Summer seems to be something of a busy time for creators of indie games, as many programmers take time off work and school over the summer to focus on their passion. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are literally booming with new additions. This month is heavy on the puzzles, as well as having more of a detective-themed trend.
Check out the most promising crowdfunded games that June has to offer right now.
The Detective Chapters: A Murder Mystery Choices Adventure
The Detective Chapters is a first-person point-and-click detective adventure with visual novel-like features.
You play as a down and out college dropout and aspiring detective juggling a rough home life – an alcoholic mother and a father whose death remains a mystery – not to mention your girlfriend hassling you to go back to college. While you work the graveyard shift at your local convenience store, you attempt to piece together the clues surrounding his father’s death. Was it a suicide or something more sinister?
This game has multiple paths to choose from in your shot at answers and happiness, and there are several different endings. Interactions have many-ended dialogue trees and characters’ dispositions towards you change depending on your actions.
The game’s Kickstarter page has plenty of trailers and gameplay footage showing that they already have a substantial amount of content already. The footage gives you a feel for the gritty atmosphere, as well as showing some of the interactive environments. There’s also a link to the free demo.
The Detective Chapters is in its second year of development and at the pre-alpha stage. The team are only asking for £1,753 but have a number of stretch goals, including expanding the base game to Mac and Linux, adding local translations and even going up to voice acting and future console launch.
Dead Wishes is a dating sim visual novel with a twist, in that it’s both a romance and horror. Inspired by the dating sim genre and their general love of horror games, the two creators wanted to marry these seldom put-together genres to make a visual novel rich in plot and moral conflict.
In this romantic thriller, your character is stricken with grief over the death of your parents, and the game opens with you soon to be evicted from your apartment. The story gets rolling from here, and in your desperation, you have a number of unsavoury choices ahead of you, including joining the mafia undercover, becoming a criminal or ending up on the streets. Your options aren’t only dark, as you can also choose to turn your life around.
It may not matter in the end though, as you’ll likely either find love or die a horrible death.
The story is fairly expansive, having twelve character routes with three complete endings per character. These characters are already designed and fully fleshed out and the game’s page features their profiles with a link to voice acting. These potential love interests all have something of a gothic design and the bios lean on the dark side.
Your character is non-binary and your romance choices aren’t limited to a particular gender. Your personality determines how your interactions and romances attempt go, something that’s changed by a personality test and prologue choices.
The game is already fully funded, but with nearly a month to go, the team are working towards their stretch goals, including backstory chapters, after-story chapters and even a bonus thirteenth story route. The team hope to finish the beta by November and release the game in December 2018.
Catacombs is a puzzle-heavy horror game set in an ever-changing maze. Story-wise, you are private detective, Ben Grotto, living hand to mouth in the early 1900s. Your desperation leads you to take whatever work comes your way and in this game, your job leads you to the darkness of the catacombs.
Late one afternoon, you are approached by an opulently dressed yet filthy young woman. She anxiously begs you to look for her sister who went missing while exploring the caves late at night. Before leaving, she hands you a blank check, a flashlight and a dirty map, which you’ll take with you during your descent.
The catacombs you’ll explore themselves are ambitiously large and sprawling, filled with tunnels, caverns and hidden rooms. The layout of this labyrinthine tunnels warp and shift as you progress through the game. What was a hallway a minute ago is suddenly now a solid wall. Puzzles abound in the darkness and solving them will often be the key to making it further into the chambers.
The game’s demo video does a great job of showing how some of the puzzles work, as well as the creepy, claustrophobic atmosphere. The darkness is intense, and even with the use of your flashlight, you can barely see further than a few metres. The demo definitely has that feeling of being watched vibe and there are a couple of jumpy moments too.
The demo isn’t available to play because it was mainly created to test out mechanics and story progression, but there will be updated demo footage as development on the game progresses. If funding is successful, backers will be kept in the loop with weekly updates on what’s being created.
The Untold Story: Sheba
The two-person team behind Sheba stress the limitations of being game developers working in war-torn Yemen, which is a major reason behind their decision to crowdfund the game. Nevertheless, Mani Studios want to create a game that shows the richness of Yemeni culture and mythology.
Sheba is a 3D action adventure that promises horror elements alongside an epic story. Gameplay-wise, we can expect a mixture of action and stealth, as well as some puzzles.
Set in 950 BC, at the time of the Sabaean civilization, the story centres on retired general Shammar, who must pick up his sword one more time and embark on a journey to vanquish the dark forces released by King Soloman’s death. In his quest to halt the apocalypse, he meets others who aid him along the way.
We get a good look at Shammar in the concept art and trailer. Another key character in the game will be the vengeful Arwa, who you can play as in some levels. Looking to avenge her father’s death, she helps Shammar along his journey.
The game already has plenty of concept art not only of our two main protagonists, but also of several villains, most of which have elemental themes. Also included in the artwork are the unique weapons, where Shammar wields swords, spears and shield, with Arwa using a slingshot and poison darts.
Sheba will release for PC on Steam with a possible future goal of bringing the game to PS4 and Xbox One.
Deranged – Survival Horror Game
Deranged is a mobile game of mystery, puzzles and unexpected twists. You play as schizophrenic young man Edward as you search for your lost sister in the enormous mansions she was supposedly investigating when she went missing. Edward must deal with physical and mental challenges of the creepy manor, as well as coming to terms with the dark entity that stalks him.
The mansion itself is standard horror fair: located on the outskirts of an abandoned village, previous owners mysteriously died and those who go near the building have a tendency to disappear.
Armed with crossbow, you must defend yourself against the numerous being that haunt the building. The enemies are limp, ragged spectres that may be borne out of Edward’s disease. The creature that stalks Edward is large and mostly humanoid but with large pincer-like appendages. Its origin is a mystery and it seems dedicated to following Edward wherever he goes.
A survival horror inspired by the likes of Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark, Deranged was originally conceived as a 2D game but the creators ended up going with 3D because they wanted to be able to have a greater level of detail.
The game currently hovers at around 50% complete and the Indiegogo page displays concept drawings, gameplay stills and footage that show well-functioning, if slightly unpolished, gameplay. The creators are asking for a comparably modest $8,000 and if they reach their goal, they state that a sizeable chunk of the funds will go on art assets to expand on the visuals.
The creators aim for a November 2018 release on Android and IOS, with stretch goals including voices for characters and an eventual Steam release.
Which games are you most interesting in playing and supporting? Let us know in the comments section below!