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Kickstarter Katchup - April 1st 2013

Happy Chocolate Eggsmas

I haven't eaten a single chocolate egg in the last twenty four hours, which would normally be an acceptable dietary state, but with this being the extended weekend of confeggtionary rabbit worship, I'm a little bit upset that nobody bought me a big Smarties egg. There's nothing like a tube of Smarties to make me feel like a kid again. Some crispy chocolate buttons, a few episodes of Button Moon and a glass of Tizer. Right, that's my annual product placement commitment out of the way and hopefully I'll be receiving a batch of shop-soiled Smarties eggs any day now. On with the Katchup.

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!
  • Instead of a comical reworking of a silly rule, here's the album I was listening to while finishing off the Katchup. It's Amygdala - DJ Koze.

The Winners

Battle Worlds: Kronos - KING Art Games

Goal: $120,000
Now: $146,403

I spoke to KING Art about Battle Worlds and their decision to turn to crowdfunding and, even as we spoke, it seemed clear that the campaign would be a success. Battle Worlds is one of the most appealing turn-based strategy games that I've spotted in the last few months and with almost a month left on the Kickstarter clock, the team aren't giving up on their ambitious stretch goals. Updates are scheduled to arrive regularly and there are three targets to hit, two of which add new content. The third, at $360,000, would introduce what sounds very much like a dynamic campaign mode.

LogicBots - Incandescent Games

Goal: £5,000
Now: £5,892

LogicBots is a puzzle game in which the player programs robots to solve problems rather than interacting directly with the elements of the field themselves. With a small target and an exceptionally well-run campaign, including a playable demo, the final week saw the total more than double and brought success.

Super Ubi Land - Notion Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $5,360

Super Ubi Land should be out by late summer and I've developed a soft spot for the pleasant little platformer. A demo should be released shortly and as well as watching the Kickstarter page, it might be worth turning attention to Notion Games' blog for future updates.

The Losers

The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death - Autoloot

Goal: £80,000
Now: £5,858

Funding for this isometric, turn-based RPG was cancelled almost immediately after inclusion in the Katchup last week but the two events are unrelated, I assure you. The team will be returning with a new campaign in May, with PR support and a clearer message as to what distinguishes Dark Triad from other fantasy CRPGs.

Shackleton Crater - Joe Got Game

Goal: $700,000
Now: $27,460

When a project is hunting for more than half a million dollars, it needs a strong start to its crowdfunding campaign and Shackleton Crater has struggled. The project was cancelled last week:

As part of the feedback we received from everyone we realize that additional gameplay and game details are needed to effectively communicate our product. Our dream of creating Shackleton Crater has not diminished, so we plan to continue our development efforts to provide this detail. Additionally we plan to pursue other opportunities to develop and publish our game.

The Golem - Moonbot Studios

Goal: $750,000
Now: $96,128

The Golem that Guillermo del Toro is sort of helping to build will be looking elsewhere for funding:

So here is the plan: we are still going to make the game. Doors are opening for us and we’re securing funding from a more traditional source. However, we still want to make this game with your help. We’re going to launch our production blog so we can stay in touch with you and keep getting great advice along the way. It'll be public so anyone can help out.

The Players

Bik - Mike Pinto

Goal: $12,000
Now: $3,802
Days: 13

Bik is a pixel-art adventure game built on a love of classic Lucasarts and Sierra point and clickers, and a jazz soundtrack. Developer Mike Pinto is a jazz musician and teacher who enlisted artist Neil Numberman to design his latest album artwork, using retro game influences.

When I saw Neil’s first pieces of art and how perfectly they fit with my compositions, the world of Bik was born. I had no choice but to turn the idea into a full-on video game.

A demo is available and you can also check out Mike's music online.

Ritual Dementia - Sithog

Goal: $7,000
Now: $5,609
Days: 3

If you listen closely you'll be able to hear the sound of a man kicking himself. That man is me and the reason for this drastic display of self-punishment is Ritual Dementia: The Revenge. The project had a previous run at Kickstarter and fell short of its goal and I'd vowed to watch for its return and it's only now that I've noticed it, with three days left before the campaign ends. It's a deliriously strange game, containing horror, open world exploration, inheritance and genetic manipulation. I think it's being beamed to us from the dimension where Ice Pick Lodge reside.

APB: Vendetta - Reloaded Productions

Goal: $300,000
Now: $12,866
Days: 29

I've never played APB and I actually thought this Kickstarter campaign was aiming to fund a relaunch of the original game, which I didn't realise had gone free to play. This makes me a terrible newsperson, I know, but I'll do my best to describe what APB: Vendetta actually is by copying and pasting some words from the Kickstarter page:

APB Vendetta is a character-driven extreme mobility competitive shooter, inspired by the APB Reloaded universe, built on an entirely new high-agility game system featuring; extreme movement mechanics, melee combat, dual wield weapons, character-specific finishing moves, a fighting-game ethos, customizable private servers, modding tools and an upgraded game engine using the latest (2013) version of Unreal3.

Is it The Specialists mod, then, except with more hairstyles? It's a 'buy-to-play' game, which means it's just 'a game' - "players receive all guns, characters and game affecting items upfront, with optional monthly server rentals for on-demand managed and modded servers."

