Kickstarter Shout-out: Ray's the Dead

 photo rays02.jpg In video games, zombies have been around since the beginning of when gaming was popular. Unfortunately, their roles in games have not changed much. You basically pick up the nearest object or gun, and bash them into the ground. One of the few games that changed things up was Wideload’s Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse for the PC and original Xbox. This game let you control a zombie, eat some brains, and have your own horde of zombies that follow you through the level. There are not a lot of games that do that, but luckily, Kickstarter is there to bring us more creative games that can expand on the concept where the game revolves around you, the player, being a zombie. This is why I am giving my next Kickstarter Shout-out to a game called Ray’s the Dead by Ragtag Studios!

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In the game, you are put into the shoes of Ray and his more zombified version of himself through a dual-story narrative. The main goal in the game is to find out how Ray died, and the mystery behind the device that is in zombie Ray’s head. The story seems silly, and it’s aware of that, which is why it is no surprise to me that Ray’s the Dead has people who actually worked on Stubbs the Zombie! They also worked on Halo Wars and Thief: Deadly Shadows, but I am super happy to find out that one of the original people who worked on Stubbs the Zombie, is behind this game. This means you should expect a lot of goofy and rather hilarious humor thrown in throughout the game’s story.

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What do you get when you combine the gameplay of Pikmin, Overlord, and a fresh coat of zombies? You get the gameplay for Ray’s the Dead! You will control Ray, and execute simple swipe attacks onto the unsuspecting 80s punk rockers and other victims that are still alive and walking. The gimmick here is that due to the little contraption inside your head, you can bring the recently killed back to life as a zombie who will help you in combat, solve puzzles, and cause some hijinks across the game’s levels. You will get five different variations of zombies that will help you out, from zombies that perform stealth kills, to ones that can dig underground. There seems to be a lot of variety within the game, and the levels and puzzles will revolve around you knowing what zombies to use for each situation.

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I fell in love with these graphics. Sure, huge 3D immersive worlds and well-animated pixel art games on Kickstarter look great, but there is something charming about a video game Kickstarter with has a different art style that a majority of indie developers are not doing. Sure, some of the animations on the 2D sprites could be smoother, and some of the 3D polygons could use some polishing, but this game basically looks complete to me. I think I adore the character designs the most. They have expressive personalities, and that gives the game more life because of it. The music is catchy. It reminds me of films like “Return of the Living Dead”, and a friend of mine pointed out a character in this game that was paying homage to Tall Man from “Phantasm.” This means that you should be prepared for any kind of movie reference popping up at any time during the game. One of the game’s composers is the famous Jake Kaufman of Wayforward Technologies and Shovel Knight fame. The other composer is a guy called Luke Rowell. I am not too familiar with his work, but you can check out the Kickstarter page to get a link to his website. This game oozes personality and I love it!

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Unfortunately, I do have some concerns. The biggest concern I have is the camera placement. Games that use isometric camera angles always have the same problems that differ from game to game. For the most part, the common problem is that sometimes, the isometric view hinders you from progressing through the game, hiding enemies off- screen, and many other problems. I hope they build around those issues so that they don’t get hit with the same criticism most games with that kind of camera view get.

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I honestly don’t have that much to complain about this Kickstarter. It already reached its $30K funding goal and is currently at over $37K. There are stretch goals that have been announced that include gibberish voice work, cameo costumes, a Wii U version of the game, an additional boss fight, expanded flashbacks, and an arena mode, to name a few. The game is already going to be coming to the PC, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 4. While the Kickstarter market is flooded with games that use sprite art or are first-person games, it is nice to see a game that is going against the grain, and isn’t following the pack. If you have the cash and want to support a quirky title with some people who have talent, I would highly recommend you check out Ray’s the Dead! Congratulation, Ragtag Studios and Ray’s the Dead, you guys get my official Kickstarter Shout-out!

(If you want to support this Kickstarter, go to this link!)