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Kickstarter Katchup – June 2nd 2013

Katch me if you can

I've been quiet for a few weeks so this Katchup is going to be a little different. I'll add a few new projects, but I'm also looking back all the way to April 28th, when the last Katchup emerged, and checking the success or failure of every project included. That way everyone can remember why they were/weren't enchanted by Dog Sled Slaga, tell all their friends (again) about that one cool cemetery game, and then commiserate or congratulate as the fate of all is revealed. Yes, the destinies of all are contained herein - even the sad future of that one reader who is doomed to spend the summer of 2016 adapting Portal for the big screen, only to find that Chris Tucker will be providing the voice of GlaDOS and Chell is now Cypher Raige Chad Danger, played by Danny Dyer. Michael Bay directs.

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 the sound of the city outside the window.

The Winners

Unrest - Pyrodactyl Games

Goal: $3,000
Now: $18,673

Unrest is an "unconventional RPG set in ancient India", a description that immediately grabbed my attention. When I posted about the project a week ago, I wasn't sure if it would attract a great deal of interest, partly because the graphics currently displayed on the project page are a harsh comedown from the wonderful concept art. Turns out people aren't quite as shallow as I'd feared and Unrest is already a success and with some robust stretch goals already hit, the final game should look far more appealing for those who like good writing and shiny pictures.

The Kingsport Cases - Machines in Motion

Goal: $20,000

Hurrah! Procedurally generated Lovecraftian horror for all. I really like the look of The Kingsport Cases so its success is most pleasing. BUT WAIT

Kingsport Cases producer Andrew Stanek here. In a few minutes, I'm going to add the remaining 8K to the Kickstarter myself.

Oh. This was posted a few hours ago and the full update is worth reading. It's very frank, explaining why the money was withheld until now and that the $8,000 was the base from which the game would have been funded anyway. That means Machines in Motion are now a good deal short of their goal and have thrown in their savings to ensure the Kickstarter doesn't fail, leaving them with nothing to show for thirty days of community management and updating. I admire the honesty and the push to raise the extra money through alpha sales will hopefully pay off.

A Hat in Time - Gears For Breakfast

Goal: $30,000
Now: $77,584

Everybody loves a good topper or bowler, as evidenced by the rapid success of A Hat in Time. Surely people aren't throwing their money through the screen because they enjoy 'collect-a-thon platformer(s)' in the style of Nintendo 64 classics? Could there be anything else in the pitch to attract pledgers?

Time is falling apart and it is the job of the brave interstellar-travelling Hat Kid to collect all the time pieces and put them back together! But watch out, you're in a race against the evil Mustache Girl who wants to use time for evil!

Hats and lip furniture. This is the most complete game I have encountered in a good while.

Jagged Alliance: Flashback - Full Control

Goal: $350,000
Now: $368,614

I was surprised that Flashback came as close to failure as it did and would have been aghast if it had actually missed its goal. Even though Full Control's Space Hulk is still in development and I haven't played their previous games, these are developers who at least talk good turn-based tactics. I think they get it and I hope I'm correct.

Dog Sled Saga - Dan FitzGerald

Goal: $6,000
Now: $14,317

I would have been dubious as to the sense of continuing life in a world that turned its back on an adorable dog sled racing simulator, so it's a good thing that Dog Sled Saga not only raised the necessaries but sped through several stretch goals as well. It is a self-described "saga of rank climbing, reputation building, team management, and pet loving", featuring such things as a "breathtaking mountain view behind the supermarket". As well as being adorable, Dog Sled Saga also sounds like a proper challenge. The developers have drawn inspiration from many of my favourite things, including Spelunky, FTL, The Binding of Isaac, XCOM and dogs.

