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Kickstarter Katchup - 21st July 2012

The Wisdom Of Crowds

Lots more projects in the loser column this week, although the real plump projects are still in the midst of their runs. Hopefully we'll be seeing a packed winner column in coming weeks. As ever, if there's a fund raiser for a game you've spotted, or you indeed are hoping to make, let me know via my name above. One thing - unless someone changes my mind, I've decided to no longer include any "flexible funding" projects, as offered by Indiegogo. They aren't in the spirit of the whole endeavour, and are essentially temporary tipjars, with too much risk that donated money will reach developers who fall far short of reaching any useful amount. But that doesn't mean there aren't a metric ton of projects to peruse below.

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 above) doesn’t guarantee I’ll include it.
Bacon is better crispy than floppy, and there's no debate to be had.

The Winners

SpaceChem: Limited Edition - Zachtronics Industries

A neat idea - Barth is offering limited edition physical copies of the much loved SpaceChem via Kickstarter. The goal was set low at $600, and is now at $3,361 with 9 days left. It takes a $25 pledge to receive a copy, signed by Zach, or $45 for two. Add on $3 if your one of those dirty non-North-Americans.

Legends Of Aethereus - Three Gate Studios

Really fast progress over the last fortnight saw this really nice looking ARPG swoop past its modest $25,000 goal, with over $28k raised and just a few hours left on the clock.

The Losers

Coma: A Mind Adventure - Warcelona

A loser in so much as it fell halfway short of its $7,400 goal, but thanks to the concerning Flexible Funding option on Indiegogo, receives the $3,355 anyway. I wonder if people would have been more willing to fund what looked like a very interesting concept if they knew their money was guaranteed to reach them only when they made enough.

Rapid Assault - Cornered Rat Software

Only making it 40% of the way to its $100,000 aim, this old-school WW2 shooter is going to have to finish itself without crowd funding. But then a measly four updates over the entire campaign showed about the same disinterest from the developers as it received from donators. They've not even updated saying their plans now the Kickstarter's failed - in fact, they didn't post anything since the 6th July. Not a great way to run a fund raiser.

The Living: 30 Days To Survive - RocketBearStudios

A shame that this Day Z-like zombie survival game never caught on. It's only managed to raise $8,236 of a $60,000 target, with 11 hours left. But again, only three updates throughout, nothing at all in the final week. Anyone noticing a pattern here? If you don't look like you're interested in your Kickstarter, why do you think anyone else would be?

Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire - Membraine Studios

Another sort-of-failure, since this turn-based strategy will get the fragment of its $35,000 goal, even though it only raised $7,380 of it. It means the game will take a lot longer to develop, but they promise will still be released.

The Players

Shadowrun Online - Cliffhanger Productions

Goal: $500,000
Now: $88,024
Days: 24

Shadowrun Returns was one of the flagship Kickstarter success stories, back in April, raising $1.8m when they'd only asked for $400,000. Now there's another attempt to bring the series back, this time as an MMO, asking for a hefty half million. A 3D turn-based RPG of an MMO, from the team who most recently worked on Jagged Alliance Online. It's a bit target, but another $4,000 poured in over last night. There's collaboration with the pen-n-paper writers, which means the player behaviour in the MMO will eventually effect the table-top game, and, well, watch the video:

Skyjacker - Digitilus

Goal: $200,000
Now: $104,595
Hours: 46

It's been a tough time for this seriously impressive looking space sim. A second Kickstarter, and still they haven't managed to raise the $200,000 they're after. There are 46 hours left on the clock, and they're only just over halfway. But they're not taking this as a defeat. Looking at it as a community created, taking many lessons learned, they plan to do something else - something they've yet to reveal. But to say thank you to everyone who offered them the $100,000 they likely won't get, they're giving the soundtrack to everyone who pledged, including all future tracks recorded. Which is a decent thing.

