You’ll have to forgive me for delivering this week’s crowdfunding selection a day later than usual – hopefully this week’s varied selection will be more than enough to excuse tripping up! Featured this week: first person puzzler Reset, GaymerX headed adventure game Read Only Memories, arena-jousting marine-life battler Starwhal and Honored, a service that aims to give you real badges for your achievements. Meanwhile, we prematurely call time on RetroWorld, an intriguing concept we can only hope will retool and return.
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Deadline: 13 December 2013
Outlook: On target
I’m almost certainly going to live to regret mentioning that I didn’t think cyberpunk was an overused aesthetic (see my blurb on Dex, two weeks ago), but Read Only Memories already seems to be carving out a unique look for itself even within the style’s tropes of perpetual night-time and moody neon-lighting. Even at this early stage, the character designs on show look appealing subjects for the text-heavy, Snatcher inspired gameplay – the promise of a futuristic San Francisco with incidental LGBT characters in its cast ought to drive this one past its goal. Because obviously we have to travel fifty years into the future to get real-world diversity in our video games.
“Reset” according to its website, “is a single player co-op first person puzzle game with a strong emphasis on story and atmosphere”, but then, strongly emphasising story and atmosphere is kind of the first person puzzle game thing. Nevertheless, you can start to believe it already in the game’s mysterious teaser trailer. Lighting and stunning rain effects help create a mournful atmosphere in an apparently deserted sci-fi city. The prime puzzle mechanic here is the ability to rewind time – and considering the sudden time-jump at the end of the teaser, Reset could well be going to clever places with its narrative/gameplay mix.
A sort of deathmatch-focused Geometry Wars for people who’ve been chucked out of the Sea-Life centre, Starwhal has already been exhibited at various indie-arcade events in its present form. The team have gone to Kickstarter to expand it into a commercial product – finishing up the artwork for the arenas, adding a range of single and multiplayer modes, programming bots and all that good stuff. Asking little and offering a lot of pure fun, you can try a demo over at Starwhal.com right now.
Honored is a crowdfunding push for an achievement aggregation service with twist we really should have seen coming: achievements you unlock can be purchased through the service in tangible, embroidered badge form. There’s a part of me that applauds the idea. Unfortunately, it’s not the part of me that tried (and failed) to find a goofy looking, royalty free image of a boy scout for more than thirty minutes.
Missing goal (still in progress)
Having raised only $5,000, it’s pretty apparent that RetroWorld will not be funded by next Wednesday, even though at this point, Scary Pixel haven’t officially pulled the plug. Having only just become aware of the project (which is probably red flag number one), the lack of interest is a shame – the concept, if not entirely without precedent, is certainly rare and full of potential. Rather than being another game Kickstarted for nostalgia, RetroWorld makes a game of nostalgia: an Earthbound-inspired gamification of the build up and aftermath of releases in the late eighties or early nineties.
Ensuring that the parody games within RetroWorld don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of the experience, there’s an overarching narrative where the games are leaking into real-life (which is effectively a console-RPG overworld). Personally, the potential for saying something a little more satirical about gamer’s consumerist urges is something I’d be excited to see more of, but we’ll have to see what form the game takes if and when its campaign is retooled.
Previously featured campaigns
Bloom has been funded with additional language support as its first stretch goal. Project Sen and Dyscourse are both in their last 48 hours of funding: the latter has just been funded, the former won’t make it. A similar amount of time remains for Interstellaria to pursue higher stretch goals. Paws has a week left but still has 90% of its goal to scrape together. Super World Karts and Festival of Magic still need to build up some momentum. Operation Squiddershins looks likely to reach its initial goal, but a more long term cash boost for the developer will require greater exposure in the remaining 20 days.