Operation Backlog Completion 2017

Jan 312016
 

Mr-WindowI’ve received another review request, this time of a mobile game called Mr. Window.

In Mr. Window, your goal is to clean windows (hence the title). You progress up the side of a building with two columns of windows and move from one column to the other by swiping left or right on the touchscreen. Everything is presented with simple pixel graphics.

The column you’re in determines which windows you clean, and you must clean every dirty window. Even letting one pass you uncleaned ends the game. (Curiously, the instructions tell you to “only clean the dirty windows,” which can be a little misleading as it suggests something bad will happen if you clean windows that are already clean.)

Some windows have obstacles, such as a boy brandishing a baseball bat or an angry cat. This might not be the nicest building to live in… and washing its windows is even worse, as you’ll lose the game if you collide with one of these obstacles. Therefore, you have to be careful, especially when a dirty window is right beneath a dangerous one.

The higher you climb, the faster you go, which makes it more difficult to dodge obstacles while also getting every single window.

As you earn points, you’ll be awarded with coins. Coins are also given to you if you watch a video advertisement or give the game a positive rating. If you earn enough coins, you can buy different characters to use instead of the default window-washer. These alternate characters range from a female character to a wizard. There’s plenty of variety.

Mr. Window is a simple game. If you enjoy trying to beat your high score in games, you’ll find yourself wanting to play again to see if you can get further than you did the time before. And since you can earn coins within the game to buy new characters with, you have a goal to shoot for beyond just achieving a higher score.

It’s not really the sort of game I stick with for long, because I’m not much of one for trying to beat my high score. And let’s face it, I favor story-driven games above all others (yes, there are some exceptions, which is why I go crazy over Bayonetta’s gameplay, for example). Still, there’s an audience out there for these arcade-y sorts of challenges, so if that’s what you like… maybe there’s some high-risk window washing in your future with Mr. Window.


Full disclosure: I was compensated for this post, however the thoughts and opinions given here are my own.

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Jan 292016
 

A-Hat-in-Time-Mafia-Town-1The latest delay of Mighty No. 9 is only one of several events that cast a shadow over Kickstarter games. Yet at the same time, Kickstarter has produced hits like Shovel Knight, Divinity: Original Sin, and Undertale.

Some people have sworn off contributing to video game crowdfunding entirely, while others say it’s perfectly safe as long as you do your research. Since I’ve contributed to several, let’s take a look at my own experiences with crowdfunded games.

(Note: I’m only looking at projects for video games, so others like the Hatoful Boyfriend Plush Project won’t be discussed here.)

Republique

Now, I didn’t actually fund Republique, since I didn’t have the means at the time. However, I encouraged people to in one of my earliest blog posts.

Since then, Republique came out, and I have it in my Steam library waiting for me to play it.

Asylum

The first game I ever backed was Asylum, in 2013. A new adventure game by the creators of Scratches (an excellent horror game) with a Lovecraftian story? I couldn’t resist.

Asylum had a troubled development and numerous scheduling difficulties, so it still isn’t out. Nevertheless, backers receive regular updates, so I know it will come out eventually.

Among the Sleep

Among-the-SleepThe next game I backed was Among the Sleep, a first-person horror game from a child’s perspective.

It sounded fantastic, and best of all, this is another success story! I played Among the Sleep and reviewed it last year, finding it to be creepy and enjoyable.

To the survival horror fans out there, Among the Sleep is worth checking out.

Ghost of a Tale

One of my only non-Kickstarter crowdfunding contributions, went to Ghost of a Tale, which looked like the closest thing I’d ever get to a Redwall game. (Though there’s one of those in development limbo now, too.)

Ghost of a Tale has gameplay inspired by The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls, and it follows the adventure of a brave little mouse.

It didn’t come out in 2015 as planned, but the developer posts regular updates both for backers and on the official website. (I also backed a tier that included physical rewards, and I got those long ago.)

I have a lot of confidence in Ghost of a Tale, and I can’t wait for it to come out.

A Hat in Time

Another one I’m incredibly excited for is A Hat in Time, a 3D platformer in the style of games like Banjo-Kazooie. Not only did I back it and blog about it, I also had a ton of fun with the early builds released to backers.

I even recorded some of the beta.

A lot of time has passed since A Hat in Time’s Kickstarter, but I’ve had enough fun with the beta to be confident about the game’s future.

