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Well, it’s the end of the summer, and it means Kickstarters are back in full swing! Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites like Fig.co decided to unload on the world some pretty awesome-looking projects that you should both support, or avoid like the plague. I will give out some honorable mentions to projects that got funded in a rather short period of time. These are the Harvest Moon-style action RPG Re:Legend, Phoenix Springs, an adventure game with a surreal setting, Bounty Battle, a Super Smash Bros.-style fighting game using many popular indie game mascots, and the tactical multi-player game for PC and Switch Hex Gambit. Now then, let’s get started!
You Should Avoid: The Last Kingdom
We start off with a sloppy Kickstarter called The Last Kingdom. It’s supposed to be a tactical RPG, but there is no gameplay to show off. The trailer shows us nothing. There are no pictures, no sprite work, no real details about how this tactical RPG differentiates itself from others, and it’s just not well put together. And asking for such a small budget for a tactical RPG is pretty insane in the membrane. It’s yet another project that’s way too early to show off, and you should avoid it at all costs.
You Should Back: Lona: Realm of Colors
Lona: Realm of Colors is an adventure game developed by SpaceFox. You play as an artist named Lona, who is trapped inside her own artwork. You must traverse through said art, putting in and taking out the color of that art piece to make it through this adventure. The game’s main focus is to tell a story, since she is using her art to make abstract visuals of situations she is dealing with. The main goal is to go into each picture, go to either one side of it or another, and try to solve the problem given to you. The game has a really nice art style, and it should, since it’s about an artist. It has a lot of vibrant colors, and the pictures are very detailed. My one concern is how the overarching experience will pan out. I hope the interactivity of the pictures will be enough, due to how we won’t have to deal with inventory puzzles or dialogue trees. It’s all about the story, and I want the story to be interesting if the gameplay is not going to be the focus. Anyway, if you like games that focus more on visuals, and like a promising story, then you should definitely check out this Kickstarter.
You Should Avoid: Mcgee Detective
You know, if this was a flash game when flash gaming was in its first year, this would probably look impressive. However, this is 2017, and if you can’t make good looking art or know how to make a visually appealing looking game, don’t make the art yourself. This 2D platforming puzzle game is just the pits in every way possible. It has bad art, bad animation, mediocre gameplay, and a very lackluster Kickstarter page. I don’t know what this individual is thinking by making such an ugly game on a budget that’s $1,123, but you can’t do that. A more talented individual could have made a game about a mouse on an adventure look charming, but boy, this one is just looking to be avoided like raw chicken tartare.
You Should Support: Jettomero
Update: It just got funded!
Sometimes, we need a goofy little game that has charm oozing out of its robotic parts. Jettomero, developed by Gabriel Koenig, looks to be that type of game. You play as a robot named Jettomero, who travels from planet to planet finding fuel, and trying to save lives while being a giant destructive robot. You will be able to customize Jettomero, and as you traverse the galaxy, you will encounter other large robots to fight while uncovering the history of your robot. The game has a more laid-back vibe as you travel across the cosmos in this cool 1970s-inspired sci-fi universe. My only real concern is how expansive the experience will be, since these types of games tend to not do well if they choose to overstay their welcome. Other than that, I loved seeing Jettomero in motion, and I think it’s one of the more charming crowdfunding projects on the site. It only has a little left in terms of funding to make, and if you love cute little games with a charming personality, then you should definitely help this robot save everyone!
You Should Avoid: Bad Lands Road Trip
There is nothing worse than when a Kickstarter project gets less and less impressive as you scroll down its Kickstarter page. Bad Lands Road Trip is one such bummer project. First off, we have yet another project that is too early to show off, the art style for the menus and interface look cheap, everything looks like an asset flip, and the game doesn’t look all that appealing. We already have enough open-world games, and we don’t need another one of lower quality. I feel badly, since there was obviously a bit more done with this project, but it’s still not enough to warrant throwing down money onto it. Maybe if they waited a little longer and made everything not look like an asset flip, then I would be down for some fun simple robot-shooting fun. It’s just not going to happen today.
You Should Back: Beyond-Human
Yes, we do get a lot of Metroidvania-style games, and to a degree, that is my major concern for this project, but I’m rooting for it. Back in 2014, I was going to write about this project because it came out the same time as a very similar project was on the site, but didn’t since it was obvious both weren’t going to make it. Luckily, the game looks way better than it did back then. You play as a silent protagonist named Adam, who woke up into an alien-like world. You must Devil May Cry your way through a large sci-fi world brimming with a hostile atmosphere, and find out who you are and what exactly happened. Sprite or pixel graphics might be a tired thing to see among the indie community, but as long as it’s done well and looks good in motion, then I don’t mind it. All the designs are pretty neat, the effects look great, and it looks like a good action game. The concern for me is the fact that this is a very common genre to see among the indie crowd. Not that it can be a bad thing, but if you are going to make a Metroidvania-style game, I want it to stand out and be memorable, because the developer wanted to make a game in that style and not simply because it’s popular. It doesn’t fully keep me from recommending and talking about this game at all, but I think it’s understandable to be a bit more wary about games that want to go the Metroidvania route. Even then, it’s a cool-looking game, and it looks like the developers have a grasp on what they want to do. If you like action games, Metroidvania-style games, or games that use sprite work at all, then you should definitely go support Beyond Human.
You Should Avoid: Umbra Protocol
Yeah, this project has kind of the same problems as McGee Detective, in that the concept art and the logo picture for the trailer looks way better than the actual in-game animation. The game just doesn’t look all that appealing, and if it’s not obvious, there is a reason why people are not really funding this one. I feel like with a better artist or more interesting gameplay, it could have been more appealing. It just looks like a ton of mobile games that you see get dumped onto the App store, and are understandably overlooked.
You Should Back: Suplex Saga
Remember that really mediocre “wrestling” RPG that was up on Kickstarter a few weeks back? Well, the better version of that idea is Suplex Saga by Finger Gun Games. You play in a Final Fantasy-style turn-based RPG, where you are Ace Evander, a rookie wrestler who wants to make it to the top. Along with some of his friends, he wants to be the best of the best to bring back the Evanders name, while dealing with a wrestling company take-over that will rock the world! Combat takes place on 2D planes, like in older Final Fantasy titles, and the combat is turn-based. Just like in some RPGs like Paper Mario, the combat is all about timed-button presses that pull off super moves and other abilities. I love everything about this game, but I have one major concern. I have been following this project closely, and to be honest, I don’t think they are getting the word around fast enough about the game. Maybe because it’s a busy time of year, or maybe they are not doing enough to get other people outside of wrestling fans to buy this game. I want this to succeed, since I just adore an RPG with a different personality to it, but I think they need to do more to get the word out, or maybe come back in a few months with a playable demo and some spruced-up sprite work. I think some projects do better when people can play a bit of the game they might want to throw money down on. In general though, I think this is a goofy and fun-looking RPG. I love the idea of it, and while I wish the console stretch goals were the first ones up instead of a pdf guide, I would love to play something like this on the go.