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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 Christian Belland, Alissa McAloon, Jon Gregory, Elise Favis, Matthew Stolpe, Jason Dafnis, Wayne Stainrook, Cameron Koch, Isaac Federspiel, Katie Seville, Liz Lanier, Kayla Herrera, Ali Rapp, Mike Mahardy, and Matt Miller.]

Projects Seeking Funding

Boma Naraka Sura
Developer: Anantarupa Studio
Fundraising Goal: $25,000
Funds Due By: August 12

There are plenty of Metroid-style games out there, but Boma Naraka Sura might be the first based on Southeast Asian mythology. The story follows a young girl named Sveta who awakens in the lowest level of the underworld with no memories. There, she teams up with the imprisoned and enigmatic entity Bomantara. This being also has unfinished business, so the two set out to reclaim their memories and fight through the six realms of the world. As Sveta regains fragments of her memories, she can upgrade her abilities and craft new equipment. Additionally, she can meet and recruit mythical beasts from real-world scripture to fight by her side. Like any good Metroid-style adventure, unlocking new skills will enable Sveta to discover new areas and secrets.

Cross Reverie: The Trial of Nightmare
Developer: Sinxsoft
Fundraising Goal: $47,724
Funds Due By: August 5

Anyone itching for a traditional turn-based JRPG should check out Cross Reverie. Sinxsoft is taking nods from classics like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest to push the genre forward. The conditional turn-based battle is reminiscent of Final Fantasy X, while the Stigma system seems to be inspired by Materia. With eight characters and three Stigma slots each, you can customize your party in any direction. Visuals are colorful with bold lines and anime-inspired designs. Gameplay is from a top-down perspective, just like the PlayStation-era RPGs that defined the era. Cross Reverie’s stretch goals are ambitious, too. The team wants to add character transformations for all eight protagonists, an optional superboss for the hardcore players, and even two additional story arcs.

Devastated Dreams
Developer: Infinitap
Fundraising Goal: $115,896
Funds Due By: August 16

From the creator of the disturbing Neverending Nightmares, Matt Gilgenbach is currently crowdfunding his second foray into the horror genre. Devastated Dreams is based in Filipino folklore, partly inspired by Gilgenbach’s own travels to the country. The game follows Angel, a Filipino woman suffering from anxiety about parenthood and pregnancy. She has a string of interconnected nightmares which take her to real-life locations in the Philippines. All the while, she is haunted by vicious monsters known as aswang. Some of these demons feed on fetuses and infants, representative of Angel’s own fears. The atmosphere in Devastated Dreams is dense and wholly oppressive. The inky black darkness was suffocating in the demo I played, while eerie sound design enhanced the dread-inducing visuals. Those who were disappointed by Neverending Nightmares’ underdeveloped narrative will be happy to hear that Angel’s journey will be the focus of Devastated Dreams.

The Last Time
Developer: Big Cow Studios
Fundraising Goal: $6,208
Funds Due By: August 12

The Last Time isn’t shy about its influences. True to the campaign’s headline, the short demo evokes Quantic Dream and Telltale Games in spades. This narrative-driven point and click adventure focuses on smart dialogue, nonlinear plotting, and interpersonal relationships. Dialogue trees branch out depending on player choices. The decision to say something seemingly innocuous, for example, might have repercussions further down the road. Players assume the role of Jack Glover, a retired police officer traumatized by a crime from decades before. A surprise phone call from his old life drags him back into the modern world where Jack must fight his flaws or give into them, depending on player choice. The Last Time is a one-man project that’s a love letter to both old-school point-and-click adventures and modern, branching storytelling.

Pixel Ripped 1989
Developer: Pixel Ripped
Fundraising Goal: $61,957
Funds Due By: August 14

All Nicola wants to do is play her Gear Girl video game system. Too bad she’s stuck in class. Pixel Ripped 1989 tasks players with sneaking in some gaming time all while avoiding the teacher and finding Easter eggs in the classroom. Built from the ground-up for VR, Pixel Ripped 1989 uses head-tracking to simulate just how dire a situation Nicola is in. Pay close attention to the teacher at the front of the room, and then look down at your Gear Girl to play through the game-within-a-game (also called Pixel Ripped). Be careful, though – if the teacher catches you looking down at your video game, you’ll get in trouble. There are no stretch goals for this campaign, but Pixel Ripped 1989 is just the first installment in a forthcoming series. The team also has Pixel Ripped 1979 in the works, which plucks Nicola out of school and into her childhood living room with her Fauxtari 2600. As of this writing, the Oculus Rift for PC is supported and the developers “will be negotiating with the manufacturers” to explore other platforms and headsets. A non-VR version is in the works exclusively for backers. An Oculus Gear VR version is also being developed.

