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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 which ones didn’t – and, where possible, offer links to the projects as they are developed. 

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

Games Seeking Funding

Battle Chef Brigade
Developer: Trinket Studios
Fundraising Goal: $38,000
Funds Due By: October 27

Imagine a 2D Monster Hunter game inspired by Cooking Mama and designed by the Legend of Korra and Studio Ghibli animators. If you’re like us and have no imagination, take a look at Battle Chef Brigade. In Trinket Studios’ genre-mashing PC game, a cooking competition pits hunter-chefs against one another in a challenge that breaks the divide between the arena and the kitchen. The side-scrolling action and culinary combination elements, along with an endearing anime style and full original soundtrack, make it one to watch.

Battle Chef Brigade is already fully funded, but a lot of stretch goals still vie for your dollar, including voiceover work, more playable characters, and extra language localization. It’s currently a PC exclusive with no console stretch goals as of yet, but Trinket’s self-proclaimed interests lie in branching out to other platforms.

Beyond Human
Developer: Dominique Hendricks, David Morales Hernandez, Michael Kelly
Fundraising Goal: €20,000 ($25,352.70 USD)
Funds Due By: October 31

The Metroidvania genre is often inundated with titles, choking much opportunity for the quality titles to gain traction. Beyond Human puts a slightly unique spin on it by adding elements of Mega Man and Devil May Cry to the mix.

Beyond Human stars Adam, a silent protagonist who wakes up from a coma in the year 2099 with no idea about the world around him. Players control Adam as he explores the world in search of answers. Suffice to say the story isn’t the game’s selling point. The attraction to Beyond Human comes from its blend of shooter, melee, and exploration aspects. It features Metroidvania style progression with monumental boss battles—a combo that could help it stick out in a pretty big crowd.

The Black Glove
Developer: Day For Night Games
Fundraising Goal: $550,000
Funds Due By: November 7

When Irrational Games effectively disbanded earlier this year, some of its members got to thinking about their next project. That discourse resulted in The Black Glove, a “surrealistic, first-person” game set in The Equinox, a 1920s-themed theater somewhere in (or outside of) time. The player’s job is to restore The Equinox—and its resident creators—to artistic prominence.

The core gameplay includes completing challenges in a number of minigames, which then allows the player to use the Black Glove, a mysterious glove that can alter the work of three creators present in The Equinox (an artist, a musician, and a filmmaker). Through some wibbly-wobbly quantum mechanics, players change the course of the creators’ careers, influencing their Medium, Message, or Muse to affect their work in the “present.”

Black The Fall
Developer: Sand Sailor Studio
Fundraising Goal: £25,000 GBP ($40,206.50 USD)
Funds Due By: October 31

Sand Sailor’s Limbo-inspired game is self-proclaimed as many things: a “2.75D” sidescroller, a game about choice, and a metaphor for the four-person team’s personal experiences growing up in a communist country. What can be said about the game without playing it is that its art style, most immediately reminiscent of Limbo’s silhouetted appearance, lends itself to the oppressive atmosphere of the game. Expressive character animation gives it a sardonically lighthearted vibe, stark in contrast to its grave subject matter.

In addition to having a distinct art style, Black The Fall features a reputation system in which the way you play dictates the way the game responds. If you’re aggressive towards an NPC, maybe he’ll trip an alarm that exposes you to enemies. If you’re gentler with the natives, though, they might help you out by showing you secret areas.

The Flame in the Flood
Developer: The Molasses Flood
Fundraising Goal: $150,000
Funds Due By: November 6

Developed by another studio formed in the wake of the Irrational downsizing, The Flame in the Flood imagines a post-America in which it isn’t quite clear how it came to an end (“with a bang or a whimper?” asks the Kickstarter page). The game features a soundtrack by alt-country rock artist Chuck Ragan and a storybook art style that give the appearance of an atmospheric experience.

