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The Kickstarter Compendium

Our regularly revised feature keeps you up to date on the Kickstarter games worth watching, and helps you track projects both before and after they’re funded.

Welcome to the Kickstarter Compendium, a gathering of games and game-related projects that we’ve come across that deserve your attention. The crowd-funding model for video games has resulted in some fascinating new game ideas, and new projects are going up on a weekly basis that deserve your attention. 

The only problem is keeping track of it all – what’s worth watching, and what are these different projects about? As an ongoing feature, our Kickstarter Compendium is your guide to games seeking funding through Kickstarter. After funding projects are complete, this feature will also track what games (and game-related projects) got funded and what games didn’t, and where possible, offer links to the projects as they are developed. 

[Editor's Note: This feature was co-written by Wayne Stainrook, Cameron Koch, Isaac Federspiel, Katie Seville, Liz Lanier, Kayla Herrera, Ali Rapp, Mike Mahardy, and Matt Miller.]

Games Seeking Funding

Aegis Defenders
Developer: Guts Department
Fundraising Goal: $65,000
Funds Due By: September 3

A tale of grandfather Bart and granddaughter Clu, Aegis Defenders puts you in the role of the two explorers in search of a relic that can save their world, the Aegis. They must use their respective engineering and combat skills to defeat a host of enemies across a beautifully animated world.

The game's already been funded, but the stretch goals for local co-op and two additional characters, the monk and assassin, sound way too cool to forgo. With enough funding, Aegis Defenders will also come to PlayStation 4 and Wii U, where four-player cooperative adventuring would feel right at home.

Boss Monster
Developer: Brotherwise Games
Fundraising Goal: $85,000
Funds Due By: September 12

After a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring its card game to life in physical form, Brotherwise Games is back to bring its video game-inspired card game to mobile devices. As card games continue to gain traction in digital spaces, this one is worthy of attention for any fans of classic NES titles.

In Boss Monster, you play as the boss of a dungeon against other bosses. You build a dungeon by laying down a trail of cards to build space between you and invading heroes. You must balance difficulty of your dungeon rooms with loot rewards to entice the heroes to advance. The first player to defeat 10 heroes or surviving after heroes have slain all their opponents wins. Release is planned for iPad and Android tablets so please back it because I want to play.

Cavern Kings
Developer: Vine
Fundraising goal: $2,500
Funds Due By: August 31

"An endless and explosive game about digging your own grave" is one of the best pitches to grace Kickstarter, and the trailer for Cavern Kings certainly lives up to its tagline. In Cavern Kings, you take control of one of four characters and see how far down you can burrow into a cavern full of increasingly more difficult enemies, taking them down using weapons and power-ups that stick indefinitely.

It's already almost quadrupled its funding goal, but it's still a bit of a ways away from a stretch goal that would double the available power-ups from 50 to 100. It's also hit its stretch goal for online co-op, which would mean twice as much mayhem for you and your friends.

Elysian Shadows
Developer: Elysian Shadow Team
Fundraising Goal: $150,000
Funds Due By: August 31

From reading the Kickstarter listing, Elysian Shadows aims to be the Shovel Knight of RPGs: an homage to a bygone era littered with frustrating mechanics alleviated with modern sensibilities. Imagine a pixelated Paper Mario aesthetic with nods to 16-bit Squaresoft RPGs like Secret of Mana, and that's the gist of this game.

Bringing together Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis inspired soundtrack with an impressive lighting system, the Elysian Shadows team wants to bring its game to PC, iOS, Android, as well as Ouya and Dreamcast. For any old-school JRPG fan, this one is definitely worth checking out.

The Hum
Developer: Ariel Arias
Fundraising Goal: $250,000 NZD
Funds Due By: September 30

A first-person Oculus Rift horror game about an alien invasion - need we say more? Though the developer is flirting with just how many traditional game elements (like item crafting) to include in the game, it looks like a title that could herald a new golden age of horror games along with Silent Hills and Alien: Isolation.

