Indie Showcase: 9 Gaming Projects to Watch

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With Mighty No. 9 right around the corner, it seems like an opportune time to remind the gaming community that, well, #NotAllKickstarters are terrible. Some are pretty great and offer fans a real opportunity to get involved with an indie game's development. Others offer truly unique gameplay elements, or offer amazing gaming-related products or gear. Here are 9 of our favorite campaigns currently live, from games about lumberjack wizards to an art book detailing the history of the NES.

Copper Dreams

Copper Dreams wears its inspirations on its sleeve, and is proud to do so. It's a cyberpunk RPG with a Blade Runner-meets-Escape From New York aesthetic, which also blends traditional RPG elements with Metal Gear Solid-esque stealth.

If that sounds like a lot, well, it is, especially when the turn-based-pen-and-paper-inspired battle system is thrown into the mix along with the fully fleshed-out open world. That said, Whalenought Studios, the development team behind the game, are old hands at gaming projects on Kickstarter, and the fact that they're already most of the way to their goal speaks to that fact. Those of you who miss the older Metal Gear Solid titles owe it to yourselves to give this game a look.

Gotta Go

There's no other way to say this. Gotta Go is a game about going to the bathroom. More specifically, it's a game about trying to go to the bathroom while every single one of your oblivious coworkers try to trap you in boring, inane conversations.

The end goal of the game is to make it safely to the restroom without soiling your pants, and politely shutting down your coworkers when they try to talk to you. The gameplay seems like classic, satisfying arcade fare, and the developers promise a variety of modifiers and difficulty levels to keep things as fresh as a pair of undies straight from the dryer. Plus, just $5 gets you a copy of the game, assuming it's funded. That's not that much to pay for a game that doubles as a poop joke.

ZED

Close your eyes and travel back to the mid-1990s, a time when point-and-click games were not relegated to the limbo of flash game websites. Remember those notebooks full of maps, hints, and clues for Myst, and the wonder you felt when you came upon a new puzzle.

Wasn't that nice?

Well, Eagre Games, with help from one of the original artists behind the Myst games, is trying to bring full point-and-click puzzle adventure games back to the gaming public. ZED is a spectacular game, full of vast landscapes, and of course, puzzles to solve

The designers are also making sure that the story is as deep and engaging as the gameplay, setting the puzzles against a backdrop of the deteriorating mind of a dying man desperate to cement his legacy and leave something behind so that he might be remembered.

Sounds great, right? Well, what's even greater is that you can play a demo of the game right now. What are you waiting for?

LUMBERMANCER

I bet you never thought you needed a game where you play as a hybrid lumberjack/wizard who uses cute little wood creatures to battle enemies and solve puzzles. Well, you do. You so do.

LUMBERMANCER tells the epic story of a powerful mage who is really hungry for a sandwich, and must travel the land to find the ingredients. I can think of no more honorable quest. The game also boasts a pretty unique mechanic-- the player controls the Lumbermancer (who cannot attack or defend himself) with one hand, and his log minion (who can) with the other hand. 

The best part? According to the creator, the game has already been completed, so there's relatively low risk here. He's doing the Kickstarter to help recoup costs and allow people to get the game at a discount, or if they want, some sweet LUMBERMANCER swag.

Spank The Yeti

Card games count as gaming projects, right? Well, if they do, Spank The Yeti definitely deserves a spot on this list. The concept is beyond simple-- it's pretty much a variation on the age old game of "Kill, Fuck, Marry". Six cards are dealt, 3 action cards and 3 subject cards, and players must guess how the "Yeti", the active player, will match them up. 

It promises to be a madcap party experience that will end with all the players learning exactly how messed up the other players are. So that's a nice little added bonus!

GREEDY GUNS

In terms of properties to base your video game on, Metal Slug is a pretty great one. GREEDY GUNS promises to be a run-and-gun Metroidvania-style game with some bullet hell elements added in. And hey, if that sounds hectic, it is. Just try the demo and see for yourself.

The developers are asking for around $15 for this fast-paced arcade-style experience, and that seems fair, especially when you consider that the entire game features 2 player co-op. So I guess what we're saying is send this article to a friend, have them pledge to GREEDY GUNS, and lock down your Player 2 now.

Subtle Much?

Subtle Much? is such a good idea for a game that I'm legitimately angry I didn't think of it. Technically, Subtle Much? is a mod, but the game's brilliance is that it's compatible with every game ever. Even video games, assuming you're all in the same room together. 

The way the game works is that before playing another game, players agree to play Subtle Much? as well. Players are each dealt cards with secret objectives on them (like saying the words "shoe", "horn", and "shoehorn" multiple times), and points are scored by either performing these actions or successfully calling an opponent out when he or she performs one of those actions. The game ends when the main game ends, and the player with the most points wins. It's simple and brilliant, and to be frank, it's worth your money.

Nadia Was Here

For those of you sick and tired of Kickstarter projects that use the phrase "retro aesthetic" as an excuse not to innovate, Nadia Was Here might be just what you've been looking for. A story-focused RPG, Nadia Was Here tells the story of a town stuck in a century-long loop, and three heroes that venture out to "Save The World" (tm).

The thing setting Nadia Was Here apart is its progression and battle systems. The developer promises that grinding will not be necessary, that making your character stronger will depend on the player's party management and allocation skills. It's an interesting concept, which extends to the battle system as well. Battles are fast paced, requiring careful positioning of characters and consideration of their weaknesses and strengths. 

All in all, Nadia Was Here is an ambitious project with a plethora of new ideas in tow. Fans of Golden Sun, Chrono Trigger and the early Final Fantasy games will want to check this one out.

Nintendo Entertainment System: a visual compendium

While this art book may not be a video game per se, it is a must-watch for fans of the original NES, fans of pixel art, or really, fans of video games or art in general. 

Featuring art, interviews, and essays from movers and shakers of the era (including the designer of the NES itself), this compendium promises not only to be visually beautiful and striking, but also to be informative as well. Adding to the appeal is the fact that the minds behind the book have already successfully completed compendiums detailing the history of the Commodore 64, the Amiga, and the Spectrum ZX, so this isn't their first rodeo. Or rather, art book/compendium thingy. 

Are there any gaming Kickstarter projects you're looking forward to that you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments while we all hope really, really hard that Mighty No. 9 actually turns out decently!

Published Jun. 2nd 2016

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RobotsFightingDinosaurs is unlockable by beating the game on Very Hard difficulty without losing a life. You must then defeat him to unlock him for Arcade and Versus modes.


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