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Kickstarter Katchup - 10th March 2013

To the Victors, the Spoils

The winners' podium is crowded this week, and by those that have been funded rather than the crowds wot have funded them. Hopefully, when the games are actually released, we'll all be winners though. There are so many success stories this week that I didn't even make room for the most ridiculous victory of all time. The spiritual successor to Torment took a mere seven hours to reach its total. Lord British, with over half a million in a few days, dreams of success like that.

The Rules

  • Featuring a game in this list doesn’t mean we endorse it. We likely haven’t played, and as such can’t say whether it will be worth your cash. That’s your call.
  • Letting me know about a game (which you can do via my name at the top of this article) doesn’t mean it will definitely be included. Leaving links in the comments is a good way to let other readers know about projects, but please email me if you want them considered for the list. Include the word Kickstarter in the subject line too if you care about making my life even slightly easier.
  • We only include games where pledges reach developers only if the target is met.
  • Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games.
  • Projects that have reached their funding get included in the Winners list, and then aren't featured in the weeks after that, to give more attention to those that are still needing the cash. Tough if you don't like it.
  • Be aware that there are several currencies in play. Always check!
  • If the Katchup does not contain your current Kickstarter Krush, please refrain from ranting and raving. Simply berate the Katchup in the comment section and curse under your breath.

The Winners

XING: The Land Beyond - White Lotus Interactive

Goal: $15,000
Now: $15,367

XING's speedy success doesn't surprise me - it's a tantalising blend of first-person puzzling and atmospheric adventure, which looks far more polished than the $15,000 goal might suggest. That's because the project has been in development for a good time already, although release won't be until Autumn. Stretch goals include new environments and Oculus Rift support. I haven't tripped into the Rift yet but XING looks like exactly the sort of game that'd benefit from the promising tech.

J.U.L.I.A. Enhanced Edition - CBE Software

Goal: $5,000
Now: $6,059

The story of sci-fi adventure J.U.L.I.A. is a sad one. I'm not talking about the narrative of the game itself, but the outcome of the relationship with publishers Lace Mamba Global, which left developers CBE without the rights to their game. They have since used all of the profits from sales to repurchase the rights and are set to release an enhanced edition. The speed of the fund-raising is a happy ending to a tale of woe. There's plenty of time left to reach the stretch goals, which are detailed in the video below.

Cover image for YouTube video

Mage's Initiation - Himalaya Studios

Goal: $65,000
Now: $82,539

Mage's Initiation has completed its Quest For Glory, but the team aren't giving up yet, hoping to hit as many stretch goals as possible in the twelve days remaining. it's an adventure-RPG and I've focused on the pointing and clicking in previous studies, but these combat details are enticing.

A group of redcaps may fight for the glory of picking off a mage, with two or three rushing in while the rest prevent your escape. Or you may be swarmed by scavenging pygmy goblins who aim to surround and crush you quickly, but scatter if there are only a few left. When monsters of different types end up together – with you in the middle – things get even more interesting!

Enemy - Tom Johnson

Goal: $15,000
Now: $18,143

Now that my current pick of the crop has succeeded, I'll be on the lookout for the next potential dream project. Maybe someone will finally pitch the Sports Interactive influenced Speedball Manager game I've wanted since I was a teenager. As for Enemy:

...this is far from the last update. There are still many content updates to come, including regular updates showing off the progress of the game. A little further down the road, there's also a demo, a Steam Greenlight campaign, a beta test, and finally, release of the game itself.

Delver's Drop - Pixelscopic

Goal: $75,000
Now: $119,488

Blimey. I expected Delver's Drop to succeed but with a couple of days left on the countdown timer, the arena-based dungeon diving ARPG has shot past its target, blasting through the stretch goals with ease. There will be a Linux version, a four-player mode, with both co-op and deathmatch.

Race the Sun - Flippfly

Goal: $20,000
Now: $21,579

A finish worthy of a race against the burning heart of the solar system. Race to the Sun tripled its takings in four days, showing that anything is possible as long as people believe see value in a well-run campaign, with plenty to show, including a playable prototype and plenty of video updates.

The Losers

Death Inc. - Ambient Studios

Goal: £300,000
Total: £122,711

Death Inc. isn't dead but the future isn't clear. We'll keep an eye on Ambient's activities but in the meantime, take a look at this lovely artwork. That's a stylish way to report a failure.

Project Awakened - Phosphor Games Studio

Goal: $500,000
Now: $338,498

Project Awakened is another Kickstarter failure that is down but not out. Nathan has all the latest on on Phosphor's new plans.

The Players

Shroud Of The Avatar - Portalarium

Goal: $1,000,000
Now: $635,729
Days: 27

Richard Garriott's new RPG, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, which has been described in the past as the ULTIMAte RPG, has absolutely nothing in common with his previous work, Ultima, which starred the Avatar and his quests to uphold the virtues of Britannia. If you want to know what's actually involved, why not read our extensive feature? I quite like Ultima VII.

Pulse - Team Pixel Pi

Goal: $75,000
Now: $11,186
Days: 32

Nathan has already written about Pulse, a first-person survival game:

You’re blind, you see (see what I did there, etc), but you “see” via a synesthestic echolocation-like mixture of pre-blindness memories and sound. So a stair’s high-pitched whimper sends a blade of “sight” reverberating through the black.

It looks sounds fascinating.

Cover image for YouTube video

Whispering Willows - Nightlife Interactive

Goal: $15,000
Now: $12,593
Days: 4

Another game offering a playable demo and another game that I don't currently have the time to try for myself. Curse the shortness of the day. Whispering Willows is a horror puzzler but it doesn't look too much like The 7th Guest so hopefully John won't explode if he lays eyes on it.

