Independently developed games are all the craze these days. But you may be wondering where, exactly, these studios come from and how they can fund development? Enter Kickstarter, the crowdsourcing resource that gave us incredible campaigns like Zack Danger Brown’s Potato Salad.
In terms of gaming, there are countless campaigns to back, but after skimming through the vast selection, we’ve picked out five that we believe you should be keeping an eye on. Whether you back them or just share their project is up to you, but keep in mind that without Kickstarter pledges, games like Shovel Knight and Divinity: Original Sin never would have graced your console.
Ash and Dust (PC)
Italian developer Emiliano Giuliante and his development team at Tarabankti Games are looking to change the way we play top-down shooters.
With Ash and Dust, the core formula may be familiar, but Giuliante wants to deliver a exclusive experience for every gamer. QR Codes hidden in and outside the game add to the experience with unique weapons, character skills, or even physical merchandise. Kind of like a new means of free micro-transactions, just without the money aspect.
As Giuliante explains, the codes are single-use only, meaning the player who uses a particular code will be the only one to have access to whatever it grants.
While this concept intrigues us, Ash and Dust’s visuals are fantastic and the gameplay looks fun, meaning it may not even need such a gimmick.
Giuliante is aiming to reward a successful Kickstarter campaign with the potential for a short film, future story mode DLC, and a version for the PS4.
The Wildfire (PC)
Kasa Games is pulling no punches in tackling a rather intense setting with its third-person shooter, The Wildfire.
Set in Ghana, West Africa, players control Armed Forces member Kofi Mensah, who’s on a quest for revenge after his family and village are murdered by Anka, a militia gang and primary recipient of your spray of bullets.
Already visually appealing, The Wildfire aims to bring the world of West Africa to life, from remote run-down villages flanked by dense forestry to militia camps that have no right being as large as they are.
Kasa Games boasts a game filled with stealth combat, intense firefights, and upgradable weaponry, all available to anyone who pledges at least $15.
Oceans Blue | The Deep (PC)
We’re probably supposed to be tired of survival-type games by now, but something about Oceans Blue | The Deep has sucked us in. Utilizing Unreal Engine 4, developer Kody Stone clearly wants gamers to actually feel like they’re stranded on an island in the middle of the Pacific.
It’s all about surviving the elements after a boating accident leaves you stranded on a remote island. Your time on the island is calculated via a calendaring system that accounts for changing seasons. Dynamic weather is more than a visual aesthetic as it actually alters the world, creating challenges that weren’t there before.
Lighting and water effects are downright amazing, especially once you start exploring the murky depths. And if the gameplay can be even half as impressive, Oceans Blue is absolutely a Kickstarter project worth backing.
Beasts of Bermuda (PC)
We’ve all tackled survival games in some form or another, but rarely are we given the chance to do so as a creature of nature. Beasts of Bermuda puts us in the role of our favorite prehistoric animals in the ever-changing landscape of the Bermuda Islands.
Affected by storms and damaged by fires, the islands are a danger to even the largest dinosaurs and can be altered with one swift natural disaster. It’s up to players to find a way to survive in these moments, whether by seeking shelter from lightning or moving away from the high tide.
This free-roam adventure will feature a PvP element where players must kill one another in order unlock the ability to play as larger and more revered beasts.
If Bannermen plays as well as it looks, there’s no doubt that Swedish developer Pathos Interactive is on the path to creating a real competitor for Age of Empires.
Bannermen may look like your standard RTS game, but the team at Pathos listened to the gaming and Kickstarter community and changed the experience a little to allow certain mechanics to separate it from your average medieval strategy game.
While you will control a host of basic units like knights and archers, you’ll also have access to devastating nature powers. Find yourself impeded by a lake? Freeze it over for easy access to the other side. Noticing your opponent’s vast supply of wood? Set it on fire to diminish their access to resources.
You will take part in the basic resource management, map scouring of RTS classics, but it’s the smaller touches (and beautiful visuals) that will help Bannermen stand out in a sea of strategy games.