Kaptain Brawe 2: A Space Travesty
Developer: Cateia Games
Fundraising Goal: $75,000
Funds Due By: September 11

A point-and-click adventure throwback, Kaptain Brawe not only channels the spirit of games like The Curse of Monkey Island, it's brought to life by Monkey Island artist Bill Tiller. Expect plenty of wacky comedy as you help Brawe escape from his frozen prison on an ice planet as he tries to stop Ursula Unsula from taking over the second-smallest planet in the universe.

Available for free, you can play the interlude between the first game and this sequel, Kaptain Brawe: An Unexpected Intermission, downloadable on the Kickstarter page. With fully voiced dialogue and a cast of colorful characters, Kaptain Brawe 2 looks to continue the tradition of classic PC games for a new generation.

Kôna
Developer: Parabole
Fundraising Goal: $40,000 CAD
Funds Due By: September 6

Few games manage to make their setting a memorable character in and of itself, but Kôna's 1970 Quebec already makes a haunting impression. Explore the quiet, snowy town of Cree as private investigator Carl Faubert and unravel the mysterious disappearance of its citizens.

Night Trap ReVamped
Developer: Night Trap LLC
Fundraising Goal: $330,000
Funds Due By: September 9

HD remasters of video games are nothing new, but for a full-motion video game, especially the infamous Night Trap, that's not quite so common. The controversial Sega CD horror game that help incite a Senate hearing on video game violence puts you in the shoes of a S.C.A.T. agent sent to rescue a group of teens from the haunted Martin house, turning its perilous traps against the Auger monsters.

Ray's The Dead
Developer: Ragtag Studio
Fundraising Goal: $30,000
Funds Due By: September 21

Ragtag studios has an impressive track record; the team's credits include Halo Wars, Thief: Deadly Shadows, and Stubbs the Zombie. Together, they want to make a game akin to Pikmin with classic adventure game brand of humor.

You play as Ray, both in human and undead form, as you try to piece together how he came to be zombified. Along the way, you'll recruit zombies to your cause (by infecting the unsuspecting living), each with their own abilities, all the while listening to the synth sounds of musical artists like Shovel Knight's Jake Kaufman and admiring the hand-drawn characters.

The Sun Also Rises
Developer: Horse Volume
Fundraising Goal: $15,000
Funds Due By: September 6

Borrowing the name of the Ernest Hemingway novel, The Sun Also Rises describes itself as "a different kind of war game." Based on the project's plans, it's easy to see how Horse Volume wants to make a mature war game beyond hails of bullets and gore.

The Sun Also Rises uses passive multiplayer, meaning the actions you take as one of the three characters - the medic, the analyst, or the boy - affect the outcomes of other players' stories. Using a low-poly graphical style, The Sun Also Rises tackles post-tramatic stress disorder, sexism and nationalism.

Tetropolis
Developer: Next Gen Pants
Fundraising goal: $50,000
Funds Due By: September 15

As much as some might malign the "Metroidvania" naming convention for games (it only describes a game in relation to two other games), it serves a purpose in that it gets a game design idea across quickly. Now, what would your reaction be if I told you a developer seeks to reinvent the genre with a "Tetroidvania" game?

Tetropolis unshackles the tetromino from its downward gravitational pitfall and puts the puzzle piece into a world in which the player must shift the shape into its multiple variants to progress. Oh, yeah, and the entire world map itself is composed of tetrominos that you can rearrange, so you're essentially playing a platformer within a puzzle. Plus, there's a free demo available for you to try out.

Vagante
Developer: Nuke Nine
Fundraising Goal: $50,000
Funds Due By: September 29

Citing Castlevania and Diablo as influences, Vagante is a 2D procedurally generated game in which you adventure into a cave using classes like mages or knights to earn treasure. There's a playable demo, so you can check out for yourself how the leveling up system and skills trees and abilities work.

[NEXT UP: Peruse the numerous games that have been successfully funded through Kickstarter, and track their progress after funding is complete]

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