Contract Work - Iterative Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $3,632
Days: 9

I've played the browser demo for Contract Work and from what I can gather, it's a 2d side-scrolling ARPG of sorts with a cyberpunk vibe, hacking and lots of robots. You can play the demo here or learn more about the game at the Kickstarter page:

Take the best retro shooters like Megaman and Contra, mix with the character development of System Shock 2 or Deus Ex and place that in a gritty cyberpunk world like Akira or Ghost in the Shell. The result is Contract Work.

Pixelry - Evelend Games

Goal: £23,000
Now: £2,261
Days: 16

I played the current version of Pixelry a few weeks ago and found it to be a simple and entertaining jousting RPG. This hugely updated version adds more than most sequels and should be a polished pixel game in the same sort of battling roleplay genre as Swords and Sandals. I can't help but notice that the quote from me on Pixelry's campaign page is a lot like a shrug in word form. I really was enjoying myself though!

Watch on YouTube

Netherworld - Martin Ziegler

Goal: £7,500
Now: £5
Days: 31

Martin Ziegler has abused the spirit of Easter Sunday by cannily recognising yesterday's lack of Katchup and surmising that his project, which launched on Indiegogo today, may qualify as a late entrant. Very wise. And sentences like this are a surefire method of grabbing my attention:

"'s an abstract exploration roguelike with a very open-ended tactical combat, and in which you can construct your own spells. Think FTL meets Magicka in a somewhat Björk universe."

It's a hugely intriguing project and I advise anyone who liked any of the words in that quote to take a look. The reason there's only a fiver pledged (at the time of writing) is that the campaign has only just launched.

Watch on YouTube

Divinity: Original Sin - Larian Studios

Goal: $400,000
Now: $244,538
Days: 25

Original Sin has had a huge opening week and I'm certainly looking forward to the game. It's an odd Kickstarter in some ways but of a type that may well become more common. Larian have been working on the game for a long time and are now seeking extra funding to spend more time adding content now that the systems are in place. I've already played the current build and came away mightily impressed; it's an RPG built around a world that reacts and caters to the player's decisions constantly and in the moment rather than having several large turning points.

Guns Of Icarus Online: Adventure Mode - Muse Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $44,303
Days: 50

Guns of Icarus' adventure mode will see the game moving in an entirely new direction, away from the contained multiplayer battles and into a persistent world with towns that develop and change depending on player action, factions, trading, politics and an AI director. Muse Games are Kickstarter veterans, having received 350% of the requested funds for the original Guns of Icarus Online, and this promises to be another well-oiled campaign, with biweekly video updates planned.

Consortium - Interdimensional Games

Goal: $50,000
Now: $32,445
Days: 17

If you're wondering exactly how a sci-fi RPG that is heavily steeped in metafictional explorations might actually play, you can read my thoughts on the game's opening. Being occasionally slow on the uptake, I hadn't latched on to the fact that Consortium is cut from the same cloth as single location adventures like Gone Home and Anna, although in Consortium's case the location is mobile and populated.

Planet Explorers - Pathea Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $45,780
Days: 20

When I first became aware of Planet Explorers, it led to dreams of a game that combined the crafting and exploration of Minecraft with the user-generated creature and vehicle database of Spore. That wasn't the game that Pathea had described but it was tantalisingly close and the latest video, which Craig looked at last week, re-tantalises.

The Gallery: Six Elements - CloudHead Games

Goal: $65,000
Now: $27,100
Days: 15

The Gallery is an "immersive first-person adventure" set in a series of painted worlds. Since the beginning, Oculus Rift support has been been a prominent part of the campaign and the latest update details that and other control methods.

Something Fragile - Happy Badger Studio

Goal: $18,000
Now: $4,767
Days: 24

It can be quite difficult counting the graphics in some games, particularly the likes of Crysis. It's a task that requires far more than the trusty RPS steam-abacus, a device that can calculate the sum of enormous figures but only when powered by fuels so foul as to contravene all manner of international laws. The graphics in artistic puzzler Something Fragile are all hand-crafted though, which should make the counting easy enough.

Strategizer: Art Of Defense - White Titan Games

Goal: £10,000
Now: £7,812
Days: 3

This base-building RTS has a good chance of making its goal even though the campaign is coming down to the wire. It's definitely not a tower defence game, but rather a full-fat RTS that throws the player behind enemy lines and asks them to build defenses.

Over your journey, build bigger and better bases, defend with more advanced weapons, call in air support, super turrets, and alien technology. Research new equipment, travel to new worlds with new dangers, and earn medals for completeing missions and secondary objectives.

Humans Must Answer - Sumom Games

Goal: £5,000
Now: £2,466
Days: 10

I'm surprised Humans Must Answer hasn't hit its target yet. The demo is enjoyable, the protagonists are angry space chickens and there aren't enough side-scrolling space shooters around. Even if the campaign fails, the game will be released = the five grand is for final stretch polish.

Pulse - Team Pixel Pi

Goal: $75,000
Now: $25,362
Days: 18

I think somebody must have spilled molasses into the workings of Kickstarter this week. Here's another project stuck around the twenty five thousand dollar mark. Pulse is a first-person adventure in which sound is used to 'reveal the world'. The prototype is interesting but more updates, with more details, could help to push the project through the mid-term slump. That said, the developers are heading to GDC, where they are finalists in the IGF. Hopefully that'll bring some attention to their work.

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