With the end of the Skyjacker Kickstarter sputtering to a halt, it seemed time to put the service aside for a while and do other things. Everything that I personally cared about was over, and the remainder was mostly iOS, free-to-play, or just too short on info to actually consider commenting on. And then, the day after Skyjacker finished, Volgarr the Viking showed up.
Volgarr the Viking is planned as a complete throwback to the kind of game you’d get on the Genesis, influenced heavily by Super Ghouls & Ghosts and Rastan. Walk left to right, explore the levels for goodies and power-ups that appear equipped on the character until a hit knocks them off, and eviscerate enemies using a set of smooth, well animated moves. It’s still very early, with all level art being placeholder, but everything on display shows that the developers have a good sense of how these types of games actually work. The stretch goal in particular shows a good amount of thought put into it, being an alternate path through the game consisting of remixed versions of the levels with bonus challenges. And for those with a bit of spare cash, the Collector’s Edition in the recycled Genesis case is a thing of beauty.
While Volgarr looks promising, it takes more than one game to make a good week. Showing up a couple of days later was Knock-knock by Ice-Pick Lodge. Knock-knock is a bizarre-looking game about surviving the night with sanity intact in a house overrun by terrible things. Gameplay details are a bit sparse at this point, but the art style looks great and the mostly-2D house holds plenty of horribly twisted creatures to hide from and defend against. It’s worth noting that the lowest donation tier at $5 does actually get you a full copy of the game, despite the phrasing. Ice-Pick Lodge is Russian, and the English phrasing that describes that tier came out a bit wrong.
Finally, wrapping up the week was the appearance of Castle Story. This one apparently caught a lot of people’s attention, judging by the way it cleared $250,000 in three days, easily tripling its goal. It’s a combination RTS/builder, using rectangular blocks and decent physics to allow construction techniques that wouldn’t work with the usual cubes of the Minecraft-styled games. You have your guys harvest resources from floating islands and then construct castles any way you’d like, so long as your construction can be defended against whatever enemies may attack. Combining the free-form nature of a sandbox building game with decent RTS mechanics, and topping that off with a cute look and creative possibilities, make for a fairly irresistible package.
While the usual disclaimers apply (games are a long ways from complete, good intentions don’t necessarily make for good gameplay, caveat emptor, etc.), those are still three fantastic looking titles, loaded with promise and backed either by developers with consistent track records or at least have gone out of their way to prove they know what they’re doing. After the first wave of post-Double Fine Kickstarters came to an end it looked like it was time to let the service rest for a while, but projects like these should ensure a healthy future for the Video Game tab.
Oh, and while you’re there, check out Moon Intern. It looks nicely weird.