Kickstarter Picks - March Edition - Article

By Jared Katz, March 1, 2014
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Hello and welcome to gamrReview’s Kickstarter Picks for March! I would like to begin by honoring a few games that didn’t make the list for March, but deserve your attention almost as much as our actual picks:

Shrug Island: “A hand-drawn adventure game about hope in the mysterious, organic world of the Shrugs.”

Galactic Princess: “Dive into an epic adventure through deep space. Find the princess to restore peace, and rule the universe.”

Super Chibi Knight: “A single-player RPG adventure crafted by a 33 year-old father and his 8 year-old daughter!”

Blackmore: “Japanese adventure game set in steampunk London, created by Japanese and US game industry veterans in a rich 2.5D style.”

 

StarCrawlers

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Developer: Juggernaut Games

Total Amount/Goal:  $68,073/$65,000

Days Left: 12

Lowest Amount for Game:  $15

Release Date:  November 2014

Next Stretch Goal: Security Camera Trap System (68K)

Launch Platforms:  Windows, Mac and Linux

Congratulations you are now the proud leader of a group of Crawlers. What is a Crawler, you ask? If you need to recover items, cause a bit of havoc, or have anything shady needing to be done you hire a Crawler.  StarCrawlers, a turn-based RPG by Juggernaut Games, follows you and your crew of Crawlers on their various missions. The game is a mix of first person dungeon crawling with tactical turn-based combat, and a hint of rouge-like randomization of dungeons. Your crew is made up of four members (these are the only revealed classes so far): a cybernetic ninja, a hacker, your tank ('The Solider'), and an aura wielding Void Psyker. How you use your crew’s skills will make or break your chances at success.

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The gameplay is split into two main parts: scurrying through the dungeon and combat with various machines and various other beings who guard these places. When engaged in combat the gameplay is reminiscent of old school dungeon crawlers, along with current ones like Etrian Odyssey. The game uses a timeline system to show the next character (both ally and foe) to take action. Depending on the character and attack you use the wait time after a characters move differs. Light attacks have less wait time but tend to do less damage, while large spread and damaging attacks (which are critical for victory) leave the character with a longer cooling time.  The game also features a deep narrative AI system which changes both how the story and how your crew evolves depending on your choices during dialogue. The composition of your crew will also give you more event options when dealing with these choices.

 

 

Dysfunctional Systems (Parts 2 and 3)

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Developer:  Dischan Media

Total Amount/Goal:  $22,618/$49,000 (Canadian Dollars)

Days Left: 22

Lowest Amount for Game:  $10 Part 2, $25 for Both (CAD)

Release Date:  September 2014 Part 2, March 2015 Part 3

Next Stretch Goal: None until funded

Launch Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux

Visual Novels are very much the polar opposite of FPS games in the west. Both in terms of gameplay and in the amount of options we have. As of late, though, the Visual Novel has begun to grow in popularity thanks to successful anime adaptions and fan translations. With this growth, the springing up of western made VNs has also grown over the years to fill the void. Dysfunctional Systems is one such western made VN that got much praise from the community for both its art and writing. Now the creator of the first is using Kickstarter to help fund the 2nd and 3rd parts of the series.

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The art style has changed, due to the original artist departing. Right now, as the campaign has stated, the art style is not final. As of the first update the creator has shown sleeker versions of the characters that look closer to the original. The game will delve more into the Winter’s world and the elements that were left untold in the first game. Sadly, due to the nature of the game, I can’t describe much of the story without spoiling the first game. For those who want to play the first it’s available on Steam and can be found in this bundle. Both parts 2 and 3 are set to be longer than the first part

 

 

Darkest Dungeon

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Developer: Red Hook Studios

Total Amount/Goal:  $231.670/$75,000

Days Left: 12

Lowest Amount for Game:  $15

Release Date:  January 2015

Next Stretch Goal: Town Events (250K)

Launch Platforms: Windows and Mac

Evil lurches in your ancestral estate, which has long been abandoned. Now it’s time for you to take it back and uncover the mysteries that lie within this land which tells the tale of your ancestors. In Darkest Dungeon you lead a group of “heroes” to fight off the evil that lives here, but be warned enemies are not the only thing to fear. Darkest Dungeon is a gothic styled CRPG (aka Dungeon and Dragons style RPG) with rougelike elements. The game lets you recruit four heroes at a time to go into the dungeon and try to reconquer the lost land. Each character has their own quirks, personality and abilities. Some classes include Jester, Man-At-Arms, Highway Man, Plague Doctor, Leper, Houndmaster, and many more.

