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Kickstarter Katchup - 14th July 2013

Point and Pledge

When was the last time a project made almost a million dollars in a week? Warmachine: Tactics came and conquered, with its fantastic visual design and promise of turn-based shenanigans pleasing all who saw it. Well, maybe not all, but a heck of a lot. Elsewhere, intriguing procedural pirate game, Freebooter, was cancelled early in its campaign, leaving me with affections to spare. I'm lavishing them on Dropsy, a surreal adventure starring a creepy clown, and Monochroma, which every single person should look at right now.

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!
  • This week's Katchup was composed while listening to Busdriver.

The Winners

Warmachine: Tactics - Privateer Press

Goal: $550,000
Now: $737,310
Days: 26

Has Kickstarter been hacked? Clearly not, but I can't remember the last time a project made this much money this quickly. I actually reeled when I saw the total but, as Jim observed, this is a game worth watching.

"...the game’s world – a Steampunky fantasy in which Warcasters (armoured wizards) and Warjacks (magic mechs) vie for control of a fantasy world – is that commands most attention. The team behind it is full of veterans, and the art direction of Matt Wilson retains the distinct whiff of someone who knows exactly what to do."

With a singleplayer campaign and various multiplayer options, Warmachine is of great interest.

Lioness - Zak Ayles

Goal: $7,000
Now: $9,421
Days: 23

Lioness, as Nathan observed, could be a thing of beauty.

While adventures not named The Walking Dead use the form as gizmo-and-bobbin-powered gateway to the past, PUNKSNOTDEAD developer Zak Ayles wants to move things forward. Or at least off an incredibly well-worn path. The idea is to tell a story about people via a non-linear “organic narrative experience that feels personal and unique to everyone who plays it.” Also, the plot sounds completely bonkers, with a principle focus on time travel, yakuza, and, um, “interdimensional coffee”.

Zak hopes to raise more money so that he can add expand "in terms of quality, rather than size."

The Losers

Freebooter - Tribunal Games

Goal: £50,000
Now: £5,487

Last week, I was hoping that the procedurally generated pirate game would begin to pillage pledges at a higher rate of knots but instead it has sprung a leak and sank to the depths of the metaphor main. The campaign has been cancelled due to the slow pace of pledges.

We would like to thank everyone who have backed the Kickstarter and everyone who has followed Freebooter over the past year. We have been overwhelmed by the attention Freebooter has gotten and we are sorry we could not give you a chance to play it. In the end Freebooter proved too ambitious, but we will keep making games.


Deus Ex Machina 2 - Mel Croucher

Goal: £64,000
Now: £31,279

What happens when a game is finished and ready for release but misses its goal? I'd tell you but the final update for Deus Ex Machina 2 isn't for me. Only backers can see it. Anyone able and willing to share the contents?

The Players

Monochroma - Nowhere Studios

Goal: $80,000
Now: $9,580
Days: 40

I have preview code for Monochroma and a demo is available to all. I'll definitely be playing it, perhaps even this evening, because it looks and sounds absolutely wonderful.

Platformer games are about our childhood. Think about it for a moment. What we do in a platformer is what we used to do when we were children playing at the playground. We’re adults now and don’t need to push a box and jump over it. We never climb wooden ladders or swing on a rope. In Monochroma, I try to celebrate everyone’s childhood by setting the tutorial at a playground.It was my way of saying ‘thanks’ to all the developers that carry childhood memories within and keep the genre alive.

More on this from me soon, I expect.

Watch on YouTube

Dropsy - Jay Tholen

Goal: $25,000
Now: $7,162
Days: 11

Lots of point and click adventures doing the rounds this week and Dropsy is my pick of the bunch. A clown travels through a weird world, communicating without words as he meets the denizens. Dropsy, the clown himself, frightens me a bit, but then I've never seen a clown that I've been comfortable with. Apparently there was a Kickstarter in 011 and Jay explains this second attempt thusly:

Lack of adequate planning and budgeting. I assumed I'd just be able to purchase the software, get a decent computer, and poop out a game in two years. All of the money went towards software for the game, and I've made progress, but I was definitely naive in my expectations.

Fran Bow - Killmonday

Goal: $20,000
Now: $2,120
Days: 47

Eek. Fran Bow is a point and click adventure that begins with the brutal murder of the lead character's parents. She's a little girl.

...the only thing she has left is her cat and aunt Grace who takes care of her.But something happens, her cat vanishes and she is taken to an asylum for mad children. One day the cat appear in her dreams and she starts to plot her escape. During her way back home she will get help from strange creatures and find out that the murder of her parents is unimaginably terrible, and finally confront the one responsible...