Welcome To Boon Hill - Matthew Ritter

Goal: $5,000
Now: $12,930

While larger games in recognisable genres are now commonplace on Kickstarter, using it as an alternative to other publishing routes, crowd-funding portals are still fertile ground for odd projects that almost certainly wouldn't receive financial backing anywhere else. Welcome to Boon Hill is an odd game, although people of a sensitive semantic disposition may prefer the term 'interactive object' or 'virtual graveyard'. Walk around for a while, read some epitaphs. Maybe mourn? The stretch goals mean that "a larger graveyard is confirmed. The main graveyard will be expanded some, and there will also be a small pet cemetery as well as a few other expanded goodies in the final game." Poor pets.

Rex Rocket - Rob Maher and Tyler Bud

Goal: $6,000
Now: $10,987

The retro puzzle-platformer was only a few dollars short of its $11,000 Linux stretch goal, so the developers have decided to embrace the penguin anyway. There will also be an old-school remix of the soundtrack:

he ship's sonic technician, Saskrotch, will re-write the background music you hear over the PA system, specifically for eons-old technology- he has informed me these relics were called the NES, Game Boy, Genesis, and SNES- and transmit a digital recording to backers at ANY level.

Beep bip boop.

Camelot Unchained - City State Entertainment

Goal: $2,000,000
Now: $2,232,933

"Camelot Unchained is a counter-revolutionary RvR-focused MMORPG from Mark Jacobs and CSE set in a post-apocalyptic yet familiar world." It's also one of the most incredible successes I've seen in some time. When I last looked, there were three days left and the project was half a million dollars short of its goal. I expected to be adding it to the loser's column three weeks ago and here I am, placing it in the other column thanks to a massive, late surge. The latest update is only for backers but there have been extensive paragraphs written on the progress since the pledgers came through.

A.N.N.E - Gamesbymo

Goal: $70,000
Now: $100,272

Calling all Walkers, all Walkers please come in. John thought A.N.N.E. looked like a dream and he will no doubt be overjoyed by its great success.

Metroidvania meets Gradius sounds like the sort of thing you could only wish for, chin leant your your interlocked fingers, elbows on the windowsill looking out into a rainy day. But by crikey, that’s what Gamesbymo are up to with A.N.N.E. A 2D pixel art hybrid of ship-flying shoot-em-up and physics puzzles, and on-foot platforming that promises Metroid-like progression.

The only bad news is that the game isn't out until March 2014.

Among the Sleep - Krillbite Studio

Goal: $200,000
Now: $248,358

Another success! Krillbite did something very clever with Among the Sleep, although I'm not sure how intentional it was. The first trailer introduced the concept - a player-controlled toddler in a surreal domestic nightmare - and created a great deal of conversation and clamour. The Kickstarter came much later, as did playable code at events. Nathan put his hands all over it:

It’s an original concept, and so far, it’s working pretty well for me. Also, the demo came to a close right as the game hit on a rather fascinating theme: imagination. Yes, things started getting crazy, but was any of it real, or is Among The Sleep only about the feeling of being a small, easily frightened child with an overactive imagination?

I can't wait to try it out myself.

Chasm - Discord Games

Goal: $150,000
Now: $191,897

One day, 'procedural generation' may become the new 'zombies', causing groans, though presumably not communicating solely by means of those groans. While I'd be sad to see the back of hand-crafted levels, I'm absolutely fascinated by the procedural Pollocks currently at work. Chasm's attempt seems more risky than most, with a plan to create 'Metroid-like' levels. That suggests something more methodical than the surprises and chaos that randomisation often offers. It's a promising project though and I look forward to seeing more.

Road Redemption - DarkSeas Games

Goal: $160,000
Now: $173,803

DarkSeas arrived, their hogs roaring and ready for the battle ahead, and people said, "oohhh, a Kickstarter campaign for a new Road Rash." It's a spiritual successor rather than a sanctioned sequel but it's as close to the original series' combo of motorcycling and mayhem as I've seen in many a year. The bikes threatened to fail before the race ended but a final push saw Darkseas tumbling over the line, scuffed and bruised, but smiling and proud. The game's a long way off (August 2014) but if the development period contains as much communication with interested parties as the campaign itself, it shoudl be an interesting ride.

