In our weekly run-down of the crowdfunding efforts you should be watching – Metroidvania sequel La Mulana 2 may herald a new wave of Japanese indies taking to Kickstarter; fight your way out of Hades in Olympia Rising; ponder the consequences of touch screen control in virtual pet poop-scooper, Pakka Pets; and guess the gameplay innovation in Cradle.
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Previously featured campaigns
- Since our last update, Project Rain World has passed its $25,000 goal by a wide margin. With three weeks to go, further funding will help hire a programmer who can move the project over the Unity engine – with a Linux port as a consequence
- Unsung Story continues to trend on target, though not quite with the ferocity that it displayed last week. Playdek have overhauled their entire stretch goal structure, however – slashing about a million dollars off of PS Vita and 3DS ports, adding a PS4 goal and hiring Hitoshi Sakimoto for less
- New Orbit sadly looks set to fail. Below Kryll is 7 days closer to its end date, and no closer to its goal. Sierra Ops is a third of the way to its goal with 32 days left
Deadline: 23 February 2014
Outlook: At half of its goal in a day, but with stretch goals all the way up to $2.7 million.
In the wake of last week’s Yasumi Matsuno project (Unsung Story) and last year’s high profile Keiji Inafune effort (Mighty No. 9), we can perhaps expect to see more Japanese developers from outside the triple-A industry seeking funding for their projects. It’s an exciting prospect – Japan has a thriving but isolated independent scene, and the last decade has seen a small but consistently interesting trickle of titles localised for English speaking audiences.
The original La-Mulana brought to mind another Japanese self-publishing success, Cave Story: a somewhat non-linear Metroidvania that is a homage to early gaming (specifically, the MSX) without being too limited by its nostalgia.
The La-Mulana 2 pitch is essentially more of the same from the same team (Nigoro, with localisation support from Playism), of course. Nevertheless, Nigoro views the series as a chance to answer the question “what if 2D gameplay kept evolving?”. One of the core promises is that the system of riddles and traps from the first game will be overhauled – though I wouldn’t go expecting them to become less difficult.
Deadline: 15 February 2014
Outlook: Trending slightly below target.
An 8-bit platform-adventure based on Greek mythology is probably some kind of retro-singularity, and it’s true that in a world of similar 8-to-16-bit aesthetics, Olympia Rising may have struck upon one of the few remaining unique inspirations. Sure, this isn’t the first we’ve seen of purple-hued caves, but even the fact we’re fighting upwards and towards the surface seems encouraging.
As with a lot of these projects, the appeal increases exponentially as you see it in motion – check the project page for a video showcasing some encouraging-looking magical combat, a neat combo-system, and some familiar boss characters.
Deadline: 6 February 2014
Outlook: On target
Pakka Pets aims to mash Tamagotchi together with Pokemon to create the definitive mobile virtual pet game. Mind you, all I can remember about the month that Tamagotchi was popular was all the digi-doo cleaning, and I can’t help but think that the miracle of capacitive touch may not improve that aspect of the experience.
Pakka Pets offers a wide array of adorable little pixelated monsters with a complex web of evolutions. We’ve seen light-hearted mobile games struggle with funding before in the round-up, but Pakka Pets only has 20% of its funding left to find after one generous backer dropped $10,000 on the top-most tier. As cute as the game is, the pledge utterly perplexes me, but then I’m not sure I fully understand the concept of having $10,000 to spend on anything, anyway, so who am I to judge?
Deadline: 21 February 2013
Outlook: Hasn’t really took off yet, but currently trending above the goal with plenty of time left.
Cradle is a stunning looking, CryEngine-powered first person adventure game that goes heavy on the concept artwork on its pitch page, trusting that you’ll scroll all the way to the bottom or watch the video to see something actually working in the game’s engine.
This is a shame, because when you miss that stuff, it’s really easy to get the impression that this is yet another little team biting off more than it can chew. Perhaps I’m being hypercritical, but whenever I see the words ‘unique’ and ‘fantasy’ conjoined (whenever are they not?), I’m in danger of tuning out.
Similarly disconcerting are promises of a “one-of-a-kind combat system […] driven by your intent and purpose”. If it’s possible to find out what on earth that actually means, it hasn’t been added to the pitch page yet – here’s hoping that it’ll be a detail picked up in forthcoming updates, because artistically at least, there’s a lot to like here.