Raindrop and the Art of the Kickstarter Pitch

These days, almost all promising, mainstream-enough video game Kickstarters (and, to a lesser extent, Indiegogos) seem to attract enough traction and interest to succeed. Offhand, I am unable to recall one single notable project that would not have succeeded as of late, especially if self-cancelled projects are counted out of the equation.

Alas, one such project is now in great danger of going undeservedly unfunded. Early this month, I tweeted to Andy Kelly how I had – much like him – been absolutely awestruck by Raindrop‘s beautifully-designed Kickstarter campaign:

Their image-laden, equally professional website was no less impressive. According to its developers, Raindrop would be a “a surreal, environment driven, survival game that includes fully explorable levels with intuitive, complex puzzles”.

Below, you can watch their amazing pitch video:

(more…)

Read More

Anodyne Review

Anodyne, a top-down action-adventure by indie devs Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka, is one that I doubt I would have touched if not for the all-new, shiny, and glittering Steam Trading Cards. (Valve are very, very shrewd.) That Anodyne’s in-game progression is also tied to gathering collectible cards in-game has quite the poignancy to it. Above all, it makes the two a perfect match, and Anodyne was unsurprisingly among the titles that received trading cards during the Trading Cards beta.

Cards or no cards, however, Anodyne does warrant a fair bit of attention on its own merits: It is an infectious, solid action game on the one hand, and a strange, befuddling and rambling one on the other. It is above all a game with the face of Janus, looking to the future and past at once, a hodgepodge of influences permeating from top to bottom, starting with the game’s uncommon visual aspect ratio of 8:9.

Its two-faced nature is surprisingly not off-putting in the least. Instead, I found it nigh-impossible to put the game aside while it remained unbeaten. Anodyne’s cleverly organized, free-form model of progression, and beautiful audiovisual aesthetic beckon the player to continue onwards and upwards until the game is decidedly done. What greater compliment, really, for a video game: Just one more level, one more card, one more bar of health, one more boss! And then: Bang! The game is done, phew, in five to seven hours of gaming (though it can be ran through in three). (more…)

Read More

Primordia Review

Primordia, Wormwood Studios’ dystopian android adventure (and Wadjet Eye Games’ latest foray into publishing,) is a treacherous game to review. It single-handedly put me off reviewing games for a long time – heck, we received our review copy at launch half a year ago, and I’ve subsequently tried my hand at it every now and then, what with it being bundled both in Indie Royale and Groupees.

This is not to say that Primordia is a bad game. Nothing of the sort. It is unquestionably filled to the brim with artistic merit, passion, and conceptual integrity. Yet it also secretes such familiarity, evokes such an extraordinarily vivid sense of déjà vu, that it is impossible for me, personally, to brush it aside and to merely treat the game as ordinary genre-aware homage.

(more…)

Read More

Looking at Routine

Please have a gander at the above promotional teaser from Lunar Software‘s forthcoming horror exploration game, Routine. Spot anything out of the ordinary?

If your answer consists of something like “Full body awareness, Deadzone aiming, no HUD, no health bars or points system” – fair enough! The developers have, after all, incorporated plenty of neat stand-out features in the game.

That being said, what I really mean is the mouselook. We’ve all just witnessed a promotional game video with MOUSE CONTROLS.

It took me a few seconds to realize just what it was that I was seeing. Seeing is believing: It all seemed so vivid, so immersive, so refreshing. On the mouse, the video paints a vastly improved, more honest view into the inner workings of the game, its architecture, and unique visual design.

To put it bluntly: This video simply could not have been made on a gamepad, at all. Thing is, I’ve moaned about this problem all the way since 2009, and this year’s (2013) E3 gameplay presentations continued the ugly trend.

Thankfully, though, we have the indies to show how it’s done on the PC. More of this please. Good job, Lunar Software!

(The game also looks good. Check it out!)

Read More

Resonance Review

Out of all the highly esteemed indie adventure games in the Wadjet Eye Games catalogue, Vince Twelve’s Resonance had by far the longest journey from start to finish.

Though intended for commercial release from the get-go, the game was announced in low-key fashion on the Adventure Game Studio forums in 2008, and then later Kickstarted in 2009, long before the “Double Fine” explosion of 2012, back when the landscape and prospects were vastly different. By the Kickstarter campaign, however, the game had already been in the works for over 2 years!

As with their other recent offerings, in Primordia and Gemini Rue, Wadjet Eye’s Dave Gilbert swooped to XII Games‘ aid to make finishing Twelve’s project a reality. With good reason: It’s no secret, by now, that Resonance is a very good game – one of 2012’s best adventures.

(more…)

Read More