Looting, crafting, and traversal mechanics maintain gameplay as players traverse a procedurally generated river through backwater America toward an untold end. Survival is paramount: weather, wilderness, and other survivors can present obstacles to the player’s journey. A light permadeath system in which supplies are carried over from the time of your last death gives The Flame in the Flood a “rogue-lite” tension. Check out Matt Helgeson's feature to learn more about the story behind The Flame in the Flood and its developers.

H.P. Lovecraft – The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
Developer: Senscape
Fundraising Goal: $250,000
Funds Due By: October 31

Games inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft (like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth and Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem) have traditionally gone to great lengths to imagine some of his definitively unimaginable horrors. They usually include insanity, gruesome death, and a lot of tentacles. Not so with Senscape’s hopeful attempt.

Based on the posthumous book of the same name (which was the only novel Lovecraft ever wrote), The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is an attempt to bring Lovecraft’s works back to their psychologically, cosmically demented roots. Senscape’s game features no weapons, enemies, running, or even dying. It’s a point-and-click adventure game that relies on mood and setting rather than jump scares and gory creatures. The team has also pursued the copyright to the story, which would make Charles Dexter the first-ever officially licensed Lovecraft video game.

Human Resources
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Fundraising Goal: $1,400,000
Funds Due By: November 4

Uber Entertainment’s take on the RTS genre sees players controlling either monsters or robots fighting for control of (what’s left of) Earth. Humanity plays a pretty significant but not active role: both monster and mech factions use humans as resources to gain ground.

The game boasts a clean-looking art style reminiscent of Spartan comic art with a slight cel-shaded flair. The team also claims to blend the gameplay of Command & Conquer with the huge battles of Annihilation. We’ll see how that pans out if the game reaches its mammoth asking price.

No Pineapple Left Behind
Developer: Subaltern Games
Fundraising Goal: $35,000
Funds Due By: October 24

“Pineapples are very simple,” says the body of the No Pineapple Left Behind Kickstarter page. “Children are way more complicated and have needs and feelings.” There is, however, a relationship between pineapple and child: If left unattended, pineapples turn into children. As principal of the school where this freakish nature-bending is commonplace, it’s up to you to decide whether to invest the time to grow children’s minds… or to just grow some pineapples.

The game’s mechanics boil down to a resource-management system. Your decisions as principal are paramount to the success or failure of your school, from cooking the books (and lying about test scores to get more state funding) to dealing with late school bus headaches. Players have to manage and monitor the risks and rewards of cultivating children’s minds, (which is more difficult but results in better test scores), taking the easy way out (pineapples can, apparently, get C’s), and raising or lowering teachers’ salaries (or firing them altogether).

Developer: Turbo Pixel
Fundraising Goal: $360,000 AUD ($321,444 USD)
Funds Due By: October 19

Arena shooters were once thought to be lost to the rising tide of massive PvP gaming. The staff at Melbourne’s Turbo Pixel wants to be part of the renaissance by developing a tight, fast-paced arena FPS. They’re trying to include online multiplayer with dedicated servers, a plethora of game modes, and highly responsive input to evoke a nostalgic experience that still feels fresh.

Reflex is built on a custom engine shooting for 120fps, so even if it doesn’t look much like arena shooters of yore, it should be able to emulate the feeling of one. It’s a pretty straightforward endeavor, but the amount of effort Turbo Pixel is putting into it doesn’t look like it’s going to waste.

Developer: Plexcom
Fundraising Goal: $50,000
Funds Due By: October 31

The longer that Capcom postpones making another Mega Man game, the more games inspired by Big Blue will appear on Kickstarter. Mighty No. 9 was a resoundingly successful campaign, and now Virus hopes to carry on the torch in its own way.

Virus is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a fan continuation of the Mega Man X series: a leveling system with a skill tree, upgradable weapons and armor, secret areas, and semi-linear progression. The fluid animation, fast pacing, and tight controls are the tools Plexcom is using in the hopes of doing Mega Man fans proud.

[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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