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Well, June was a wasteland in terms of Kickstarter projects worth writing about. Most of them were all blunders, and there was one individual who was either trolling, or was not really prepared for posting Kickstarters that were, to be frank, some of the worst I have ever seen this year. Luckily, a bunch of Kickstarters have recently been popping up, and taking up the spotlight, and deserve to be shown off. As usual, do your research on the Kickstarter itself, and see if it is worth your money. Not every Kickstarter that gets funded is successful, and the game might not deliver on its promise. Be careful, but if you feel passionate about the game you want to back, then by all means. Spend only enough money on the Kickstarter that you will be happy to donate to the project. Oh, and congrats to LUCAH for getting funded! It’s a great action RPG that I wish I could have gotten to before it got funded. Let’s get started!
AVOID!: Snowball Wars
It’s very obvious by the look of this one that it’s the developer’s first try at a game, and while there is more to it than most bad Kickstarters, it’s still really lackluster. The art looks like it was done in Microsoft Paint, the music isn’t from the game, and the page just shows amateur artwork. I get it, making your own game is a big feat, and I do admire the successful indie games that are made by one person or a very small team of people. However, I’m not going to give anyone special treatment just because it’s their “first game”. Maybe Snowball Wars has potential, but as far as I can tell, it isn’t going to go anywhere fast.
Instead, you should go support: KnightOut
This indie game developed by 2nd Studio marks the first crowdfunding project on the site, Fig.co, to be made for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a multi-player party game where you build large castles to protect your king, while destroying your opponent’s castle and killing their king. There is a single-player mode where you fend off hordes of monsters with your buff castle and army of knights. At first, I wasn’t really impressed, due to the game’s graphical style shown off in the trailer. I knew it was early in production assets and animations, but something felt off about it to me. However, after seeing the game in motion a couple of times, I found myself strangely growing fond of the game and the gameplay. I’m not usually the type of guy who downloads every single local multi-player game that goes for that Smash Bros. mentality of all the action happening on one screen, but this one caught my attention, because of the Switch, and how you already have two controllers from the get-go on the console. My only real concern is the longevity and lasting appeal of the game, since the local multi-player market is truly crowded. I just don’t want to see their hard work swept under the rug when the next Screen Cheat or Towerfall pops in to take its thunder. It looks like a fun game to play in bursts, and I hope 2nd Studio does a good job with the overall experience they are offering, and doesn’t have to resort to microtransactions or crummy game-killing business decisions.
The big problem with indie developers and the indie game scene is that once a certain genre gets a slam dunk of a hit, the copy-cats, bandwagon-hopping developers or scam artists (you decide which is which since all of them have been abundant in the indie scene) are not far behind. While there is nothing super inherently wrong with Temperament, a first-person spellcasting game, it’s woefully lackluster in terms of being anything promising. First off, the concept art and images shown on the page is not in any way good, due to how inconsistent the two pictures look in terms of designs. The indie scene has already had a few games within the first-person genre, where the main gimmick is to cast spells that have already been done. This project sounds like it has nothing to offer that I couldn’t get with other games like Ziggurat. There is also, once again, no gameplay to look at or to see how it would look in motion. It’s just an underwhelming disappointment from an individual who has tried two other times to have a Kickstarter success, but to no avail. You can talk to me and tell me about the game, but I want to see what I would be interested in backing.
Instead, you should go support: Fight Knight
While I don’t technically need to support this one, due to how quickly it made its funding goal, this first-person brawler from developer Thomas LeBlanc is worth mentioning. Fight Knight took the site by storm with its first-person 3D pixel art style, and its focus on fun first-person melee combat. It’s always a bit eye-rolling when you see a first-person game with melee combat, since it never feels great to punch or hit someone in first-person. The game also has a playable demo, and from what I have heard, people were having a fantastic time playing it, but were criticizing the head-bobbing, another problem with first-person games, but I’m sure the developer will do a good job at making sure no one gets too motion-sick playing the game. It’s a fun looking game with a quirky personality that I think should get more support and hopefully get onto other consoles. I would love to play this on the Switch.
AVOID!: All the Hidden Corners
Out of all of the games I had to put on this list, All the Hidden Corners was the one I was most reluctant to say go support. Hence, it’s on the avoid side of things. I like the 3D adventure game idea, the graphics, and the set-up. My problem and why I’m hesitant to say go support this one is because the trailer was not really convincing me to say “hey, I want to throw hard-earned money at this game!” I admire the idea and the visuals, but I want to see the game in motion. I know annoying to keep bringing this up, but that is the biggest problem with Kickstarter games. Show, don’t tell.