Soul Saga

I also played the beta for the next game I backed, the RPG Soul Saga. Few things get me as excited as a classic JRPG, and Soul Saga looked like a game I’d love.

That beta build follows Garen, the tragic villain whose story will be included in Soul Saga. While a later build gave us control of the actual main hero, I spent too much time giggling thanks to Tales of Symphonia to actually record Mithos’s saga.

Left: Mithos as he appears in the game. Right: Mithos as he appeared in the Kickstarter.

Left: Mithos as he appears in the game.
Right: Mithos as he appeared in the Kickstarter.

Soul Saga saw some controversy due to its art-style change. After the Kickstarter, the developer went away from the chibi characters initially shown in favor of more realistic proportions.

(The chibi versions of Mithos and Elise will now be available to backers as in-game costumes.)

It doesn’t particularly matter to me, since I don’t play RPGs for their character designs, but it did cast a shadow over Soul Saga.

Soul Saga suffered some setbacks, which made me concerned for a while, but we still get regular updates about it. And, like I said, multiple versions of the beta. I’m still looking forward to it, though not as excited as was before.

Mighty No. 9

Oh boy. Yes, even though I’m not a huge fan of 2D platformers or Mega Man, I got swept up in the hype and backed Mighty No. 9.

It worried me when they announced all sorts of tie-ins, because I thought they should wait for the game to come out before banking on its success. Similarly, the disastrous Red Ash Kickstarter made me wonder why they couldn’t just focus on Might No. 9.

Amid all the worries and delays, I got to play the Mighty No. 9 demo… which reminded me that this isn’t one of my preferred genres, so why did I get involved anyway?

Cosmic Star Heroine

After my list of anticipated games for 2015, anticipated games for 2016, and anticipated turn-based RPGs, it’s probably no surprise to see Cosmic Star Heroine on the list.

Despite its delays, this sci-fi RPG has consistently looked like one of the most polished games I backed. Since I’ve already raved about it recently, I won’t go into all that again… but know that I’m very confident this will 1) be released, and 2) be an excellent game.

Kodama

My first experienced with a failed project was Kodama, a 2D platformer about yokai. I may not love 2D platformers, but I found this Kickstarter during the period when I was championing Yo-Kai Watch and writing “Rokurokubi.” Yokai anything got my attention.

Sadly, not enough people shared my interest. Kodama failed, and I’ve heard nothing about it since. Poor Kodama. I’d love to see it given a second chance…

Source

We’ve now entered my period of crowdfunding bad luck, because next I backed the game Source, a gorgeous Metroidvania. I blogged about it alongside two other games… and they all shared the same fate of Kickstarter failure.

Source is still in development, but news is scarce.

The Eldrich Cases: Dagon

If there’s one thing that gets me running faster than “inspired by Banjo-Kazooie” and “inspired by classic JRPGs,” it’s “inspired by H.P. Lovecraft,” so I backed The Eldritch Cases: Dagon immediately.

Dagon was set to be a horror adventure game in the Cthulhu mythos, and we need more of those. Last I heard, it was still in development, but changed to be a more story-focused 3D adventure game than a puzzle-focused 2D adventure game.

It doesn’t sound quite like the game I backed, but I love story-driven games, so I’m ambivalent.

The Great Gaias

Great-Gaias-battleThe third of the doomed trio I blogged about that day was The Great Gaias (not be confused with the great Gaius, my main reason to recommend Tales of Xillia), another game inspired by classic JRPGs.

It just barely missed making its funding goal, and the Kickstarter fell silent.

However, from the looks of the developer’s website, it’s still being made! I hope for its success, though I can’t help but wonder if I missed an announcement to follow the site, or if backers were somehow left out of the loop.

Luna’s Tale: Curse of the Forgotten Doll

The reason I backed yet another 2D platformer (well, 2.5D) is as forgotten as the doll, but Luna’s Tale: Curse of the Forgotten Doll never got off the ground.

After its campaign failed, the developer vowed to continue pursuing Luna’s Tale, but the website suggests they may have moved on…

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Lovecraft. Horror adventure game. Charles Dexter Ward. When I saw H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, I went crazy, immediately backed it, and encouraged everyone else to do so, despite it being from the developer that had not yet released Asylum.

The campaign failed, though I have hope Senscape will return to it someday… after Asylum comes out.