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While enemies are a big hurdle for our heroes, the game's Affliction system is just as deadly to the characters. This system affects the heroes in various ways from giving them new phobias, stress, and other emotional strains (including greed, paranoia and even sadism).  These emotional issues can form due to an event or battle. How each affects the character depends on who it’s affecting. One character might become fearful, while another will become enraged. These emotional effects will change how your character fights and even how they act in the town. When first arriving in the town it is nothing more than a church and a broken tavern. As you gain more gold and spend it the town will begin to prosper once again. This has a variety of positive affects for your group, including being able to recruit new classes to help you in your cause.  

 

 

Heart&Slash

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Developer: aheartfulofgames

Total Amount/Goal:  $17,230/$20,000

Days Left: 17

Lowest Amount for Game:  $10

Release Date:  December 2014

Next Stretch Goal: Extra Artist (25K)

Launch Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux

In the distant future where humans have finally gone the way of the dodo, robots have now taken our place. Their only purpose is to comply with the rules set by their leader, the Quality Assurance System. But not all robots want to follow such rules. One such is Heart, a robot who wants to simply be loved. H&S is a 3-D brawler with rougelike elements. The game sets you up in short and brutal levels where downtime is nonexistent. To help get you through the game are over 70 different weapons and 60 different body parts, thus making each run different from the last just from your play style alone.

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Throughout your quest you will find various robots that follow the QAS’s rules. These robots will be the primary enemy of Heart throughout each run. Of course where there are people (or in this case robots) that follow the rules there are always rebels. One such is the other main character of the game - Slash - who is your primary love interest. Indeed, your secondary goal is to get Slash’s attention. Of course this won’t be easy; you primarily get Slash’s attention by doing quests, which will help define your possible relationships with him.

“Will you choose independence, or will you change in order to be loved? Or will you find a balance that will allow the relationship to thrive?”

 

 

Classroom Aquatic

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Developer: Sunken Places

Total Amount/Goal:  $21,124/$30,000

Days Left: 4

Lowest Amount for Game:  $15

Release Date:  December 2014

Next Stretch Goal: None

Launch Platforms:  Windows, Mac and Linux

Studying for a test is painful. Why should you study when you can use that time doing something more productive like playing video games? Luckily your classmates don’t think like you. So use your studious fellow students to avoid failing by cheating off their papers. Make sure not to get caught though. Also, you might want to be wary of their answers, since your classmates are dolphins. Classroom Aquatic is a cheating simulator where you play as an exchange student in a school full of dolphins. You goal is to cheat off their tests without getting noticed by them and your teacher. This game makes use of the Oculus Rift (the game does not need the Rift to play, however) to help you control your shifting head and get the right angle when looking.

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While the game’s main boast is the cheating sections of both causing distractions and sneaking a peak, there are also a few other gameplay sections. These include a science fair where you must sabotage the other students' amazing projects, go on a double date to the prom without being caught, DSL Exams where you must answer an oral exam in Dolphinese, and many more. There's already a demo for the gameplay, which can be found here.

 

Koe

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Developer: Jitesh Rawal

Total Amount/Goal:  £25,606/ £35,000

Days Left: 29

Lowest Amount for Game:  £10 ($16.75)

Release Date:  June 2015

Next Stretch Goal: Vita Release (Unknown Amount)

Launch Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux

Japan, the land of the rising sun. And also Anime, Sushi, Ninjas, Maid Cafes, and a number of fetishes I can’t mention in public. The more hardcore of gamers tend to have an obsession with the country, both for its culture and of course its games. The one thing many of them want (myself included) is to learn the language. Now they can, through the JRPG Koe, which teaches us Japanese while using JRPG elements that we have grown to love.  Now, how does this game teach us the language while retaining its gaming roots? Through having the game's items as Japanese words, but with English descriptions (these words will be taught to you throughout the game).

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By combing words into sentences you can create more powerful moves. As seen above, each item has a card that contains both the Kanji and Hiragana in the word, which in this case spells Katana. The game is set to teach you both types of characters mentioned before, along with Katakana. It will also set out to teach you various words as well as phrases. The goal of all of this is to help you be able to read basic Japanese. While the programmer/creator isn’t a native speaker of the language, all the Japanese will be done by a native speaker who has been living in Japan for her whole life.

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