Cover image for YouTube video

Another Castle - Uncade

Goal: $12,000
Now: $8,265
Days: 19

Another Castle sounds a lot like a platforming take on Enemy, which makes it worthy of attention.

Another Castle combines classic platforming gameplay with the randomness of a roguelike. You play as Andy, a dude who's looking for a random item, whether it be a kick ass magical sword, a wizard hat, or royalty. To find the item you must run, jump, and fight your way through a randomly generated castle. When you beat the game...the item is now unlocked and can be found in future playthroughs of the game.

There's an early playable prototype.

Civitas - Brandon Smith

Goal: $250,000
Now: $68,066
Days: 22

Civitas has been creating a great deal of buzz, pitching itself as a DRM-free alternative to SimCity, with terraforming and other features that are absent from EA's city-builder. Even before spending a couple of days banging my head against the SimCity servers (this weekend has been better), I was personally and professionally devoted to despairing about the rottenness of the always-online nature of the game. That said, while Civitas has been positioned as an alternative but nobody on the team has clearly demonstrated how the game will be completed. Indeed, it's not clear who is actually on the team and this is the first Kickstarter page I've seen without a video. I'm treating this one with caution until more details are available.

There Came An Echo - Iridium Studios

Goal: $90,000
Now: $70,417
Days: 10

There Came An Echo is "a voice-controlled real-time strategy game, starring Wil Wheaton", although you won't actually need to control it with your voice, so if you like to give your games the silent treatment, you'll still be able to play. It's from the team who made Sequence, a rhythm-action RPG that momentarily tickled my fancy when I was looking for the next Puzzle Quest. I'm still not sure if I ever found the next Puzzle Quest. Did anyone?

Cover image for YouTube video

Ultimate Disassembly - Noble Empire

Goal: $30,000
Now: $1,423
Days: 47

You can tinker with some of Noble Empire's previous virtual model kits at their website or watch the pitch video for the new project in the usual place at the top of their Kickstarter page. The Ultimate Disassembly kit will include five models - Delorean Time Machine, F4U Corsair, HMMWV, Mi-24 Hind and BMP-3 Russian IFV. The mechanisms of the latter are shown in great detail in the video below. It was probably a wise decision to opt for a longer campaign here; the engineering-inclined backers are probably out there somewhere but it doesn't look like they've discovered the project just yet.

Cover image for YouTube video

Ithaka Of The Clouds - Jonas and Verena Kyratzes

Goal: $12,000
Now: $9,923
Days: 12

There was a hole in the Katchup last weekend and if you looked at it closely, you'd see that it was the size and shape of the entire Lands of Dream. I missed the hand-drawn adventure, despite including it the week before. Oops.

Ithaka of the Clouds is the story of two lovers and their travels across the Lands of Dream as they seek the legendary city of the title. And it so happens that the two lovers are both trolls, creatures that human stories have often painted as frightening barbarians.

The video below shows real-time music composition.

Cover image for YouTube video

Empire Eden - New Horizon Games

Goal: $19,000
Now: $1,499
Days: 17

The pulchritudinous pixels of Contra-like Empire Eden haven't attracted a great deal of dollars so far, but the release of a demo in the near future could provide a boost.

Working on the playable mechanical demo for you guys. We should have it up and running in a couple of days, with a new video update. -- This is not the actual game, it is only a room filled with enemies so you can get a feel of how the mechanics are going to work.

Grump's Quest - Rockkiss

Goal: £450,000
Now: £15,490
Days: 18

The team behind Grump's Quest are led by Simon Credland, who has plenty of experience in the world of games, but also boast animation veterans who have worked in film and television. The game, which won't be finished until June 2014, is part Oddworld and part Donkey Kong Country. I'd hoped for more information this week but the update cupboard is bare.

Fathom - Ironsun Studios

Goal: £120,000
Now: £3,522
Days: 19

Oof. I'm surprised to see Fathom struggling quite so much. Bioshock and Aquaria were the two games that came to mind when I first saw the side-on steampunk submmersibles in action. More information is on the way.

...the story elements of the game are starting to take shape and we will be able to show more of both the story and the first level soon. We’re really excited about how it looks and can’t wait to share!

I look forward to seeing more.

Rogue System - DCI

Goal: $300,000
Now: $35,409
Days: 11

Rogue System is among the most promising of the many space sims that have passed through Kickstarter's halls - some leaving fully fueled, others stuttering to a standstill. It's a space combat/trader game, and to that I say, 'yes please'. There's an enormous amount of detail in the thirty four (!) updates, including the latest video below and a link to a recent appearance on the SpaceGameJunkie podcast.

Cover image for YouTube video

Back to Bed - Bedtime Gaming

Goal: $12,000
Now: $7,849
Days: 5

Back to Bed's original version, acting as a sort of demo, is available to play. It's a stylish puzzler in which the player guides a sleepwalker through surreal and attractive worlds. Success is still possible and if you haven't tried the demo and considered a pledge, now is the time.

Var and the Vikings - Brainworth

Goal: $31,000
Now: $9,552
Days: 13

Brainworth describe their project thusly:

Var and the Vikings is a puzzle-platformer that will teach players about ‘behavior trees’, an artificial intelligence tool used commonly in video games and 3D animation...To this end, players of Var and the Vikings will design artificial brains for their Nordic heroes, automating them in the same way that game programmers design non-player characters in current commercial video games.

That sounds spiffy to me. Am I the only person who finds reward tier breakdowns that look like this intimidating rather than inviting though?

And also!

Continue Magazine

Goal: £50,000
Now: £3,301
Days: 11

Continue publishes long-form explorations, dissections and dissertations of and on topics related to gaming, specific games and the wider culture of human persons 'having fun'. You can see samples from the first three issues here. Wait! you can actually read the entire third issue here!

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.