Crowdfunding reigns supreme in the world of indie development, and there are a ton of great games that need a little extra cash to make it to launch. Each month, we’ll take a look at five Kickstarter campaigns that look particularly interesting. Without further ado, here’s February’s lineup.
If you were a fan of Thomas Brush (creator of Pinstripe -- a stunning, story-driven adventure game about an ex-priest traveling through hell to save his daughter) he’s baaaack. Once Upon a Coma is his latest project, and it looks absolutely amazing. It’s the sequel to Coma, a game he created just for fun almost ten years ago. Pete is a boy who awakens from a coma only to find himself in a surreal, nightmare world with no parents. For those who have played Pinstripe, you already know you’re in for an aesthetically pleasing trip. One of the more interesting elements of the game is the need to master the game’s gorgeous soundtrack by way of learning new songs on the piano.
Even if you don’t support the campaign, take a moment to check out the Kickstarter trailer. Thomas’s story is one that all creators (myself included) can relate to. Check out the Once Upon a Coma demo on Game Jolt, and you can also play Coma for free.
My sister studied marine environmental management in England before heading to Thailand to do some extended research, so when I read the premise of In Other Waters, I got excited. Created by Gareth Damian Martin, Ellery is a stranded biologist who stumbles across an alien ocean after the disappearance of her partner. In this exploration game, you the player are the AI system that helps guide Ellery through the ocean’s depths. Your task is to help her discover and classify life forms, explore a foreign ocean, and collect materials to survive. The decisions you make affect the direction of the game and the success of your expedition. As you dive deeper into the ocean, there are secrets to uncover and your relationship with Ellery can be put at risk.
The color palette of this game is pleasing to the eye, and there are design-focused perks available. Supporters can gain access to artbooks, the soundtrack, and limited edition prints among a host of other things. You can play the In Other Waters demo on Itch.io.
I like old things like manual typewriters, writing letters by hand and classic movies. As such, I have a love for retro-style games -- particularly those created with pixel art. Hungry Pixel’s game NetherWorld is a combination of all the things I’d want in a game. Definitely made for mature audiences, this side-scrolling adventure starts when your wife “abandons you for a creature with longer tentacles.” (Stifles a giggle.) You’ll fight your way through a sinister world armed with booze, flamethrowers and swords as you meet strange NPCs and explore the darkest depths of the NetherWorld. If the horror-flecked art doesn’t get you, then it looks like the crazy narrative and creepy bosses will.
If dark, surreal and story-driven is your perfect gaming cocktail, this is a project you won’t want to miss. Head over to Kickstarter and help this two-person dev team reach their goal.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a deep affection for dark and surreal games. Needless to say, Unleashed caught my eye. Inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy and Pokemon, Unleashed is a revenge tale that explores the dark corners of a cursed world through the eyes of a young woman who’s fed up. With strategic, turn-based battles, an open world, and sandbox elements, this game is a mashup of the traits you love in an RPG. You’ll summon fragments of the human soul, called Achivaras, to fight for you and make your way across a massive world that contains more than 250 maps to explore. The storyline is deep and full of lore you’ll only find in this fantastically dark universe.
Campaign backers can receive game swag, access to the alpha or design a custom NPC. You can download the Unleashed demo from the game’s Kickstarter page.
Polymorph Games presents a gridless medieval city builder sim. Gridless. That means you can plop down whatever you want, wherever you want without having to make your universe fit into tiny little squares. Apart from that, Foundation has a lot of other twists on classic city-builders, such as a personality mechanic where the decisions you make affect your relationship with the Clergy, the Nobility and the Peasantry. Create sprawling cities that weave around and through nature, expand your lands and prosper. If that’s not enough for you, there will also be full mod support for the community where players can create their own characters, buildings, quests and events -- perks of the devs using a custom-made game engine to support the game.
As a huge fan of Pharaoh and SimCity, Foundation is a game you’ll want to keep your eye on. If you want in on an early beta and a bunch of other perks, it’s not too late to support this campaign.
That's it for this round, folks! Stay tuned for March's selections and feel free to drop your favorite video game Kickstarter campaigns in the comments below!