Instead, you should go support: Harold Halibut
I was pleasantly surprised to see this game from developers Slow Bros. It’s what the page describes as a “modern handmade adventure game”, where you control Harold Halibut, a janitor and lab assistant, inside a large ship in a planet surrounded by water. I love the stop-motion art style and the rusted barren look of the world’s surroundings. While having a solid sense of humor, the world you live in is definitely not safe, and there is obviously something else in the water besides the ship and the people living inside it. You can tell a huge amount of passion has gone into the look and feel of the game. My only real concern is how the puzzles will work and how interesting the story will be. I want to feel invested with every step I take, and I don’t want to lose interest. The game’s soundtrack is also pretty solid by composer, Onat Hekimoglu. It definitely helps bring you into this briny world. I hope more people are willing to go support this game, since I feel like it deserves your time and money to help get this game developed.
AVOID!: Brass Town Wrestling
Now, how cool does this sound, a wrestling RPG? I mean, wrestling, while floundering in some areas, is still a huge deal. How cool would it be to have an action or unique turn-based RPG where all the attacks are wrestling moves? Too bad Brass Town Wrestling isn’t that. It’s a generic RPG that only has wrestling as a motif. That’s the biggest pile of weak sauce that I have seen in a while. Not only is it yet another RPG Maker game that does more damage to the RPG Maker reputation, but it just doesn’t look like anything all that amazing. Its battles are in first-person, but the attacks don’t look that interesting, and the art looks very amateurish. It’s games like this that give RPG Maker a bad reputation, and it’s an example of a developer not taking full advantage of their situation. This is obviously one that you should avoid.
Instead, you should go support: Fantasy Strike
Developed by Sirlin Games, Fantasy Strike is a 2.5D fighting game that is being helmed by ex-Street Fighter developer David Sirlin. The game claims it will be an easier fighter to get into, because there won’t be any joy stick inputs to pull off super moves, and instead, everything is done by the face buttons and keyboard. I think that’s actually pretty rad. Usually, when a fighter promises that they will be easier to get into, they never really mean it. You still need to learn the complex button commands, and they always make the icons the arcade control icons. This looks like it could very well be a good beginner’s guide to fighting games, along with the upcoming Switch indie game, Pocket Fighters Rumble. While the characters don’t look that interesting or memorable, I’m sure later down the development line, they will make the characters more interesting. I also hope it can come to more consoles than just the PlayStation 4 and PC. I bet if they could get this on the Switch, they could make the console a go-to for fighting games, once Nintendo releases another Smash Bros. for the console. If you enjoy fighting games, I would highly recommend you check out this new Fig campaign.
AVOID!: Hotel Escape
When people come to Kickstarter to pitch their work, you usually want something that looks good, and makes sure the potential backers know exactly what they are getting, and know they will put out the product as promised. I guess no one told Hotel Escape that. The Kickstarter page is a mess with ugly artwork, a trailer that’s not really that promising, looks like something from the days of Steam Greenlight, and to be frank, the game doesn’t look that good. The developer might say that they have worked 4 months on the project, but I seriously doubt that from the look of everything. The game is too dark, the framerate is garbage, and the gameplay looks mediocre. This is also the second time the developer has tried to get funding for this game, and I’m sorry, a minute change no matter how effective, is not going to get people to back your project. Oh, and a $200 funding goal? I don’t want to be rude and disrespectful, but how much money does this person think they need to make a video game?! $200 is not going to cut it! You need more than that! Not hard to see why I’m saying avoid this one at all cost.
Instead, you should go support: Neon City Riders
Finally, let’s go support Neon City Riders by developer Mecha Studios. This top-down action adventure RPG sets you into this cyberpunk post-apocalyptic world, where everyone is forced to join some kind of street gang, and cause constant war and chaos among everyone who lives within the city. Your goal is to stop the violence and find out how to solve the overarching problem. If you have played any or a majority of top-down action adventure games, like the old Legend of Zeldas, Crossing Souls, Legend of the Mystical Ninja, then you should know what you are getting yourself into. A large world to explore, puzzles to solve, upgrades to obtain, new areas to explore, and everything you do is at your own pace. You can go wherever and fight whoever you want first.
The game’s graphical presentation is bouncy, colorful, and it doesn’t look that bad. I know some gamers are getting tired of pixel art-style games being a thing, since it seems like everyone and their great great grandma is making a game inspired by the days of 8-bit and 16-bit games, but if you put your own spin on it, and it doesn’t make me think of other games in a bad way, then I think you could keep doing it. My only real issue is that some people might be concerned about the low funding goal, and that it’s yet another neon/80s cyberpunk-inspired world. Again, if you put your own spin on it, then do so, but I can understand if people are getting tired of it, since neon/80s-themed games do pop up a lot. Still, I think it’s one of the better Kickstarter games to come to the site in July so far. If you like your top-down action games, and want to play a bit of the game, the devs do have a demo that you can try out. If this all looks fun to you, then join a gang and go support Neon City Riders.