.
The handsome hack-and-handshake-er is asking for $40,000 on Kickstarter, and it's already nearly halfway there. There's also a pre-alpha tech demo, if you want a very rough estimate of how the final product will look and feel.
Now for the part that'll have some of you calling an exterminator for those excited butterflies in your stomach: Bloom won't be out until December 2015. There'll be a beta shortly before that, but still. That's a lot of time. I am, of course, hopeful that it'll be worth the wait, but you'll probably want to go ahead and get comfortable.