As July draws to a close and the summer heat blazes on, why not stay inside and play video games?
If you’re bored on holiday and looking for something to get invested in, there are plenty of developing projects out there right now to watch or even get involved with. High-concept sci-fi and fantasy games seem to be a particularly dominating theme this summer.
Check out the five best crowdfunded games on show this month.
Crying Suns is a rogue-lite tactical game where you explore a dying galaxy as the admiral of a space fleet. The team behind it promise a deep, narrative-driven experience inspired by the sci-fi universes of Dune, Foundation and Battlestar Galactica.
Set in a vast post-apocalyptic universe, you lead a mighty crew aboard your battleship as you attempt to save a dying mankind. The game’s story is structured into six chapters and each successful run will uncover a part of the truth behind the fall of the Galactic Empire.
The game’s Kickstarter page goes into extensive detail about all the different aspects of the game, which is an encouraging sign, and there’s plenty of footage of gameplay showing how far they’ve come already.
As you play, there are certain resources to keep tabs on, like scrap (the in-game currency), Neo-N (fuel for your ship) and the hoards of commandos at your service. You generate these by exploring systems, trading, doing good deeds, and fighting, of course.
The more systems you visit, the more information you learn about them. Each time you visit a point of interest in a system, you’ll likely trigger an event. The game has over 300 possible events, ranging from a friendly encounter to a full on fight.
These fights are a huge part of the game and are heavily tactical. You’ll face plenty of battleships and their devastating fleets, and you’ll have to make the right calls, use the best weapons and the best units.
The creators have just passed their goal and have added stretch goals, including new unlockable battleships, new squadrons, more weapons and even an alternate ending.
The demo – which is the first chapter of the story – is available to download on their page. The game will release on PC and Mac, with a planned release of late 2018 to early 2019.
Pamali: Indonesian Folklore Horror Video Game
Pamali is a horror game that aims to showcase traditional Indonesian folklore in its exploration of the genre.
On their page, the devs note that what people would consider scary is something that relies on the influences around that person – specifically society, culture and taboo. They explain that the rich cultural history of their country means that even everyday Indonesian life leaves potential for horror in the smallest of ways.
The developers behind the game hope to give players the chance to experience horror from the viewpoint of a different culture. In the game, you’ll explore four different stories, each with their own ties to a different part of folklore. These revolve around monsters specific to the culture, like the Leak: a flying human head with dangling entrails that preys on newborns.
Choices will be very important in this game, and something as simple as shutting a door behind you or leaving it open will affect how much danger you’re in.
Pamali has been a labour of love for the creators, who began the project in 2016 while still at university. Operating out of coffee shops and garages, the team finally have their own office and have made headway with the game.
With an eye on stretch goals, the team are looking forward to wider language support as well as implementing more monsters.
Dawn of Fear: The Roots of Survival Horror
Dawn of Fear is a survival horror inspired by classic games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. You play as Alex, a teenager with a traumatic past – his father and brother died in a car crash, bringing on endless nightmares about that fateful day.
These nightmares seem to bleed over into the real world. As Alex, you spend night after night wandering through the dark, through vast, labyrinthine areas. With only your flashlight to aid you through the darkness, Silent Hill-style, you’ll find yourself solving puzzles and fending off monstrous enemies.
The enemies themselves have a have a great vicious-looking design, all teeth and pink flesh, and the concept art on the game’s page makes us think they’re going to be very important to the narrative.
You’ll have to manage your resources, especially your very limited ammunition. The fixed camera angles are something fans of Resident Evil will recognise, but could probably take some getting used to if you’ve never played a game with fixed camera before.
Samples of the OST are also up on the page, a preview of the game’s moody, rock-based music.
Brok3nsite is a small Spanish studio hoping to release in Spain, the UK and US on Steam, PS4, Windows and Utomik.
Alien Shakespeare: A Narrative RPG
Alien Shakespeare is a narrative RPG that could be described as ‘post-apocalypse meets Disney‘. The game takes place at the Globe Theatre – but not that one. This Globe is an entire theme-park planet that’s become abandoned.
After being the sole survivor of a pirate attack, you are rescued and brought to the rodent city of Doorwell. You are eventually given a dwelling there. This is your first encounter with an alien species. Numerous species have been designed, but due to the budget, only a few will make it into the game.
You soon become embroiled in the political affairs of Doorwell. As the game progresses, you have the opportunity to build up your reputation with the various factions. Sometimes, a positive reputation with one group will give you a poor reputation with another.
Alien Shakespeare draws its inspiration from games like the Telltale series. The team working on it want to improve the format but keep the strong narrative drive, widening the strict script with limited outcomes for your choices. This means that the possibilities of the story are more open, with potential multiple endings.
Your character’s sex, skills and life experience all influence dialogue options, as well as NPC reactions to you. At the start, you will be given a limited number of missions to complete in any order. How and when you complete these missions will influence what missions will be available later.
Life experience will be a valuable mechanic in the game, and a higher level of life experience will give you more starting skills, but will also lower your Action Points and general health. Your Action Points allow you to use certain skills. To keep your Action Points up, you must stay hydrated, but drinking dirty water has the chance of giving you Dysentery, which drains your energy, health and strength.
At the end of the game, all the choices you’ve made throughout will come into play, and the results of this may be unexpected.
Not A Hero Tale: PC Book Adventure
A dark fantasy adventure, this visual novel is a huge, open world ready to explore. The first section of the game takes the form of an illustrated book, with later sections taking on the format of a board game, before moving on to playing cards. The suitably epic-feeling design is that of an ancient tome, with tea-stained parchment pages and stylised illustrations. The same style is carried on in the board game and cards.
The devs describe the setting as akin to Fallout in the middle ages. It’s a vast world where every detail tells you more about the main plot taking place within it. There are deep forests, foggy swamps and old town centres. Where you decide to visit first will be up to you.
While the game is primarily about the world, it also has a host of colourful characters with dark pasts. You’ll play as as one of them, and must keep up your food and drink levels as you explore. You start the game with basic features and you can gain “perks” throughout – bonus traits that can prove useful in difficult situations.
There are many secrets hidden within the game, and you’ll have to build up your skills to be able to access them. As you press further into the story, you’ll discover “Events” and “New Territories” that add to your understanding of the world.
If the game is successful, most of the funding will go into translation and further improving the design.