Bad Dudes 2 - Pinstripe Games

Goal: $80,000
Now: $3,938
Days: 18

Indeed, it is a sequel to the 1988 arcade madness of Bad Dudes, in which the president is kidnapped by ninjas, and rescued by, er, two bad dudes. This will be a co-op beat-em-up, set 23 years (why not 24?) after the events of the original, as Blade and Striker once more rescue a kidnapped president. Presumably not the same one. At the moment they're just showing concept art, as this is very early on. But that's always a risk when asking for cash - they've nothing but concept art to show so far. $10 donation will net you the game when it's out, in what they're saying will be nine months.

Jack Houston And The Necronauts

Goal: $56,000
Now: $40,292
Days Left: 19

The stop-motion point and click adventure is seeing its funding climb nicely. There are still nearly three weeks left for the final push, and just the words "stop-motion point and click adventure" really ought to be enough to entice. They've confidently announced some stretch goals, reaching as high as $100,000 for a much larger game, and extra goodies for hefty pledgers, and $90,000 for getting themselves Unity 4 and releasing across Mac, Linux and tablets as well.

Moon Intern - Larry Pixel

Goal: $30,000
Now: 11,662
Days: 16

I'm a bit astonished anyone was able to read last week's entry for this one and not slap down some cash. But only a couple of grand has been raised over the last week, for a side-scrolling platformer that adapts itself to suit how you play.

Legacy Of The Last Refuge - Jonathan R Jones

Goal: $10,000
Now: $2,069
Days: 20

Slow progress for this oldest of old-school RPG builds, tacking on less than $500 in the last week (although suddenly another $200 last night). If you want to give it a try, the alpha is available here.

Jetpack 2 - Adept Software

Goal: $10,000
Now: $6,656
Days: 49

With seven weeks left, you have to think this long-belated sequel to Jetpack will reach its goal by attrition. But with another grand added this week, it's not exactly crawling either. Also, check out the ultra-disturbing video.

Insurgency 2 - New World Interactive

Goal: $180,000
Now: $17,999
Days: 48

There's a reason people don't come to me with betting tips. If you'd asked me to pick a Kickstarter that would see its funding pour in instantly, I'd have said it was a full sequel to the uber-popular Insurgency mod. Almost $10k has been given over the last week, which is no small change, but I'm bemused this hasn't gone crazy. Anyway, they've left themselves seven more weeks to make the huge climb up to $180k.

Day One - Pendulo

Goal: €300,000
Now: €28,991
Days: 50

I was smartly told off in the comments for my dismissal of Pendulo's Runaway games. Admittedly, after disliking the first two quite so much I never touched the third, but others have argued it was a big improvement. Hopefully continuing that trend will be Day One, a point and click in their style, with an anti-hero central character (i.e. you play a jerk). They've seen another €8,000 arrive this week, but be warned, that massive €300k goal will only net you a "short game". They want €750,000 to make anything full length.

Bad Planet - Red Fly Studio

Goal: $575,000
Now: $10,479
Days: 25

Raw Entertainment was started six years ago as an independent comic publisher, co-founded by Thomas Jane, the Punisher himself (and more recently lead in the excellent Hung), and Tim Bradstreet, cover artist on books like The Punisher and Hellblazer. Based on a Vicadin nightmare Jane had a few years back, an alien creature comes to Earth to help battle an attacking force of 12-legged spider things. Red Fly approached them and suggested it be a videogame. $15 will net you a copy, but unfortunately the video rather forgets to talk about what the game will be like. Which, the text tells us, will be brutal combat, lots of story, and an episodic release.

Magrunner: Dark Pulse - 3AM Games

Goal: €100,000
Now: €78,190
Days: 28

The spin-off developer from Frogwares Games is making great progress with their Lovecraft-inspired first-person puzzler (that hopefully won't contain anything anywhere near as frightening as Watson in their Sherlock games). With so long left, it looks very likely to get there.

