Kickstarter Games Roundup – May 2018

Looking for some great projects to support on Kickstarter but don’t know where to… kickstart your search? (I apologize for nothing). Here are 5 standouts from this month that you still have some time left to get in on. Some of them I like, some I don’t, but here are the top 5 games being funded this month:

198X

This game looks really interesting. Essentially, the premise is that it’s a series of games within a game — you go to a virtual 80s style arcade and play all sorts of 80s style arcade games there.

“For every visit to the arcade – every game uncovered, every move mastered, every demon defeated – Kid grows stronger. And the lines between game and reality starts to blur…”

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It’s got that 2018-meets-1980 aesthetic vibe of things like Atomic Blonde and Stranger Things, and frankly, it looks great. The arcade itself has a Final Fight style beat-em-up, a Gradius-style shmup, a racing game, an RPG and a ninja platformer, all wrapped up inside of what seems to be an old school adventure game style narrative.

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The concept is fresh, the art style is fresh, the execution looks good, and I’m excited about it. Donate to their Kickstarter here.

Steamboat Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan

Steamboat Billy is a pretty easy game to describe. It’s an SNES Zelda game with the art style of Cuphead. Boom. Done. Normally I don’t care much for indie games that basically take two beloved and creative things and make a mashup, but as far as mashups go, that’s a pretty good one.

The 1920s animation is a cool aesthetic and it breaks up the monotonous, endless sea of pixel art games, metroidvanias and the dreaded pixel art metroidvanias, so at least it’s following a trend that’s not yet vomit-inducingly oversaturated. It seems to be well-executed, also.

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The indie games scene doesn’t really need another Zelda clone but, sure, whatever, why not. The premise is basically to restore color to the world which I like as a concept. It’s quite… colorful. (Once again, I apologize for nothing). It also reminds me of The Giver, which gets plus points from me.

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It boasts a bunch of media endorsements which is… well, really fucking stupid, frankly, and it makes me like it less. 1) It makes it seem less indie and more something big companies want to shove down my throat; 2) these are the same geniuses who thought Celeste was the best game of the year, a game that is more emblematic of tired, incestuous, horrible-to-begin-with indie tropes and trends than any fictional strawman I could imagine; 3) the game isn’t out or finished, so how could these outlets possibly have the knowledge required to make an informed recommendation?

Anyway, it seems well done, fun and enjoyable, if not extremely derivative. You can check out Steamboat Billy here.

Life of Delta

Life of Delta is a charming little narrative adventure game with a Wall-E kind of vibe by Airo Games. It takes place in post-apocalyptic Japan and creates an atmosphere that has a lot of life and personality, with beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds, neat character designs, and all sorts of interesting NPCs.

The story seems cute and interesting. It’s about Delta’s search for his father, who suddenly disappears. I assume we learn quite a bit about the mysteries of what caused this post-apocalyptic Japanese wasteland, how it came to be full of robots and pig-men, and the importance of Delta’s father.

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The bulk of the gameplay revolves around a variety of Myst style minigames, which is great. They seem to have a decent variety as well.

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Looking forward to this one. Check it out here. It’s right at the start of its funding cycle, but it looks like it’s on track to reach its goal.

Grimshade

Grimshade is a jRPG fashioned in that 80s animation style that’s becoming pretty popular in the indie scene, as seen in other games like Banner Saga, Pyre and Griftlands. Honestly, I like it, I think it looks great, and, like the 1920s animation style, still feels very fresh. Not only that, it fits the setting well, because the nostalgia from this art style, for me, comes straight from the animated version of The Hobbit.

Promises aside, from the production quality of the trailer alone, I can tell that the story is a priority to this studio and it’s going to be a highly stylized experience with a lot of atmosphere. Which I love. A lot of the time, when I play a story-based game with a poor story, I’m like… what was the point of all this? Luckily, my instincts on this have been pretty good so far. Pyre gave me the same vibe and the story in that did end up being very engaging… well, despite the… twist.

The environments look quite nice, and the game itself looks very nice in motion.

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In terms of gameplay, it has a turn based gameplay that seems to take cues from the Final Fantasy 10 battle system which is a great decision — as far as turn based RPGs battles go, it’s hard to find a better example to take influence from. It’s also got a very intriguing upgrade system — it’s not about character stats, but about equipping the right tools for the job at hand. Always be prepared. Like a Boy Scout. Or, uh, wait, a gender neutral outdoor enthusiast club for kids. Nah, more like a Boy Scout.

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So get your wits about you and rise from the ranks of lowly cub scout to epic eagle scout in this stylish, well constructed new indie jRPG. Also there’s a badger with a gun.

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Check it out here.

Project Sense

Billed as a cyberpunk ghost story, it’s basically Blade Runner, but instead of replicants, ghosts. It’s got that same 80s inspired cyberpunk aesthetic as in 198X (the first game I talked about in this article, if you recall). What really draws me to this game, though, is the story.

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The concept of the story sounds cool to me. It takes place in Hong Kong and the description mentions taking a lot of influence from Chinese folklore, which is definitely something I’m down to get more exposure to. More than that, the narrative structure they describe is pretty engaging. I’ll use their own words:

“Under the neon lights of a cyperpunk dystopia, the ruins of the ‘Chong Sing Apartments’ hides a bloody mystery illuminated by both the traditions of Chinese folklore and the innovations of the industrial future. If there is any hope of escaping this nightmare, Mei-Lin must explore this complex, piecing together the stories of 14 lost souls, and discover the truth of her own family curse.”

I really like the idea of a vignetted narrative about several unrelated characters that ties into a larger, overarching plot. It reminds me a lot of Valkyrie Profile or, in a lesser sense, Mass Effect 2.

You play as Mei Lin Mak, who seems to be based on the useless X-Man, Jubilee, with some, uh, enhancements.

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Cybernetic vision is very important for ghost hunting

The story seems interesting, the world appears to be atmospheric, and it seems to have that old-school adventure game style of gameplay where you can accidentally kill yourself in a variety of random and enjoyable ways.

Check out Project Sense here.

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