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5 New Kicks.

Do you have a little money burning a hole in your pockets? What about helping someone realize their life long game development dream?

Here’s another Kickstarter post (other entries tagged with Kickstarter). As you probably notice, I’m having a hard time giving it a creative title. The last time I wrote about Kickstarter projects, roughly half a year ago, I had a look at some of the more embarrassing endeavors in the games category. From people begging for money to play Call of Duty for 48 hours straight to huge sporting events that probably never happened. There were some massive train wrecks among those projects, but there are a few projects that get successfully funded through Kickstarter – about a third, according to their own statistics.

Let’s have a look at five computer game projects you can pledge to right now. One of them is already well funded, while the other four are all in danger of hitting their deadline date unfunded. And since it’s Kickstarter, they won’t receive a penny unless they are fully funded when their campaign ends.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong

The first project comes from Harebrained Schemes LLC, a seasoned creator of successful Kickstarter campaigns. Their greatest success so far has been Shadowrun Returns, which I didn’t pledge to personally, but my friend Klas threw a lot of money at the project. He even got his name in the game credits. I know this because I checked.

Now Harebrained is back with another Shadowrun campaign, and this time they are only asking for a little bit of money to polish a version of the game set in Hong Kong. Being a company that has already showed that they deliver on their promises, they’re already funded and then some. The promise of more high quality Shadowrun was enough for me to pledge the $15 needed to receive a copy of the game on release.

Orion Trail


Orion Trail. If you feel you have heard the name of the game before, you’re right. It takes its inspiration from The Oregon Trail, a classic computer game originally developed all the way back in 1971 and re-released numerous times since. Orion Trail is far from the first game to be inspired by The Oregon Trail, another one that comes to mind is Organ Trail – but as far as I know it’s the first game set in space.

Orion Trail is Schell Game’s second Kickstarter campaign. Their first one was successful, but I have no idea if they actually delivered on their promises. Still, Orion Trail looks interesting, we gamers seem to love the 2D retro look these days – we have been loving it for quite some time now – and $10 isn’t a bad price for this game if they deliver what they describe. There’s even a demo of the game available, and that’s a very good start.

If you’re on the fence, having a hard time deciding whether to pledge or not, a demo can help you decide. I decided not to help fund Orion Trail, not because the demo was bad, but rather because it’s not my kind of game. But perhaps it’s your cup of tea.

STRAFE

If you’re familiar with computer game history, the name John Romero might ring a bell. Being one of the founders of id Software, he worked as lead designer on titles like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. He is also credited with coining the FPS multiplayer term “deathmatch”, so this is a guy who knows a lot about first person shooters. This is what he has to say about STRAFE:

“A hilarious, hardcore, procedural shooter from 1996 design-inspired by Quake, Doom and Wolf3D? YES! Back this baby!” — John Romero

The STRAFE Kickstarter video is perhaps one of the lamest I’ve ever seen, but they also have a 10 minutes gameplay video that shows a lot of interesting aspects of the game. One unique feature of STRAFE is that levels are autogenerated. It’s hard to tell exactly how well that will turn out. Excellent level design was one of the factors that led to the success of DOOM and Quake and bad level design can derail a potential excellent game, regardless of genre.

STRAFE is lagging a bit behind on their funding. With only 9 days to go, they are still $110,000 short of their campaign goal. So I honestly doubt they will manage to fund the project through Kickstarter – even with the Romero endorsement.

This Is the Police

In This Is the Police we meet Jack Boyd. He is the beloved police chief of Freeburg, and has 180 days before he’s forced to retire. But Jack won’t be going out quietly. Over the next six months, he’ll be going all out to fulfill a dream: earn half a million dollars, any way he can. That might be play money for a corrupt cop, but up until now, Jack has been playing by the book. Even with overtime, in six months he wouldn’t make fifty grand. But a police chief has access to all sorts of… informal income. Bribes, weapons and drug sales, deals with the Mafia, skimming off the budget, kickbacks – you name it. And Jack is tired of playing nice. He’s is ready for anything, but only you can decide how far he’ll go.

This Is the Police is part strategy game, part adventure game. This suits me well, since I like both genres. The game looks like it has potential, I like the art style and the mood set in the Kickstarter video. What I’d love to see, though, would be some gameplay, but so far there’s none to be seen.

Orphan

Did you ever play LIMBO? Of course you did. It was a really nice game, I played it, and I even wrote a review. And perhaps you saw War of the Worlds? With the exception of it starring madman Tom Cruise, it’s a great movie. Now what if you could play a game that combines LIMBO and War of the Worlds?

Orphan might be that game. It’s a classically styled 2D action platformer where you play as a young boy, presumably the sole survivor of an overnight alien invasion. You will sneak across the countryside through open fields and dense forests, over dangerous mountains and through lush valleys, ducking behind rocks and trees all while being pursued by an army of machines designed to destroy all life. However the machines have their weaknesses and they carry powerful weapons that you may be able to use against them.

The main risk about Orphan is that it’s a one man show. The developer has been working on Orphan part-time for the past year. Another year of development time is needed for level design, the creation of additional weapons and enemies and the implementation of sound and music. And of course he does almost all the work himself. I’m not sure if the creator of Orphan will manage to raise the money he needs before the deadline either, but fingers crossed he will.

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