Tina Olah
Crowdfunding Chronicles Volume 1 11/16/18 Edition
We get our new column off to a start with five great-looking games to check out.
11.17.18 - 12:32 AM

Do you often spend hours and hours on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites trying to find interesting RPGs to add to your wishlist, only to realize that it's 1 AM and you need to get to bed soon? Never fear, RPGFan is here! Please give a warm welcome to our new regular column highlighting some of the most interesting and noteworthy RPGs, visual novels and graphic adventure games found on crowdfunding platforms. This initial installment puts the spotlight on several charming little games (and a couple of moderately disturbing ones...beware...) for your reading pleasure. We hope you find something that piques your curiosity!

DISCLAIMER: While some of us at RPGFan may be backers of the games mentioned in these articles, this does not influence our coverage or our featured game choices.

Highlights: Ongoing Campaigns to Keep an Eye On

Hazelnut Bastille
Campaign Ends: November 29
Hazelnut Bastille Screenshot - Conversation in the village

Heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the Mana series, Hazelnut Bastille looks absolutely precious. The beautiful pixel graphics recall Link to the Past's many dungeon and wilderness areas, now with an even greater level of detail (and a much larger quantity of sinister mushrooms). The game's soundtrack features another very special nod to 1990's adventure RPGs: joining main composer Shannon Mason will be Secret of Mana's Hiroki Kikuta, who will provide a few additional tracks.

Following the adventures of a young woman who finds herself in a mysterious foreign land, Hazelnut Bastille promises many challenging puzzles and enemies. New areas steadily become more difficult and demand the use of techniques and solutions learned from previous challenges. Trading and crafting systems round out the experience: items must be built from scratch or bartered for, as there is no money to be found in this strange land!

Overall, Hazelnut Bastille is shaping up to be a deep, intriguing and graphically beautiful game. Hopefully, it will be able to live up to the high standards set by its well-loved predecessors!

Monster Sanctuary - Monster Taming Metroidvania
Campaign Ends: November 22
Monster Sanctuary Screenshot - Battle scene with many little monsters

I enjoy playing a good Metroidvania every now and then; the monster-collecting aspects of some of the Castlevania titles, in particular, have been a nice bonus. Monster Sanctuary takes that to the next level: Metroidvania-like exploration featuring turn-based combat using teams of recruitable monsters, all presented with SNES-era pixel graphics.

The final game is planned to feature between 50 to 100 monsters, each with light and dark varieties, and up to 15 hours of gameplay, plus additional endgame content. You can recruit any monster you meet by hatching them from eggs dropped in battle; your new friends can then assist you both during battle and while exploring. Monsters can also be customized through skill trees and with new equipment. Kickstarter stretch goals promise even more collectible monsters and new game modes, including online PVP.

While the three zones shown in the trailer and screenshots don't display a huge amount of environmental diversity (we're mostly presented with a plethora of browns and greens), the final game is set to have over ten different areas. Hopefully, these will showcase some more variety; though at any rate, even if the scenery ends up being a little repetitive, the monsters themselves are adorable and the gameplay sounds like a fun and unique combination.

Softly, With Teeth: A Vampire Otome Visual Novel
Campaign Ends: November 27
Softly, With Teeth Screenshot - Girl in red dress surrounded by characters in pastel uniforms

Softly, With Teeth is the debut project by Studio Chiffon: a modern-day urban fantasy visual novel with a vampire romance theme. You play as a bisexual female character with both male and female love interests to pursue (all very well dressed, I might add). The game is fairly lighthearted overall, though it does contain some mature vampire-related themes centering around blood, uncomfortable situations and biting. You can breathe a sigh of relief (or disappointment) though, as this is not an adults-only type of game. Heh.

Softly, With Teeth features wonderful anime-style character art by Vacuum. The romantic leads wear a lovely variety of gothic and Lolita-inspired outfits: this is a game I would play for the costume designs alone! Overall, the background, character and UI visuals present a very feminine, pastel ambience, mixed in with a bit of spookiness. I doubt the graphics or storyline would appeal to gamers with more masculine tastes, though I personally love what I see.

Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness
Campaign Ends: November 29
Chronicle of Innsmouth - Icy Mountains

Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness is a classic point-and-click graphic adventure based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The game is a follow-up to the original Chronicle of Innsmouth, continuing the investigations of original character Lone Carter, this time in a new storyline inspired by Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness. Intrigued but haven't played the original? Never fear! All backers of this game will get the first one for free.

...Upon further reflection, perhaps I should take back that "never fear." This promises to be a very disturbing, terrifying game, featuring all manner of Lovecraftian horrors. I can't wait to play!

Not much is mentioned about actual gameplay on the Kickstarter page, though judging by the previous installment, the series is heavily inspired by 1990s Lucas Arts adventures, pixel graphics included. This makes Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness a promising new addition to the libraries of classic graphic adventure fans!

Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus
Campaign Ends: November 27
Sluggish Morss Screenshot - Claymation characters in a purple town

Are you a fan of claymation? If the answer is "absolutely not," then Sluggish Morss might not be your type of game. Should you believe claymation to be the world's greatest art form, however, it is very likely that you will still feel moderately disturbed by the creepy visuals of this game. How delightful!

Sluggish Morss is the newest game from from Jack King-Spooner, creator of the unique adventure titles Dujanah and Beeswing. Gameplay is primarily comprised of exploring the environment and conversing with NPCs, though it also features a number of diversions including puzzles, racing and combat minigames. The narrative, inspired by classic weird science fiction (including the works of David Cronenberg and Isaac Asimov), follows eight different characters in a story both grotesque and humorous. Meanwhile, musical influences include Tool and Aphex Twin, among others. Samples can be found on the campaign page!

Sluggish Morss is not a game for everyone, but if you happen to be in the mood for something very unusual, psychedelic, disturbing, and full of creativity, I would give it a peek. However, please do not look at the image next to the "fleshlopod" heading in the Rewards section, unless you are interested in having nightmares about piranha creatures. On second thought, it's almost kind of cute, in a strange way. Just like this game!

Noteworthy Updates: News from Finished Campaigns

  • Edge of Eternity (Campaign Page), a beautiful Final Fantasy-inspired game, will go into Early Access starting on December 5th. Find it on Steam!
  • Kynseed (Campaign Page), a sandbox RPG featuring farming and pixel graphics (always an excellent combination, in my opinion) is now available in Early Access. Check it out on Steam or GoG!
  • Underworld Ascendant (Campaign Page), the follow up to the classic Ultima Underworld games, was released on November 15th. Pick up your copy on Steam!