KickPicks #2

After a somewhat lengthy hiatus, in which time a good many prime projects have quietly slipped by and into the sunset in a fanfare of triumphant funding, our KickPicks feature is back and we promise we’ll never leave you again.  Unless Stana Katic arrives on the back of a golden dolphin to whisk us away, that is.  As you know, we shuffle through the current projects on Kickstarter to find the ones which particularly pique our interest, grab us by the balls, or fit the sort of titles and neglected genres that GamingLives likes to champion.  Without further ado, here are the latest round of touted games to have caught our eye.

Broken Sword – the Serpent’s Curse
Developed by veteran UK adventure publisher, Revolution Software, Broken Sword leapt out at us instantly, with the series being a well-established and award-winning part of the point and click genre, with no less than four other titles having been released since the early nineties.  This fifth game is once again being developed by Revolution, who were responsible for not only the Broken Sword series, but the cult classic Beneath A Steel Sky, and this time it won’t be struggling with the creative constraints of a publisher.

Co-founder and managing director of Revolution Software, Charles Cecil is keen to develop the best Broken Sword game ever, and makes a very good case for funding, with the game to be appearing on PC, Mac, Linux, with a pencilled in Q1 2013 release date.

While the game, at the time of writing, has hit its initial funding target, there is an ambitious but tantalising stretch goal, whereby if the funding hits $1 million, then Beneath A Steel Sky 2 will be green-lit – a very alluring invitation for adventure veterans and returning nostalgic gamers.

So what is Broken Sword – the Serpent’s Curse?
During an armed raid on a Paris gallery, a mysterious painting is stolen, setting in motion a chain of events that draw our two protagonists – George Stobbart – American lawyer and Nico Collard, a French freelance journalist – together and set them on  a rollercoaster adventure, uncovering ancient mysteries and becoming embroiled in sinister conspiracies that place them in danger as they struggle with just who they can really trust.

Funding Target
$400,000

In or Out?
Pitch in and back Broken Sword – The Serpent’s Curse here.

Our view
While we’ve always championed the oft-neglected point and click genre, here at GamingLives, our interest in Broken Sword – the Serpent’s Curse goes beyond just genre support to genuine desire.  Broken Sword has long been one of the genre’s finest series, and with so few UK based adventure devs still going, it is a delight to see Revolution snatching the baton back from the publishers, adding a sparkling lick of paint, and going their own way.  The story sounds like a classic one, but still intriguing, and we look forward to seeing how it evolves.  With the return of former voice actors, along with artists boasting pedigrees from Universal, Aardman, and Dreamworks, this looks to be a top title to watch out for.  With the initial funding target already hit, it just remains for the investors to watch and wait, but that stretch goal of $1 million to see a sequel to Beneath A Steel Sky 2?  Well, that may yet prove an irresistible draw for many – you can download the original from GOG.com for free, so try it out while we wait to see how the Serpent’s Curse develops.

Knock Knock
While most games are presented in a straightforward manner, with various pieces of enticing artwork and kooky or funny videos, Knock Knock plays things a little differently.  Its pledge page consists of an interesting delivery of the game’s concept, in which the developers claim to have received a mysterious package of materials that they are undertaking to research and turn into a game.  The final thing may or may not explain what fate befell the mysterious ‘originator’ of the materials and shed light on the unknown.

So what is Knock Knock?
Knock Knock is an odd game to categorise, but if we were pushed, we’d say it was a monstrous game of hide and seek, walled up in a haunted house with a survive ’til dawn framework hanging around its well-drawn neck.  Alone in your creaking house, various monsters or ‘visitors’ will try – and succeed – to infiltrate your home and your goal to is avoid them and survive until dawn with your sanity in tact.  Easier said than done. Light, of course, is your key weapon and safeguards rooms, albeit only temporarily, but you just know it isn’t going to be that easy.  Hiding in a cupboard for ten minutes just won’t cut it either, as the beasties, in the best traditions of horror/slasher flicks everywhere, know where you are.