The Losers

The Realm - Atomhawk Design & Lantern Interactive

Goal: £195,000
Now: £94,527

The Realm looked like the point and click adventure that Shadow of the Colossus never was. Even though that sounds like one of the best things ever, the project fell well short of its total. This isn't the end though:

The lack of US payments was a crucial factor in hurting our campaign. So we plan to relaunch the campaign later this year with a US account. Also a lot of you wanted to see some game footage so we are going to work on that too and come back stronger!

Let's hope the mighty dollar comes through.

Lex Laser Saves The Galaxy, Again - Defiant Mouse

Goal: $65,000
Now: $13,793

Lex Laser will Kickstart again, or at least that's the implication:

Obviously, we're disappointed that the campaign wasn't successful, but it's been an extremely useful experience. Game design is an iterative process. You try something, you see how it works, you think about it, and then you try again. It turns out that Kickstarter works much the same way. We're in the "thinking about it" stage now. It's clear that we need to improve our game, our pitch, and our PR. Stay tuned.

Digging through the pitch, the tactical-puzzler had appeal, but Kickstarter often relies on some form of instant appeal, or frequent communication. I reckon a second attempt could be a success.

The Players

Massive Chalice - Double Fine

Goal: $725,000
Now: $660,963
Days: 25

When Double Fine invented Kickstarter, or received the code for the website from Mt Sinai (the details are hazy), few could have predicted that even before their first crowd-funded project had been released, another would arrive. It's here and the cash is almost in hand. It also sounds superb.’s a game of two rather familiar-sounding parts: a strategic part where you – an immortal king battling an invasion of demons – manage your realm, and a turn-based battle where you handle the fighting business of your army of heroes.

Yes please.

Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet! - Alasdair Beckett-King

Goal: £15,000
Now: £7,002
Days: 26

I didn't exist when RPS emerged from Horace's nether regions (they're the parts farthest from all of his other regions) so I shall borrow John's words to describe The Fowl Fleet, which is a sequel to a game from those distant times.

Only moments after Rock, Paper, Shotgun emerged from Horace’s womb, Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy caught our eye. The 2007 AGS adventure has remained one of the favourite releases from that community, and you can still get it for free now. It’s definitely worth it – a really charming game that shows some proper adventure design chops. So I’m very pleased to see the creator is finally following it up with a full-length sequel.

The pledges are coming in strong.

Rehearsals and Returns - Peter Brinson

Goal: $3,300
Now: $2,450
Days: 26

"This videogame is about conversations that will never take place." Just like Doom then? Or maybe not. Players collect 'things to say' and then meet people that they would almost certainly never meet in their actual lives. Many of them are dead.

The core mechanic of Rehearsals and Returns involves saying something explicitly nice, mean, or wise to various people alive and dead such as Mao Tse Tung, Richard Pryor, Margaret Thatcher, The Pope, Hillary Clinton, Nikola Tesla, Leni Reifenstahl, Tiger Woods, and Rosa Parks.

I don't know how exactly it'll work but I want to know. And I want to say nice things to Nikola Tesla.

Armikrog - Pencil Test

Goal: $900,000
Now: $372,824
Days: 25

I never played The Neverhood but John is certainly excited about the idea of the band getting back together, with their claymation crafting tools in hand.

the old gang is making a brand new game, again with animation at its core. And yes, this time stop-motion point and click adventure for PC. YES PLEASE.

I may not have fondled the clay, but I did play Toonstruck. I can't remember if it was at the Roger Rabbit side of the live action/animation mashup or the shuddersomely terrible Cool World side.

Endica VII:The Dream King - Nick Ridgway

Goal: $1,400
Now: $889
Days: 28

Deja vu. Apart from the addition of a colon, The Dream King is in almost exactly the same position as it was a month ago. How can that be? Closer investigation reveals that though the current total is only a few dollars different, the relaunched Kickstarter page has a goal of $1,400 rather than the original $14,000. Nick is now doing all the work alone, cutting the budget massively. As for the game, it's still the same: a four-way co-op Mega Man inspired action game, with a large world and plot reminiscent of Symphony of Night. A playable demo is due any day now.

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