Up until few years ago, unless you were an AAA studio, any thoughts you had of creating an innovative game were merely pipe-dreams. With the advent of crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, however, more and more indie game developers are turning to crowdfunding to bring their games to life.
Some of the best games of the past couple of years have been crowdfunded, such as Hollow Knight and Friday the 13th: The Game, proving that there are fantastic ideas out there that just need a little support to get off the ground.
Here we bring you a few fantastically original games that just need a little love.
This dark, atmospheric survival horror has quite away to go until it reaches its goals but only asks for less than £5000 to get off the ground.
Seville-based indie studio Unreal Spirit propose a game which relies on darkness, atmosphere and good old gore to generate its horror, rather than oft-used jump-scares of most modern horror games.
The story frames you as a young priest apprentice seeking the truth as you traverse a world of ancient mysteries, deformed monsters and hidden danger. In your bid to find answers you must solve puzzles which are often hidden, leaving you to try interacting with the environment and its objects a variety of different ways in your attempt to uncover them. As the puzzles are such an integral part of the gameplay, the way you choose to engage with them shapes your narrative experience – and the more puzzles you solve the more of story is unlocked.
Unsacrifice has a very unique art style, with the team wanting to create an effect of visual duality by making environments you can find beauty in and then covering them in gore.
The devs have gone in heavy on the lore, at least partially evidenced by the detailed concept art on their Kickstarter page. Its style is visually reminiscent of ancient Egypt, but there are also hints of other ancient cultures, and especially Norse comes through in the runes scrawled all over the puzzles.
Unsacrifice aims to launch on Steam as well as VR. There’s already a demo available on their page, which is worth checking out.
2. Hide or Die
VecFour Digital‘s asymmetrical horror game Hide or Die looks like it’s well on its way to getting the funding it needs and has already generated a lot of interest.
The game starts with sixteen players in a bunker who are then suddenly released into the wilderness. After a short while of running around, exploring and foraging supplies, a sweeping darkness (accompanied by all street lights turning and ominous red) begins to cover the land. This is what properly sets the game in motion because any player that gets too close to the darkness is warped into a deranged killer whose job is to then hunt the others.
The remaining survivors have to find various ways of defending themselves (by scavenging weapons and ammo or setting traps) as they search for the fuseboxes dotted around the level. Turning these fuseboxes back on illuminates the area and pushes back the darkness.
As the darkness is eliminated, so are those who have fallen to it, and with the procedural levels, the number in your group slowly dwindles. Eventually you reach a level that becomes a one-on-one death match between the killer and the last survivor.
While this might sound simple enough there are also a couple of additions that complicate things. Namely that the killer isn’t the only thing fear as the areas are also rife with dangerous animals, not to mention the fact that survivors have the ability to kill off other survivors. This is a feature that could lend itself to more tactical playing as you go through the levels.
The devs have already have completed a lot of the game on their own and so far it’s looking good. They say they’re mainly using crowdfunding to polish up some animations and designs, as well as build unique types of hunter that are fun to play.
If they reach their goal, the game is aiming for an October 2018 launch.
3. Project Sense – 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story
Sense is a 2.5D cyberpunk horror inspired by Japanese survival horror games like Clock Tower and Fatal Frame. With Sense, developer Benjamin Widdowson aims to take horror back to its roots, focusing on pacing, atmosphere and storytelling to instil a sense of advancing dread.
Set in dystopian 2083 Neo Hong Kong, you play as young woman exploring a mystery centuries old. Drawn to the ruins of the Chung Sing apartments, your bid to undo your family’s curse leads you to find the stories of fourteen souls lost within the complex.
The game utilises traditional Cantonese folklore alongside technological innovations. The building’s ghosts take the form of glitches and can’t be physically hurt, although you can find ways past them though offerings or solving mysteries.
Gameplay is heavy on exploration. You’ve got to keep your cybernetic eyes peeled for any tiny detail that could help you, as the city streets are filled with secrets.
Sense boasts a large complex world steeped in lore and the more you travel through Neo Hong Kong the more you learn about the city, its geo-politics and even characters’ relationships. There are a plethora of NPCs in each area that you can talk to to gain more knowledge about the world or uncover secrets.
Sense has already reached its funding goal but with a good couple of weeks to go, the dev has now added stretch goals like adding live musicians to the soundtrack and releasing on PS4, Vita and Switch.
4. Terrordrome: Reign of the Legends
In the sequel to Terrordrome: Rise of the Boogeyman, long established (as well as very recent) legends of horror face off in this 2.5D fighting game.
Reign of the Legends showcases a team of ten horror icons to choose from – some with strategic name changes, like the long-limbed Neverman and eldritch clown T.H.I.S.. Each character gets not only their own range of signature moves, but stages personalised to them.
Single-player mode delves into the mythologies, urban legends and conspiracy theories that have given these characters life throughout the years. With a plot set in the present day, that places monsters as the engineers of everything humans take for granted, monsters challenge one another to in a bid to become the dominant force ruling the world. The protagonist, a young badass Van Helsing descendant, is hot on the tail of the currently dominating Dracula. The plot builds from here, culminating in a dramatic ending.
The team at Huracan Studio promise that the play-style will be familiar to anyone who’s played the previous Terrordrome, as much of the same mechanics carry over, and that those new to the series will find it flexible and easily accessible.
There’s already a demo available, containing 2 characters (Sasquatch and Frankenstein) and one stage. Huracan seems confident in their goal and already have a set of stretch goals, including adding and additional character to the mix.
An unusual concept for a game, Resonance is a sound-based horror game where you use echolocation to observe your surroundings.
The game promises a deep and terrifying narrative, in which you start out by waking up in an unknown pitch-black location. You must find your way around your new environment, piecing together what you see (hear?) in order to figure out what’s actually happening around you.
At first, you’re left in total darkness, only able to see by making some form of noise, like clapping. This gives you a momentary burst of feedback, illuminating aspects of your surroundings like walls, objects and the spindly humanoid creatures we see in the trailer.
The black and white visuals look really cool and feeds into the idea that your perception is limited. The fine details of surfaces get left out as you can only see in blocky, 3D impressions.
According to creator Andrew Nicolau, uncovering the story is vital to your success in Resonance, which has multiple possible endings. He wants it to be like older games, with death having more meaning. Each death you incur in the game will be a serious defeat, with too many deaths resulting in a game over.
The game is very near content completion already, with Indiegogo being used to add in sound design, marketing and finalising development.
If it reaches its goal, Resonance aims to release on Steam early access and then continue to build from there.