Not only that, but you will have to venture into dark places in order to play haunted house janitor.  The creepies got in somehow, and the more ways there are for them to sneak in and put a crimp on, well… your life, the more will come flooding in, so it is up to you to fix the gaps and plug the holes in the house’s perimeter.  You will only have five inventory slots, so proper management of the various tools you will find are key.  The player will also be able to build the house themselves, so we’re hoping that this will introduce an extra dimension of strategy in the same way that perhaps a tower defence would work.  We’ll see.

Funding Target
$30,000

In or Out?
You can play hide and seek and back Knock Knock here.

Our View
Russian developers, Ice-Pick Lodge have a brief but kooky history, having previously developed the very bizarre Cargo! The Quest for Gravity, which we reviewed several years ago.  This offbeat creativity and passionate vision, coupled with the gorgeous Tim Burton-esque artwork and simple, but interesting, concept means that Knock Knock is one to watch out for.  Intended for the PC, if the game hits its stretch goals, it will likely see and iOS and Android release, too, and from the look of it it would suit those platforms rather well.

Expeditions: Conquistador
Stopping the DeLorean at a seldom-visited period and setting in history, Expeditions: Conquistador is pitching its Kickstarter tent during the bloody, and often brutally-destructive, era of the exploration of the New World, and it was this which first caught our attention.  While many Kickstarter projects are pretty, spritey, or kooky things, laying out their colourful wares to lure in anyone browsing the site’s pages, it was refreshing to find what appeared to be a historical strategy title nestled among them, developed by Danish team, Logic Artists.

So what is Expeditions: Conquistador?
To quote Logic Artists, it is “a story-driven tactical roleplaying game with a touch of strategic resource management and a pinch of choose-your-own-adventure.”  There are, undoubtedly, some folk now thinking “sold!”; for the rest, however, here’s the rundown:

You get to play as a conquistador, leading the members of your hand-picked expedition into the mysterious and wild heart of the New World, exploring and conquering, or, if you choose to fly in the blood-spattered face of history, opting for diplomacy and peace to achieve your goals.  As expected, resource and team management is key, as picking the wrong expedition members or recklessly losing them in battle (or mutiny, should you allow morale to plummet) can lead to ruin.  Choice and consequence are set to play key parts in the game and will have an effect on the overall outcome, leading to much replayability in order to sample more of the game’s dynamic endings.  Expeditions also boasts tactical combat, random events, and in-depth character management among the many features filling out the game.

Funding Target
$70,000

In Or Out?
You can prepare to do battle and back Expeditions: Conquistador here.

Our view
The exploration and conquest (or butchering, depending on your viewpoint) of the New World and its civilisations is not an area oft touched by games, so Expeditions: Conquistador immediately grabbed our attention and held it, the more we read.  A story-driven, tactical RPG with elements of strategy management may sound like a tall order, leading to a jack-of-all-trades game, but if Logic Artists make good on their promises it looks to be an enticing title, set in an engaging and pivotal point in history, with more than enough claret for the average gamer to revel in.  And Choose Your Own Adventure?  We didn’t know whether they were referring to the books that we remember and love, but those few words ensured that we stayed beyond the first glance.




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2 Comments

  1. MarkuzR says:

    Broken Sword… although I can’t remember which one in particular, was the first game I ever played on the original Xbox as far as I recall. It was a demo from XBL and I remember watching you play it, wondering if it was any good, then I took over just as the demo ended. Never did get around to playing the full game though, sadly. The art style is glorious though; really looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

    I love the hell out of Knock Knock, even though I’ve watched the video on the KS page and still don’t really understand very much about it. The art is incredible though, absolutely incredible. I’ll be watching it to see what happens, but I’m definitely ridiculously interested in it.

    Okay, so now I have to admit that I thought “Conquistador” was one of the ranks in bull-fighting. I apologise for my ignorance. I like the look of this; resource gathering, team management, tactical approach… all the things I love most in a game. Their helmets are funky too. Nice to see the KickPicks back!

  2. Edward says:

    I have mad love for Broken Sword, so I’m really glad that it’s been commissioned :D

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