One of my favorite movies to watch and talk about is Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.” The film has great animation, interesting themes, incredible atmosphere, and some very memorable characters. I know people debate as to whether Nausicaä is a great character or not, due to her acting like she is holier than everyone, but I still enjoy the movie very much, and for one of his first films to direct, I think it still holds up. Now then, why am I talking about a movie by one of the world’s great animation directors? Because today’s Kickstarter Shout-out is about a game that has the same vibe as “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.” Let us dive right into Aegis Defenders, and see why this game gets my Kickstarter Shout-out!
Aegis Defenders is about two characters. The first character is an old man named Bart, who is an engineer, and the second character is his granddaughter, Clu, a hunter. They explore the land of Elam that was destroyed by a robotic demi-god known as Shem. After many years of resting, Shem is once again, wanting to expand his domain, and it is up to Bart and Clu to find an ancient relic known as Aegis to stop Shem from invading Bart and Clu’s new home. However, along the way, they will have to face the followers of Shem, and the world’s wildlife. Can they make it out alive with Aegis? Will this journey test the bond between Bart and Clu? Well, you will have to back the game to find out! First off, I love the core story, and how it follows a grandfather and his granddaughter. It really does remind me of something that Hayao Miyazaki would do for one of his films back in the 80s. At first, I didn’t really know how they would tackle this story, but there was one scene in the Kickstarter trailer that grabbed me. It was a scene where Bart and Clu are around a campfire, and it has some really good atmosphere. You get that feeling of Bart worried about how Clu will end up at the end of this journey, or if she will even make it. I mean, that is what I interpreted from those few seconds. It shows that this team is going to make the story a much needed focus of the game.
Aegis Defenders is a 2D action-platformer, where you will control Bart and Clu as they travel across many lands to find Aegis. Bart and Clu each have unique play styles that you can play with by yourself or have a friend drop in to have some fun co-op action. Bart is definitely not the swiftest character out of the two, but he makes up for it with the ability to build weapons and repair structures. He can build many kinds of weapons, from turrets to blocks that Clu can jump on to reach higher areas. Clu, on the other hand, can equip multiple kinds of firearms and mines. She is definitely the one to play as if you are more into action. These abilities will come in handy since you will need to defend yourself against the many kinds of wildlife that the world of Elam will throw at you, from giant spiders to huge sand worm-like creatures. It also doesn’t help that you have the followers of the demi-god Shem, that will try to stop you. You will also have to keep up your resources, since those turrets and mines don’t come out of some magical bag or anything. Luckily, building the contraptions to stop the world around you from ripping your skin off your bones won’t take long. This is nice feature, since in a game that is obviously more action-oriented, you can’t have cool-down timers that get in the way, and make the battles more tedious.
The graphics for this game use sprite and pixel art, and I have to say, this is some of the best I have ever seen in a Kickstarter game. It has a unique look, bright colors, and it’s all well-animated. You can tell that the team behind Aegis Defenders put a lot of time into making the lands you travel across filled with immersive atmosphere and life. Simply seeing the animation of the birds and other creatures flying off in the distance from some of the video clips, shows that they want you to feel like you are a part of this world that they have developed. The music sounds very much like something Joe Hisashi would compose for films like “Princess Mononoke” or again, “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.” However, the team behind the music is called Power Up Audio. If they do not sound familiar, then their work on two Kickstarter games and a very popular PlayStation 4 and PC multiplayer game will make you remember who they are. They are the same team behind games like Towerfall: Ascension, and the two popular Kickstarter games, Timespinner, and Darkest Dungeon. The music sounds atmospheric, grand in scale, and beautiful.
Any concerns? Well, I don’t have a lot of issues. I hope that the characters are well-developed and that I don’t see the fate of Bart and Clu coming a mile away. With these kinds of set-ups, you could see either one of the characters biting the dust at the end, or both of them not making it. Just tell the story how you want to tell it, and don’t fall under the trope of having to change it just to give the game some unneeded drama.
Anyway, I love Aegis Defenders. I think everyone should help back this game. It has already reached its funding goal of $65K, and is currently over $75K. It has stretch goals for a horde mode, achievements (which I don’t think is needed), a PlayStation 4 version, and a Wii U version. If you love films like “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” or enjoy games that do sprite work for its art direction, I say check out Aegis Defenders. Congrats GUTS Department, Aegis Defenders gets my Kickstarter Shout-out!
(If you want to support this Kickstarter, go to this link!)