Red Ash – The Indelible Legend
Developer: Comcept USA
Fundraising Goal: $800,000
Funds Due By: August 3

Keiji Inafune’s second crowdfunding attempt after the success of his Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter, Red Ash is the developer’s attempt to blend classic Japanese animation with modern video gaming. The Red Ash team is headed by two key directors from Mega Man Legends, so this open world project has a strong pedigree. Like Mega Man Legends, Red Ash is a third-person action game with shooter elements. Beck and Tyger, two treasure hunters called Delvers, scavenge for Lost Technology in the ruins of the old world. When they learn of something called the “Legendary Legacy” hidden within the massive weapon Mobile Citadel KalKanon, they decide to search for it. There’s a catch – KalKanon will be destroyed in 14 hours by the overzealous defenders of the city Great Slope. Inafune aims to take the fundamentals of action adventure RPGs and infuse them with more modern design ideas. Specifically, Red Ash seeks to mix RPG elements with open-world freedom, meaningful NPC interactions, and even horror. You can find the anime that also takes place in the world of Red Ash here.

Shenmue 3
Developer: Ys Net
Fundraising Goal: $2,000,000
Funds Due By: July 17

Shenmue 3 joins a growing list of games that found massive, unprecedented success on Kickstarter: Mighty No. 9, Bloodstained, and Yooka-Laylee, to name a few. Shortly after the announcement during Sony’s E3 press conference, Shenmue 3 found itself wrapped up in controversy. Ys Net’s initial misinformation about Sony’s involvement in the project did not stop the campaign from becoming a juggernaut, however. With about four hours to go at the time of this writing, Shenmue 3 is sitting on nearly triple its two million dollar goal. As far as the game itself is concerned, there aren’t many details. Shenmue 3 will continue Ryo Hazuki’s quest to avenge his father, all with “familiar elements from its predecessors and new fight mechanics to achieve a new level of interactive storytelling.” Time will tell if Shenmue 3 will be as groundbreaking as the first two titles.

Developer: Magic Guiso
Fundraising Goal: $40,000
Funds Due By: August 8

The world of Skyrider is both fantastical and grounded in reality. A massive, gleaming city in the sky looms over a shattered planet. The rich live in the luxury of this so-called AirCitadel. Impoverished workers live on the ground below, mining for resources and sedated by an exploitative TV broadcast from above. Noki is a citizen of AirCitadel who gets cast out when he tries to help these poor folks. Now, Noki and his personal drone ROBOTO must fight and climb their way back to the city. Skyrider is a gorgeous platformer with a twist: Players control both Noki and ROBOTO at the same time. The drone can lay down platforms so Noki can clear otherwise impossible jumps, as well as shield him from projectiles and fight airborne enemies. Noki, on the other hand, must collect energy so his faithful friend can perform these actions.

Developer: Frogsong Studios
Fundraising Goal: $25,000
Funds Due By: July 31, 2015

Spellsworn takes the arcane gameplay of Magicka and combines it with the tactical mind of a MOBA. Based on an old Warcraft III mod, Spellsworn is a competitive arena-style combat game where spells react dynamically with one another and the battlefield is constantly shrinking. The main game mode so far is a simple king-of-the-hill match, with capture the flag and more in development. Lava slowly encroaches on the field of play, forcing combatants closer and closer together. These cramped quarters are coupled with spells that can be used both offensively and defensively. Reflect spells can turn a fireball back on its caster, while summoning a stone pillar will block projectiles and can also be used to trap an opponent. Aesthetic customization is another focus of Spellsworn, allowing you to stand out in the arena with different wizard types. There will be multiple skins for characters and weapons as well as custom banners. Spellsworn will be free-to-play, but Frogsong is committed to keeping things fair. The studio promises that there will be no way to pay for any sort of competitive advantage.

Yum Yum Yummy
Developer: bacu-bacu
Fundraising Goal: $5,555
Funds Due By: August 4

Yum Yum Yummy is a deceptively complex puzzler where players must swap and match tiles to feed some cute, hungry animals. The gameplay is straightforward, especially for anyone that has played a match three before. Each of the four basic animals will only eat a certain type of food. For example, the only way to clear carrot tiles off the board is to move a rabbit next to them. The different food blocks above will fall, possibly starting a chain reaction. Players must plan their moves out in advance, because it’s very easy to get stuck with five bamboo tiles and no pandas left. On top of the four basic animals, bacu-bacu is designing three special animals to complicate certain levels. The lion tile will eat adjacent animals, while pig tiles will eat any food around them. Yum Yum Yummy seeks to differentiate itself from the frantic pace of games like Candy Crush by presenting complex puzzles without a focus on quick completion. The game encourages players to think through problems and predict how the board will react.

[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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