Kaiju Combat - Sunstone Games

Goal: $350,000
Now: $25,087
Days: 11

They're not pretending that the next week and a half will see another $325,000 arrive to reach the huge goal for this Godzilla-by-another-name sequel from Simon Strange. That's not been helped by the lack of in-game footage, something that's come about because of a bit of a vicious circle they're stuck in. Without the cash they can't pay the license fees to show the footage, which they need to do to get the cash. They're planning to give out a digital poster to everyone who's pledged, whether they succeed or not, and then plan to relaunch the Kickstarter in October. By then they'll hopefully have renegotiated their license agreements, which they're hoping to do by getting a few of their $500 donators to give them some money via Paypal - carefully managed and limited. This means monster designs will get done. And they're going to lower their next KS to $100,000, and look for the other $200,000 elsewhere.

OURFIRG - A and B and S and A

Goal: $6,000
Now: $1,697
Days: 13

Inspired by point and click games, but created as a 3D third-person game, this is a fantasy adventure with an astonishingly terrible name. Unlike so many, they've got a ton of in-game footage on their updates page, and have got this far in just four months. They're only asking for $6,000, which as a Greek studio I think will make them the richest people in the country.

Star Command - War Balloon

Goal: $100,000
Now: $66,175
Days: 18

I swear I am losing my mind. I'm certain I mentioned this one last week - I remember writing about it. And yet, apparently I didn't. Am I writing Kickstarter Katchups in my dreams now? Anyway, my nervous breakdown aside, this iOS/Android game ran a Kickstarter to get their game over onto PC. And it's looking good. There's over two weeks left to raise the final third, for a spaceship management game that seems half Startopia, half Star Trek parody, with an explorable universe and "crappy civilisations" to discover. Frankly, it looks bloody brilliant.

Perch - Aaron Neugebauer

Goal: $1,500
Now: $1,144
Days: 21

Calling itself a "pure platforming game", where the only danger is falling, this is a physics-led seasonal jumping game, intended to be released as a free Flash browser-based game. He's only after a tiny smidgeon of cash. And if he gets more than he's asking, I think he'd be insane not to port this to phones. And best of all, Aaron stresses that even if you don't give him money, he'll still think you're nice. But, er, Aaron - you've raised more than 2/3 of your money? How about you put up an update?

Detective Grimoire - SFB Games/Armor Games

Goal: $25,000
Now: $9,415
Days: 12

I wonder if it was a mistake for them to have a PC version be a stretch goal at $30k, rather than within their original target. There's still over a week to go, and a decent $3k was added on this week, but limiting this really nice looking adventure to tablets at the first level might be their downfall. Still, it looks like just the sort of thing I want to play on my Android, so, hmmmm. And not to be a broken record, but yet ANOTHER project that barely updates, and then when it does, limits it to the one group of people to whom they don't need to appeal - those who've already given them money. Sigh.

DIVEKICK - Adam Heart

Goal: $30,000
Now: $22,681
Days: 10

After $8k was added on the week before last, this week saw a slightly calmer $2,500 climb. It would just be cruel if this joke-turned-full game beat-em-up project weren't to get to its goal now.

And Something Else

We chronicled the failure of DreamQuest Games' attempt to make half a million dollars for a remake of M.U.L.E., Alpha Colony, in this column. But they did raise a very impressive $100,000, none of which they got of course. It wasn't a flop at all - they just set their sights far too high. They're launching a new Kickstarter soon, with a more sensible goal, but in the meantime lead designer Chris Williamson has also put together a piece called 20 Ways To Screw Your Kickstarter Game Project. In it he acknowledges the goal was too high, and admits that perhaps keeping the project a secret until the Kickstarter's launch, so it could be "a secret", perhaps wasn't a brilliant idea. It's a fun piece (if a touch snarky in places), and possibly a useful read for others planning a go.

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About the Author
John Walker avatar

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run buried-treasure.org

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