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Kickstarter Katchup - 6th October 2012


It's glum in the Katchup this week and I've been spending most of this fine Saturday morning wiping the tears from my eyes with a twenty pound note. If only I'd pledged it to the promise of a game instead of using it as a handkerchief for all these long months. If only! Two of my personal favourites have fallen by the wayside and there's only one winner, although it is an interesting one by virtue of not being an obvious success story, powered to victory by the presence of a celebrity developer. There are a few projects on the verge of success and if I were writing this on Monday, the 'Winners' column would probably be much more satisfactorily populated.

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.
  • 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.
  • If the Katchup kabin depressurises during flight, please cling to the person in the neighbouring seat and whimper like a dog in a war.

The Winners

Chris Taylor's Arakion - Chris Taylor

$10,000 over its $25,000 target with a few hours to go, the first-person RPG is this week's only winner. It's been an impressive run and with no obvious springboard for success (name, history, massive coverage), Arakion seems to have succeeded simply by being a thing that people wanted, with a developer who has communicated well and often. It's hard to pinpoint the outstanding feature that sparked peoples' imaginations and peeled open their wallets, and maybe that's the conclusion to take fro, Arakion. Be detailed, be modest, be a winner.

The Losers

Pro Pinball: Revived & Remastered - Silverball Studios

The age of pinball has come to an end. It's disappointing that the beautifully rendered and constructed Pro Pinball tables won't be receiving a jolly good remastering and a new companion, but the $400,000 target always seemed high and final pledges were less than half of that. There have been some successful pinball games in recent times, most notably perhaps Pinball FX 2 with its Marvel license and unreal but enjoyable tables. Then there's Pinball Hall of Fame, which is apparently ready for a PC release under the title The Pinball Arcade. It's currently on Steam Greenlight. Just sell it to us direct, Farsight, many of us clamour for its recreations of the tables of ancient times (the 20th century).

Pangenic - The Dada Factory

I guess nobody wants a turn-based tactical tale of conflict between unnatural horrors and Victorian scientists. Or maybe they want just that but from an established developer, or with better proof of concept videos, or a playable alpha...or something. As a concept, Pangenic was ticking so many of my boxes that I had to order a new set of boxes for it to tick. Ideas, so it goes, are the easy part and it's the execution of those ideas that forms the real test. The Dada Factory plan to continue work, although progress will be slower, and you can follow them at their development blog. Best of luck to them and I'll check in on Pangenic at a later date.

The Players

Monsters! - Zenas Bellace

Goal: $4,000
Now: $2,689
Days: 11

I'd probably follow a man called Zenas Bellace into war, but would I pledge money toward his dream to create a RoboTron style shooter about a wizard and some pesky MONSTERS! Ten dollars secures a copy of the game when it's complete, which should be in a few months, and strong progress toward the $4,000 goal has already been made. The pixel art and chiptune soundtrack will probably make some people tip over their desks and froth at the mouth, but I think they're utterly charming. The game apparently plays much like RoboTron 2084 but encourages even more killing by having the wizard's attack drain his own life. The only way to get it back? Murder and devour the hearts of monsters. I don't think you're necessarily actually devouring them but, hey, I grew up playing Blood. I'm damaged.

Sword of Fargoal 2 - Fargoal, LLC

Goal: $50,000
Now: $24,272
Days: 7

The Fargoal team are running a fantastic Kickstarter, with frequent updates, intriguing rewards and a fine heritage. All those modern indie platformers with pixellated graphics? Pah! This is the most retro Kickstarter of all, as proved by the new Retro award tier. It's achingly expensive at $1,000 but includes a Commodore 64 and a copy of the original Sword of Fargoal on floppy disk. No monitor, as not enough could be located, but a TV cable can be purchased to play C64 games on the biggest of screens. There are also plans for a Fargoal boardgame. Lovely.

