Back to Back: Indie RPGs to fund

Oh my god, you guys! It’s been a full month since I last posted a Back to Back! What is even happening in the world of indie RPG crowdfunding right now, anyway? Let’s take a look and find out!

Of the games whose campaigns have ended since we covered them last time, only three hit their funding goals: After Reset, Elysian Shadows and Jotun. Unfortunately, this means that Braven Arts, FitRPG, Gravia Tactics, Snot, and Soul Sword RPG did not.

But that’s just an update on last month’s games–what’s new in September? The short answer: a lot. We have something of an indie RPG bumper crop on Kickstarter right now, so get ready for a long read!

  • Age of Grit – a Wild West / steampunk / fantasy RPG with a structure influenced by Joss Whedon’s Firefly (i.e. you play a captain and his motley crew journeying across the world aboard a steam-powered airship). Combat will of the turn-based, airship-to-airship variety; from the early footage, it reminds me of FTL more than anything. Age of Grit is mostly funded, with a little more than $3,000 left to raise in the next 21 days.
  • Band Saga – a delightfully weird-looking action roguelike-like in which you alternate shooting your way through procedurally generated death labyrinths and touring around as a band, playing gigs. I have absolutely no idea what to think of it, frankly, beyond the fact that I think it has a great pixel art style. There is already a 13-track LP out with the game’s soundtrack. Band Saga has about $23,000 of its $29,000 funding goal left to raise within the next 27 days.
  • Celestial Tear: Demon’s Revenge – you’ve gotta hand it to the Demon’s Revenge developers (now evidently known as White Guardian Studios); these guys are 100% committed to getting this game funded! If I’m not mistaken, I believe this will be their third attempt. Luckily, their game looks better and better every time I see it; there’s some genuinely impressive pixel art and animation on display here now, and I can no longer even tell if they’re using RPG Maker based on their footage. What’s more, they’ve released a free demo. Good stuff! Celestial Tear: Demon’s Revenge has 28 days in which to raise a little over $11,000, and I can think of no good reason why it shouldn’t hit its goal.
  • CodeSpells – I was fooled at first, but from what I can tell, this is not an RPG. A 3D sandbox game with a very literal title, CodeSpells will let you create your own spells from scratch with behavior that you define through scripts, interacting with a procedurally generated world that has deformable terrain and physics. It’s very impressive tech, but not much more: based on the campaign’s description, it seems the developers are more interested in creating a fantasy-themed sandbox than a properly fleshed-out RPG experience. (The game does not appear to even have AI-controlled enemies, let alone a basic storyline.) That’s apparently enough for some people, though, as CodeSpells is already halfway funded with 29 days remaining.
  • Ironcast – a bit of an oddball, this one; this is a steampunk, mech-based, turn-based tactics game. You fashion upgrades out of the pieces of your defeated enemies, and regenerate ammo based on a Match 3 minigame. The developers say that it has a roguelike “campaign mode,” though their description of the mode makes it sound like something far short of a true roguelike experience. Ironcast is nearly halfway to its £10,000 ($16,346) goal with 28 days remaining.
  • Legend of Lotus – an RPG Maker jRPG with “a dash of steampunk” detailing a war between humans and elves. While there is definitely heavy reliance on non-original graphics here, there are original animated battle sprites, and all characters in the game will have their own unique portraits (reportedly, there are already 600 portraits / portrait variations in the game!) There’s a free demo if you want to try it out. Legend of Lotus is more than 90% of the way to hitting its modest $2,000 funding goal with 10 days remaining.
  • Mark of War – a fantasy strategy title that, sadly, is not about a random guy named Mark forced to go to war. The game is a digital imagining of a traditional tabletop war game, and I think it looks quite cool. I can only assume that the developers were hoping to capture the same lightning in a bottle that Warmachine Tactics did; but unfortunately, Mark of War has one hell of a fight ahead of it if it’s going to hit its whopping $500,000 funding goal in the next 20 days.
  • Moon Hunters – previously covered here, Moon Hunters is an action RPG with some lovely pixel art graphics, a branching reputation system, and support for local co-op. Moon Hunters has more than doubled its goal with 21 days left on the clock.
  • Phoenix Dawn – a mobile RPG in which you play a young witch by the name of Phoenix. The Kickstarter is light on mechanics details, though the creator cites the Diablo series as an influence. The world will be procedurally generated each time, and there is reportedly a combinatorial spell system that can produce over 100 different spells out of 15 base incantations. The game has a little less than $24,000 left to raise within the next 24 days.
  • Star Traders 2 – the ever-ubiquitous Trese Brothers are at it again, now funding a sequel to 2012’s Star Traders RPG (covered here) and June’s Star Traders 4X Empires. The basic gist remains similar: “Captain a ship, hand-pick a crew, and roam freely through a complex universe with freedom of choice in your goals, morality, and career.” The big new twist seems to be a stronger focus on simulated character personalities and individualized relationships. Interesting stuff. Star Traders 2 has already raised nearly $12,000 of its $50,000 goal with 29 days left to go.
  • Warlocks — a co-op, 2D, side-scrolling action RPG (with an apparent emphasis on “action”). Class selection, leveling, boss fights and procedurally generated loot seem to be the main pillars of the experience here. Warlocks has about $22,500 left to raise in the next 27 days.


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