I’ve cheated this month. I’ve lied to you all. I’m sorry…well, not really. After seeing two games on Indiegogo I just couldn’t resist. I was eager to find something different, something not sci-fi, and these jumped out at me. These games are all different, innovative, smart and very manly. So you forgive me, right? Of course you do.
Even if you don’t fancy any of my chosen projects (I do try to pick a variety but I understand they won’t always be to everyone’s tastes) it’s worth checking them out and perhaps spreading the word to others who might be interested. Word of mouth is probably the best marketing tool there is so tweet, like and share the projects that you think deserve it.
Fa’el – Beyond the Gate (Indiegogo)
End Date: 1st September
Creator: Miguel Angel Perez Martinez
Top Reward: $1500 – a Fa’el-themed custom painted Game Boy console with a Special Edition of the ‘Fa’el – Beyond the Edge’ Game Boy cartridge
Every Little Helps Reward: $10 – standalone DRM-free digital copy of the game for all supported systems
What Is It?
An action/exploration adventure game inside a 2.75D world filled with 3D pixel art that bends around itself and inside out. After the Age of Discovery, a tiny fraction of archaeologists happen across a technology far beyond their comprehension. With the aim of studying it and keeping it out of public knowledge, SAGA was born. Today, several decades later, the artefact’s origins and inner workings still remain mostly unknown. The player follows Arae, a victim of her own greed who finds herself an unwilling test subject to SAGA. She is tasked with travelling through different worlds, unravelling the mysteries behind their existence and trying to regain freedom for herself.
Fa’el caught my eye because it looks so unusual. It’s true we’ve seen similar mechanics before in Fez but this looks to take things a step further with its blend of 2.75D and 3D. The effect is one that is pleasing to look at, and hopefully to play. It’s not just pretty and boasting smart mechanics however; there’s an actual story and a protagonist who appears to have a backstory and personality.
The incredible visuals are accompanied by music from renowned video game composer Yamajet, known mainly for his work in music games such as O2Jam, Audition and Cytus. His instantly distinguishable style blends Eurobeat, Disco, Chiptune and classical piano for an unusual soundtrack, fitting for an unusual-looking game.
Creator Martinez has a few other tricks up his sleeves as well. ‘Fa’el – Beyond the Edge’ is a small tie-in game being developed for the original Game Boy system. Events take place in the same universe and time as Beyond the Gate and as they progress through the game, players will be able to affect the main story by using passwords provided in ‘Beyond the Edge’. It will be released free for everyone on the launch of the main game.
End Date: 23rd August
Top Reward: €500 – develop a concept for a Chieftain with the team
Every Little Helps Reward: €4 – Steam copy of previous title, Oknytt, and a thank you in the credits
What Is It?
A co-op management game centred around teamwork, exploration and sacrifice. A great fog has been making its way down the mountains, devouring everything in its wake, leaving husks of what was once living beings. Protected by an ancient relic (I’ve noticed these crop up a lot in Indie games) which has been passed down through many generations, your villagers travel northward in search of the source of the corruption. Set in an atmospheric Nordic landscape, Northward allows you to manage and expand a settlement together with a friend. You will gather resources and build defences while steadily making your way to the mountains in the north.
The team want to create a co-op experience that they feel is missing on the market; management games are often solitary ventures so the idea of working with someone is appealing and makes me wonder why this hasn’t been done before (of course, there could be a very good reason…).
The pre-alpha version is now available to try on all platforms and the team are keen to engage the community in this project. They welcome suggestions and ideas as well as constructive feedback.
On a personal note, I own Nemoria’s previous game Oknytt, a point and click adventure story based on Nordic folklore. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing and the artwork truly is beautiful. It’s pretty cheap to pick up and you can get it on the €4 reward tier if you decide to help fund this project.
What’s nice about this effort is that the team are expanding their horizons and thinking outside the box while still staying true to their Scandinavian roots.
Wake the Dreamer
End Date: 27th August
Creator: Ali Sakhapour
Top Reward: $1000 – have one of your dreams become a side quest in the game plus get the super secret dream mission
Every Little Helps Reward: $1 – wallpaper for mobile devices and desktops
What Is It?
A simulation-based game surrounding reality and dreams with 2D side scrolling action and an emphasis on choices/consequences. This is a game about exploration and discovery. You create a character that lives in your phone and it’s up to you to help them improve their life. Wake the Dreamer runs in real time but when your character is asleep you’re free to explore their dream world. When awake, you can explore the city, buy items to customise your character, find side quests, hidden locations or just complete the main story.
What seems like a fairly simple premise at first is actually quite complicated when you see the different mechanics at work. There’s the day/night cycle, the combat (a mix of action and platforming), the many possible outcomes that can arise from your choices, romance options and exploration, where it seems the choices made in one world will impact the other.
It’s not clear how long the game will last; what happens when your character dies in the dream world? But this intrigued me enough to make me want to find out more. Especially as Ali and his team went for a different approach with their Kickstarter video. It doesn’t always hit the mark but gets its point across.
As for the team themselves, Ali Sakhapour is the main man with over 20 years of programming experience and a major in Illustration. He is joined by a group of five competent staff, one of whom, Fredson Laguna, has worked on several AAA titles such as Killzone 3 and Resistance 3.
The Deck of Manly Arts Playing Cards
End Date: 25th August
Creator: Manly Arts
Top Reward: $100 – full brick of deck of Manly Arts
Every Little Helps Reward: $5 – one deck of Manly Arts
What Is It?
Celebrate the art of being a man with this burly deck of playing cards. The creator tells of his experiences shared with his grandpa and how these have influenced his project – camping and fishing, sitting around a fire listening to stories, getting up at 4am to head out to the lake and shaving with a sharp blade using a special technique. His hope is that these cards will remind you of a man in your life and help commemorate those special memories.
All the cards are designed and hand drawn in a traditional wood block print style. You can clearly see the major influences include classic barber shop logos and interior designs. Each deck will be printed to the highest possible quality using industry leading technology from the United States Playing Card Company, creators of the famous Bicycle Playing Cards. The deck will be printed on the same grade of paper with an embossed finish and will come in a custom printed Tuck Box.
The different suits include Facial Hair for spades, Tobacco Pipes for clubs, Drinks for diamonds and Shaving Tools for hearts.
I picked this because it was fun but there’s also a story behind it and a sense of nostalgia. It could make a brilliant gift for a special man in your life and if Manly Arts is successful he may go on to develop the brand further.