Back to Back: indie RPGs to fund

With Christmas looming over us and its associated shopping season in full swing, there is relatively little oxygen for indie game announcements (to say nothing of new releases). As I’ve advised developers to do, most indies have hunkered down and now wait quietly for the madness to end. Naturally, this leaves the inbox rather bare for the moment.

Before goes to sleep for the holidays, I want to know: what happened to those daredevil developers who waited until the last minute to run their campaigns? We had some successes from the group in our last Back to Back, but just as many casualties. The bright spots in a somewhat bleak landscape were Approaching Infinity, Bloom: Memories, Dex, Elliot Quest, Lords of Xulima, and The Mandate, each of which secured the asked-for funding. Among those which failed were After Reset, Deathfire: The Ruins of NethermoreFestival of Magic (left out of the last Back to Back but covered here), Graywalkers: Purgatory, King Voxel, and The Memory of Eldurîm, which puts the success rate at 50%.

However, the success rate is actually worse given that of the other games we mentioned, nearly all are soon to end well short of their funding goals. They are joined by some other brave souls, at least some of whom will hopefully make it:

  • Astral Terra — poor Astral Terra has raised only $2,000 or so since we last talked about it. There are only 3 days left to raise approximately $41,000 for this Morrowind-style sandbox RPG.
  • Astrobase Command — Astrobase Command puts you in command of your own space station, with procedurally generated story elements and the ability to customize your station as you see fit. AC has raised more money than Astral Terra and has 7 days left, but its high funding goal means that it is nonetheless even further away from being funded.
  • Dead Century — another attempt at an RPG / comic book hybrid; ironically, though, Dead Century looks like it could be the one to actually survive. It’s raised over $7,000 and has 37 days left to go; if anything stops it, it’ll be its hefty $95,000 funding goal.
  • Fall of the Republic: The World After — for this one, let’s start with the plot premise. After Texas leads a mass secession from the United States, civil war wracks the country and leaves it in ruins. Fall of the Republic seems to be going for a gritty feel with detailed 3D models. All the more surprising, then, that it should be made in RPG Maker! The game’s 3D character sprites look hilarious in exploration mode, juxtaposed as they are with the game’s cartoony 2D backgrounds. Perhaps the weirdest planned feature here is offering multiple combat systems that the player can choose from. Fall of the Republic has 19 days to raise a little more than $9,000.
  • Fight the Dragon — shucks, it looks like somebody knows how to write a succinct game description! I quote: “a 3D Mini Action-RPG (MARPG) in which players journey on short form adventures, hacking and slashing their way through hordes of enemies in search of rare loot and shiny things.” This one has about $47,500 left to raise in the 35 days.
  • Heroes of Issachar — a “faith-based” action RPG. The logo for the developer is a big cross, the game’s trailer is prominently labeled “Christian Game,” and in case you still don’t get the picture, here is the plot premise: “Throughout the course of the game, the hero will recover lost pieces of the Bible. From the beginning of the story to the end, the gospel is revealed to the player through the scripture that is recovered.” Okay, okay, we get it. Jesus. (Literally!) Heroes of Issachar has 12 days to raise another $31,500.
  • LaQuisha’s Odyssey — self-described as a retro-styled RPG “so gay it’s beyond the rainbow,” LO stars the titular LaQuisha, a “bearded drag queen.” This could have been an agreeably weird RPG, but unfortunately, I think the author might not be entirely clear on the definition of “RPG.” The mock-up, description, and examples of similar games (Leisure Suit Larry, King’s Quest and Space Quest) lead me to conclude that this is proooooobably just a point-and-click adventure game. I’d tell you to proceed with caution, but seeing as it’s only 12% funded with roughly an hour remaining, that probably won’t be necessary.
  • Mansion Lord — an odd-looking digital board game / RPG hybrid themed around a murder mystery dinner, featuring spatial turn-based battles and level-able characters. I have hope that this one is going to make it; it has only $9,000 left to raise in the next 6 days.
  • My Little Dictator — like Dead Century, this one’s an RPG / comic book (er, excuse me, “visual novel”) hybrid. It bills itself as a “romantic comedy” set in a fictionalized version of World War 2 Europe. My Little Dictator’s raised a lot less money than Dead Century so far, but it also has a dramatically lower funding goal. MLD has £4,500 to raise in the next 22 days.
  • Starship Tranquility — billed as a sci-fi RPG, Starship Tranquility has a super-low $1,000 funding goal. However, it has raised only $182 with 12 days remaining–for that, I blame an eye-gouging art style and an in-browser demo page absolutely crawling with pop-up ads. The game itself could be good for all I know; I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.

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