This week in gaming crowdfunding: Festival of Magic brings a little JRPG style to Wii U and PC, Operation Squiddershins attempts to save a talented young man from pizza-related obscurity and Super World Karts GP concludes that mode 7 rendering wasn’t an evolutionary dead end. Meanwhile, there’s positive funding news for Interstellaria but more New Car Game fails to secure funding.
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Already greenlit on Steam, the appealingly rendered Festival of Magic sounds like a comfortable old-sweater of a game for anyone who spent the late 90s and early 00s enjoying the boom of JRPGs on the home consoles. The story sounds like typical RPG fare – a young male hero, a girl with magical powers, a village set aflame by a powerful warlock who must be tracked down with a diverse group of misfit party members – and this is by no means a bad thing.
Festival of Magic is even cosily familiar when it’s differentiating itself – parties are made up of warrior/protector pairs, consumables are farmed on an island also used for character progression – because ultimately, the one thing you always expect console RPGs to do to differentiate themselves is to switch up their combat and levelling systems. Considering the dearth of similar games, not to mention the fact that the team are targeting release on Wii U alongside the usual PC/Mac/Linux trinity, there’s a pretty good chance that this one will find its audience sooner rather than later.
Goal: $1,000 with long-term stretch goals
Deadline: 25 December 2013
Outlook: On target for lower stretch goals
Indie dev team Squiddershins has a bunch of quirky sounding game ideas in the pipeline, but the real world is currently getting in the way. Artist and animator Jason Boyer is currently stuck making pizzas at Costco, and a little crowdfunding magic (err, money) could free him and the games he and the team are working on. The more money that’s raised, the quicker we see games like Merrily Perily (“a severely dehydrated man stumbles into a remote village in search of help, but the inhabitants respond with strange detachment to [his] trouble”) and System Critical (a “reverse RPG” where you play a robot who loses power as the game progresses).
A recurrent theme in indie gaming is the revisiting of old rendering styles – the isometric perspective of millenial RPGs, the minimalist platformers that ape Spectrum-era graphics and the many adventure games resurrecting the style of the genre’s golden age. What you tend to see less of is a return to transitionary tech from the early to mid 90s: 2.5D dungeons a la’ Doom, photographed sprites in the style of Mortal Kombat or low-fidelity 3D character models.
Super World Karts GP takes the ‘mode 7’ rendering effect – common in faux-3D SNES racers such as Mario Kart and F-Zero and decides to dust it off. While nostalgia is part of the motivation behind making such a game, mode 7 racing games have an distinct ‘feel’ that extends beyond the aesthetic – and SWKGP‘s use of motion control challenges the idea that we’ve exhausted every idea in the form.
Funded (Still in Progress)
Hearing that Chipzel, (she of Super Hexagon fame) is behind the music for this one was probably enough incentive to bump the project past its modest initial goal. However, Interstellaria sounds intriguing in concept too – a space exploration game with a massive universe of individually crafted planets to explore. Between worlds you’ll manage the needs of your crew while maintaining your spaceship and fending off alien attacks – a style of game most recently reminiscent of FTL, that has its roots in Starflight and Star Control. Once you arrive on world, however, you’ll be able to take your captain on metroidvania-style away missions. Stretch goals will continue to expand the scope of the game as well as the already fantastic soundtrack.
This week’s premature cancellation comes in the form of Bugbear’s somewhat riskily titled Next Car Game. The title of the game was supposed to be picked by backers, but not even attempting to come up with a name (or suggesting candidate names) may have been seen as a negative. Still, the problems here may be outside of the kickstarter pitch, which, name aside, is largely a strong one. The market for racing games is hostile and shrinking. You just need to look back to 2010 and the loss of Bizarre Creations and Black Rock Studio immediately after Blur and Split/Second to see that there isn’t much room for even the most innovative racers. Nevertheless, Bugbear Inc. are still continuing work on Next Car Game and are hoping to have a little more success with their pre-order campaign.
Previously featured campaigns
After weeks of looking a little touch and go, The Mandate has reached its $500,000 goal – four days remain for stretch goals. Dex has reached its far more modest funding target with two weeks to go. Secrets of Raetikon raised $13,612 with its open alpha. Bloom is still on target but Project Sen, Dyscourse and Paws may be in trouble.