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This Month In Crowdfunding - January 2014 [Part 2]

Earlier this month I took a look at some of the more interesting titles that were in the middle of their crowdfunding campaigns. I highlighted a few of these games in hopes that I could bring them a little bit more attention, pushing them over their initial goals and up through their stretch goals.

Now I’d like to highlight some games that have either recently or long since finished their runs on Kickstarter; starting off with a quick look at the game that started off my crowdfunding addiction, Broken Age.

 

Releasing This Month

The Double Fine Adventure (Broken Age)

Platforms: PC/Mac/Linux/IOS/Android



Summary:
There aren’t too many developers that can build up hype for a game without giving us any story, concept art, or even a name. All we had was a genre, and a promise to create a point and click adventure game in the same vein as classics, such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Why did we all buy into the promise? For two reasons, we wanted to prove that point-and-click games aren’t dead, and the man making that promise was Tim Schafer.

This month marks the release of Tim Schafer, and Double Fine’s Broken Age. For many of us, Double Fine’s campaign was the first we’d heard of Kickstarter, while for others it was the beginning of Kickstarter selling out. Regardless of how you feel about who should or shouldn’t be allowed to get a project funded through crowdfunding, it’s hard to deny that this was a turning point. The Double Fine Adventure may have been the first game project to reach both the $1 million, and $2 million mark, but it didn’t take long for others to follow their lead.

Did We Get Our Money’s Worth?
I’m not going to spend much time here going into how good the game is. If you’re interested in a more detailed analysis of how the game turned out, a full review is currently up on Shogun Gamer. I’ll just say this, it’s good… it’s very good. The Double Fine Adventure was just that, an adventure. At the minimum backer contribution of $15, we were given access to an ongoing documentary chronicling the creative process and development of Broken Age. What started out as completely light hearted and entertaining slowly became a little bit scary.

When you’re not used to seeing how quickly a game can use up its funding, it’s a little bit jarring. I’m just glad that Double Fine has some good people working for them who know how to get some extra cash, without breaking any promises to the backers about going to a publisher. This documentary is one of the most thorough and interesting looks into the world of video game development that exists anywhere. Regardless of how the game turned out, anyone who has a true interest in the video game industry should feel like they got their money’s worth here.



It’s Not Too Late!

Ghost Song
Platforms: PC/Mac/Wii U



Summary:
If you’ve read my bio on Shogun Gamer, you’ll know that the first game that really hooked me was Metroid 2: The Return of Samus. Keeping that in mind you’ll probably be able to figure out why Ghost Song caught my attention. Creator Matt White isn’t shy to admit that Ghost Song draws very heavily from the Metroid franchise. When he first started out, his original intent was to make a small flash game that was similar to the classic Metroid games he loved, since Nintendo had no intention of doing so.

 

After working on it for a while, Ghost Song really grew into its own. It became clear to Matt that this wasn’t going to be a simple flash clone. The game took an especially big turn when Matt started playing Dark Souls. Much of Ghost Song’s later development was inspired strongly by Dark Souls. That doesn’t mean that Ghost Song is going to have us die over and over, or punish us for every misstep; what it means is that this is going to be a world full of mystery, and it’s not going to hold your hand when it comes to showing you everything that it has to offer.

Who Should Back It?
The Kickstarter campaign for Ghost Song has been over and done with for some time, but that doesn’t mean that your chance to back it has passed. If you head over to www.ghostsonggame.com/gs/store/, you can still claim the same backer packages as were available during the initial campaign.

I think it goes without saying that fans of classic Metroid or Metroidvania type games should absolutely check this one out. It features all the exploration, discovery, boss fights, and quick reflex gameplay that all the best entries into the genre contain.

As well as just fans of Metroidvanias, I’d also recommend this game to all those who enjoy a dark and atmospheric adventure. Matt has promised a powerfully emotional story, and since he comes from a background in comics, I believe he has the correct skillset to accomplish this.

How’s It Coming Along?
When Matt first started work on Ghost Song it was supposed to be a flash game, but the further and further he got into development, the more he realized that flash was far too limited for the vision he had. Before the Kickstarter campaign, Matt had made quite a bit of progress. As you can see from the video above, the game may not have been finished by it was quite playable, and looking stunning. But, all this progress was made in the flash version. Since the campaign ended, he has begun recreating many of the assets in unity that were unusable in their current form. Currently he is redoing the art for all environments in the game. From the few screenshots we’ve seen so far, I’ll say the move to Unity will be well worth the extra work.


Coming Soon:

Shovel Knight
Platforms: PC/Mac/Linux/Wii U/3DS



Summary:
It’s weird to feel nostalgic about a game that hasn’t even come out yet, but watching the trailer for Shovel Knight instantly takes me back to when I was a child playing Duck Tales and Mega Man on my cousin’s NES. Its music and mock 8-bit graphics do an impressive job of mimicking the way we remember the games of our childhood (assuming you lived through the NES or SNES eras).

Shovel Knight is the classic tale of the Knight in Shining armor on a quest to save his beloved from the evil enchantress, while wielding nothing but his wits and his trusty… shovel? After, I assume, being trained by Scrooge McDuck in the art of pogoing, you’ll be bouncing your way through a number of stages, spanning many themes each with their own ridiculous boss. Your shovel will be your best friend as you use it to deflect incoming attacks, pogo off otherwise dangerous spikes, or just give an enemy a good old whack in the face. Secrets abound in this tale of shovels and knights, and you can rest assured that you will have plenty of opportunities to use your shovel in its more traditional role, to dig up some treasure.

Who Should Play It?
The ones who will get by far the most out of a game like Shovel Knight are the ones who grew up playing the games that it serves as a tribute to. Though I’m sure it will be a fantastic game in its own rights, nostalgia is always the main driving force in a game like this. If you’re a fan of games like Duck Tales on the NES, or its recent HD remake, then Shovel Knight should be a must buy. If you’ve never played old NES platformers, but you like a good challenge and a light hearted story then I’d still recommend giving this one a try.

When Can We Play It?
As of Jan 22, Shovel Knight has officially reached alpha, meaning that it is entirely feature complete. What is left is to simply make sure all bugs are ironed out, and the game is as polished as possible. As the most recent trailer states, Shovel Knight will be available to the masses on March 31, 2014.


Update:
Since part one of This Month in Crowdfunding was published, The Mims: Beginning has passed its goal and is gaining on its first stretch goal. The campaign is still ongoing and there is plenty of time left to back it.

Project Nimbus finished its campaign with $28,560, achieving two of the stretch goals I had previously mentioned, including basic Oculus Rift support, and survival mode.
I’ll keep an eye on the game’s progress and provide additional updates sometime in the future.

 

Next Month:
Be sure to check back next month, when I’ll be looking at another batch of crowdfunded projects. There are already a few really interesting projects popping up in the usual places. Kingdom Come: Deliverance has particularly caught my attention, but who knows what other campaigns will launch between now and the time the next article is written. I’ll be keeping a close eye on all crowdfunding sites, and I’ll make sure the most interesting projects are highlighted.

 

About The Author: Craig Gamache (Staff Writer)

 

Bio: Craig Gamache is a life long resident of Vancouver, BC, who has felt the need to share his opinion on everything gaming related for the better part of the last two decades. Though he enjoys big budget blockbuster games as much as the next gamer, he has recently turned much of his attention to the indie game scene. [READ FULL BIO]

@CraigGamache  : craig@shogungamer.com