While platformers tend to be all mascots, all the time, there used to be another type that was aimed towards a more mature audience. Not the “blood and boobs and swearing” type of mature but rather a more adult story and movement system to match. The classics of this genre were the Prince of Persia games, Out of this World, and Flashback, plus a good case can be made to add Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssee and Exoddus to the list. It was a type of platformer that slowly faded into obscurity as the Mario-style and 3D adventures took over, but Lunark has been running on Kickstarter for almost a month now in an attempt to create a new entry for the lost sub-genre.
Lunark is the story of humanity that’s left Earth behind and rebuilt on a new planet, which sounded like a good idea at the time. Over the years the new homeworld has been dominated by a totalitarian regime, a rebellion has sprung up against the government, and the planet itself has mysteries that seem likely to involve aliens who were there long before humanity showed up. Into this delicate situation falls Leo, an orphan and semi-outcast, pulled into the coming conflict whether he likes it or not. Thankfully, like all of life’s major problems, it’s a situation that can be dealt with by a whole lot of jumping backed up with a bit of gun-play. The action is standard for this type of game, in that once you’ve jumped you’re traveling to the end of the arc whether you like it or not, because physics. The lo-res art is beautifully animated, giving the sprites a sense of detail far outside of what they’d otherwise have, and the cut-scenes are fully rotoscoped. Tie that to a story that everything shown so far looks like has just enough detail to keep the action moving and provide a bit of personality to the characters and you’ve got a game that has a nice shot of living up to its inspirations.
Lunark is running on Kickstarter for a little over two more days at the time of this writing, and at this rate should clear its initial funding goal in a couple of hours. Head on over to take a look, and maybe help the game see a stretch goal or two.