I'd imagine that she found out the murder of her parents was unimaginably terrible when it happened. No need to find out more.

Watch on YouTube

Insection - Glasswing

Goal: £280,000
Now: £54,484
Days: 19

I don't generally do multiplayer shooters but Insection's colourful carnage, sci-fi concepts and co-op mode have a certain appeal. Jim agrees:

...the execution of this seems more like top notch, big studio stuff. Seriously, go take a look at the video below: this is shiny sci-fi combat like the used to make. It’s action-movie handsome, and instantly set my deathmatch glands aflaring. I think this could be interesting!

There's a long way to go, but it hasn't been a bad start. It'd be encouraging to see an update or two though, eh?

Centration - Angry Engineers

Goal: £50,000
Now: £6,107
Days: 17

The reality of the pledge total's stubborn refusal to rise by more than a couple of thousand dollars every week is sinking in. It's a first-person multiplayer space station simulator with many opportunities for emergent disaster, inspired by Space Station 13. What's not to like? I've seen a few comments frowning at the tone, which is dark and horrific as opposed to the comedic carnage of SS 13. All of that can be changed with the included mod tools though. Here's a video of the airflow system in action.

Watch on YouTube

Eterium - Andrew Luby

Goal: $25,000
Now: $10,152
Days: 17

I like Eterium more every time I look at it. Andrew is running an exemplary campaign, updating the demo in response to feedback and communicating changes and progress clearly. The latest video contains new music and graphics.

This video is a quick combat scene from the Beid System. The UEA Canopus diverts to the Beid system to help evacuate a colony that is under attack by superior Revi forces. In the video I am tasked with coming to the rescue of a transport carrying refugees. By default your Wingmen will attack the nearest target, unless you order them otherwise. In the video I take advantage of this by having my wingmen cover me so I could go straight in and attack the two Stri'kal medium fighters which were launching missiles at the transport.

Watch on YouTube

Lacuna Passage - Random Seed Games

Goal: $40,000
Now: $21,736
Days: 17

The time between clicking on the Lacuna Passage link and deciding to launch money toward the project may be very short if any of the following words appeal - 'survival', 'Mars', 'topography'...'mystery'. There's a sample of the soundtrack in the video below. Watch right through to the end.

Watch on YouTube

Dark Matter - InterWave Studios

Goal: £50,000
Now: £5,487
Days: 3

My hands on experience with Dark Matter was positive but that small chunk of preview code may be all I ever play of the game. Despite the lack of any significant progress toward their goal, the brave fellows at InterWave continue to spread the word about their sci-fi sidescroller. Here is a video all about ways to kill monsters. Guns and monsters. The ingredients from which all games were once created.

Watch on YouTube

Satellite Reign - 5 Lives Studios

Goal: £350,000
Now: £227,028
Days: 14

Satellite Reign is the most exciting project in the Katchup. That's a fact. If you disagree, it's because you haven't read the update about AI behaviour.

Everything feeds into everything else causing a chaotic system, but also a believable system, a systems where the Guard will go get some food because his hunger level got too high, or he fell asleep on the job because he got to sleepy, or he decided to run away from a shoot out because he’s basically a bit of a coward and the financial gains of defending the compound didn't out-way the risk of being killed.

The Syndicate successor we've all been waiting for? It sounds like the open world city game I've been waiting for, far from the simplistic staging of GTA and its like.

Frozen State - Snow Arc

Goal: £60,000
Now: £17,181
Days: 7

Poor Frozen State. It captured my heart immediately, simply by looking like the orphaned child of Fallout and S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a survival-based horror RPG. Whether the game would live up to that billing, I don't know, but it's something I'm willing to take a gamble on. It's understandable that not everybody is of the same mind and now the project is in danger. But whatever happens in the next seven days, Snow Arc aren't going to fade away.

No one from the team is leaving; on the contrary, we have a few more contributors and people who will be helping us. Although it appears that we are miles away from our goal, the team is in a good mood and we plan to keep working on the game. So rather than stop and whine about the kickstarter, we will go forward, like only real survivors do ;)

And another thing...

GameLoading: Rise of the Indies - StudioBento

Goal: $50,000
Now: $10,856
Days: 30

Lester Francois sends word of his studio's "documentary about the global indie game developer scene". The list of interviewees is impressive, including the likes of Chris Avellone and David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies, whose company is arguably more important to the indie scene than any single developer. AS well as following a group of developers in their native Australia, StudioBento are hoping to provide a snapshot of the current state of the scene, with opinions and discussion aplenty. The next Indie Game: The Movie?

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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.