Aviary Attorney

Ace Attorney, but with birds? I fell in love with the idea for Aviary Attorney, which successfully launched last month!

There were some concerns over one of its endings not being in the released game, but now that everything is in order, I hope to play (and review) Aviary Attorney soon.

The Dekker Records

Dekker-Records-Cthulhu-pronunciationI supported The Dekker Records from the start, and although this turn-based noir RPG didn’t meet its funding goal, it didn’t disappear, either.

In fact, I played and reviewed The Dekker Records last year.

It was only the first part, since the Kickstarter failure meant they had to split the game, but it was a lot of fun.

An enhanced version is due out later this year, and I’m sure we can look forward to Part 2.

Happy Hell

3D platformers began to pop up on all sides, and I supported many of them, such as Happy Hell.

Happy Hell’s development is plugging along, with a new update this past week. It’s one of the weirder platformers I backed (a bit Faustian, as I said before), and so far everything seems to be on track.

Clive-N-Wrench

Clive-N-Wrench definitely had Banjo-Kazooie in mind, but despite my love for such games and attempt to help it out, its Kickstarter was a veritable disaster.

Yet Clive-N-Wrench live on! The developer is still hard at work creating the game and sharing updates, so it seems like this one will definitely come to fruition.

Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan

After Clive, I was a bit burned out on crowdfunding projects, so I didn’t back anything for a while… until I spotted Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. Add action RPG “inspired by the old school ‘Tales of’ series” to the list of phrases that catches my attention.

In addition to a great description, Aurion had something I love to see in crowdfunding game projects: a demo!

After I played the basic demo (and I really should return now that I have a controller), I backed the game and blogged about it. It’s still too soon after Aurion’s campaign to judge its progress, but things seem to be going smoothly.

Muv-Luv

I’ve become a fan of visual novels, so when I heard people raving about how one of the greatest visual novel series ever would finally be localized, I pitched in and backed Muv-Luv.

As near as I can tell, Muv-Luv is a school romance story and its sequels are about fighting aliens. Or something. It sounds crazy and interesting, and it blasted through its stretch goals thanks to the incredible devotion fans have to the original Japanese games.

I really want to see what the craze is about, and so far Muv-Luv’s Kickstarter seems like a safe bet.

Psychonauts 2

Maybe I shouldn’t have done it.

I try not to back crowdfunding projects if they seem at all sketchy. I steered clear of Shadow of the Eternals even though I desperately wanted that game to exist. And I had a bad feeling about Psychonauts 2.

But… it’s Psychonauts 2! I never thought this game would exist at all! No matter the risks, I had to contribute to this game becoming a reality. Time will tell if it was a good decision or not.

In conclusion…

I feel I’ve done well with crowdfunding, with only 2 or 3 games I backed causing me concern and a lot of great games in my future, but what do you think? After hearing my experiences, how do you feel about video game crowdfunding projects? Which of these games looks the most promising… or the most concerning?

Let me know in the comments!

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Jan 272016
 

Great-Detective-PikachuAh, the great detectives. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Pikachu, Sam Spade–

Wait, Pikachu?

Yesterday, The Pokémon Company unveiled the latest Pokémon spin-off for the 3DS, Great Detective Pikachu. A young boy named Tim moves to Rhyme City, where he meets Pikachu… who apparently is a detective.

It’s described as a “cinematic adventure game,” so I’m not entirely sure how it will play, but it could be enjoyable. Will it be a traditional adventure game or something else? I can imagine it having an Attack of the Friday Monsters vibe, which would be cool.

And the announcement trailer certainly shows an interesting tone for the game. I can’t get over Pikachu’s voice.

Has The Pokémon Company lost its mind? Or will this be the next surprise success? We’ll know soon, because Great Detective Pikachu is due out on the eShop in Japan next Wednesday!

That seems very fast, but this game didn’t quite materialize from nothing. Back in 2013, players got a quick glimpse of an in-development Pikachu game… which was immediately blocked from the collective gaming conscience due to the sheer amount of nightmare fuel.

The current game looks much less terrifying.

Check out the official website for more details on Great Detective Pikachu.

Will this game be localized? Do we want it to be localized? These things remain to be seen.

If you have no interest in it at all, maybe you’ll be happier to know Hironobu Sakaguchi is working a on a new console game. Everyone else, share your thoughts on Great Detective Pikachu in the comments below!

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