Scrumbleship - dirkson

Goal: $8,000
Now: $6,767
Days: 11

Multiplayer space simultation Scrumbleship is another project that came close to meeting its target this week. It's a voxel-based ship builder with an incredible degree of promised customisation:

Want to build a granite mothership with dozens of fighters? You can do that.
A spinning battleship with a three meter thick titanium hull? Sure, that too.
A butter asteroid-tug than melts whenever you turn on the engines? Of course!

Of course! The $12,000 stretch goal will see AI ships added, otherwise it's a multiplayer affair.

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken - HD Interactive/Most Wanted Ent

Goal: $650,000 goal
Now: $90,059
Days: 22

Nexus 2 will have to cross great space-leagues to reach its goal and while calling $70,000 in a week slow progress is madness, there's going to have to be a big push at some point to reach the massive target. The Gods Awaken is the sequel to much-loved tactical space combat simulator The Jupiter Incident and it's created a fair amount of excitement, but that doesn't guarantee victory. A recent Q&A on Reddit might shed some more light on the development process and aims. There's much more discussion of how to build a head of steam for the Kickstarter itself than of the actual game, but there's some information on possible content and post-release support.

Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages - Ring Runner

Goal: $12,000
Now: $9,671
Days: 37

I thought Ring Runner might hit its target at some point in the last seven days and it came close but there's still a little work to be done. With an alpha demo already available, it's a Kickstarter that you can believe in. Whether you want to believe in a top-down space shooter RPG with more than 65 customisable ships, a 20-hour plus campaign and local coop is entirely up to you, but I reckon it's a better thing to put your faith in than the existence of bum-probing aliens.

Blackspace - PixelFoundry

Goal: $350,000
Now: $111,826
Days: 12

Blackspace's destructible asteroids, mining, strategising and defending haven't been enough to provide the sort of surge that would propel it toward the $350,000 goal. Many people have voiced concern that the game might be naught more than a tower defense kind of thing, with interesting technology but no defining play mechanics. A recent update has this to say on the matter:

The story will be semi-linear with bonus/side missions provided along the way. There also may be a sandbox mode that allows you to choose to either follow the story missions or stray off the path and simply explore the asteroids. Additionally a skirmish mode will be available for honing skills and comparing stats. Much is yet to be determined and a lot will be guided by future play tests.

More details here.

MORE - IdeaLcenter

Goal: $50,000
Now: $44,416
Days: 22

There's little new to report on the self-proclaimed "worthy successor to the classic space strategy turn games". Still no sign of the video updates that have been talked about but it'd be a huge surprise if this doesn't make it. I don't really see much to make it stand out from any other attempt to revive the glory days of Master of Orion 2, which isn't to say it doesn't have those things, but I do want it to succeed just so that I can post it in the winners column and say: "Please, sir, can I have some MORE?" "Yes you can! In a few months time."

Devil's Cove Adventure Game - Anarchy Enterprises

Goal: $185,000
Now: $3,037
Days: 25

Anarchy Enterprises have made lots of games, and the majority would be labelled 'casual games' by many a man. Hidden object hunts, basic browser-based tycoon games and the like. Presumably, their attempt to Kickstart a more traditional point and click adventure speaks, at least a little, of an inability to gather the more extensive funding required to make a game of this type. Whatever the purse that funds the development of the rest, this dark mystery set in a cursed town requires the assistance of you, the public, and much of your money. $15 is the minimum pledge for a copy of the game and the video shows off a fair bit of the environmental and character design.

Papier Adventure - Spycraft Studios

Goal: $140,000
Now: $11,084
Days: 6

Papier has a complex 3D engine and support for all devices (Windows, Mac, iOS iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android mobile phones and tablets, and Linux), so it probably will cost quite a bit to complete. The paper aesthetic doesn't come cheap, not like actual paper, and the target isn't any steeper than I'd expect for a full-scale adventure in this style. With no famous name attached and updates that are more about the engine and camera as story or character, Papier is crumpling before our eyes. I'd need to see evidence of a world I can fall in love with to get on board with this.

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