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Memory-diving JRPG Koruldia Heritage channels the PSX's weirder side

Smug Dog is the best kind of party member

I've had half an eye on Koruldia Heritage for a while, an offbeat JRPG with a (now increasingly familiar) focus on defusing conflict within its combat scenes. Eschewing familiar aesthetics, developers Korugen feel like they're shooting for that early era of PlayStation RPGs where fresh technology made anything seem possible. The game is crowdfunding on Kickstarter and nearly past its initial goal, but £10,000 isn't much at all, so I'm hoping they hit at least one stretch goal. Take a peek at the trailer below, blending pre-rendered 3D and an unusual painterly look.

I'm not sure how much of it will be used in the game itself, but I'm a sucker for that kind of 'hey, we're on CD now' look, with 3D flybys and pans settling into position for play. I'm also curious to poke around its strange, alien and apparently metaphysical world. Memories and delving into them seems a core concept, with the bit at the end of the trailer switching to classic 16-bit style as the player character delves into someone's hazy recollections. Liquid data and memories being banked as experience points seem like fun concepts too, and I hope they're built on well.

It feels like Korugen are drawing from an unusual set of inspirations for the game. They describe the player's progression through the world as Metroidvania-inspired, with some dungeons free to be tackled in any order. Interestingly, Koruldia appears to have started life as a Pokemon fan-game many years ago, although looking at some twelve-year-old screenshots, there's little similarity between that early concept and the game now. The fact that the developers have had the passion to keep the project going (and changing) over a decade is good to see in a crowdfunded game.

The Koruldia Heritage Kickstarter is over 80% funded and quite early on, but the developers have some big stretch goals in mind. £12 gets you a copy of the game once it's finished, although that September 2020 estimate might stretch a bit further out if they raise enough money to double the planned length. You can find more info on the game's official page here.

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