Kickstarter Kompliation: November 2018 edition

This month's roundup sees pixelated action, a wild genre crossover, and two spooky adventure games

We did this last month and now it's here again: another batch of impressive-looking retro-flavored video game Kickstarters that we here at Retronauts want you to be aware of. For the record, these projects were not selected based on any insider information nor are we being compensated for including any projects in these posts. We just like spreading the word so more developers get access to the resources to make their dream projects a reality.

The Legend of Tobimaru
Platform: Steam
Campaign ends: November 16
Estimated delivery time: April 2019
Minimum pledge to receive the game: 15 NZ$ (about $10 US)

The Legend of Tobimaru stood out to me because it's a rare unarmed ninja action platformer: even though the enemies seem to carry swords of varying sizes, the eponymous hero Tobimaru uses his bare hands to take them down. This means the ninja's combat moves are varied (he's not just slashing non-stop, as video game ninjas are wont to do) and the animation on his leaps and strikes are nicely detailed. Naturally, there are combos to learn and more moves to unlock as the game goes on. It looks tough but cool, both good things as far as ninjas go.

Monster Sanctuary
Platform: Steam, then Nintendo Switch
Campaign ends: November 22
Estimated delivery time: October 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: €15 (about $17 US)

The developers are describing Monster Sanctuary as "monster taming RPG meets metroidvania" because I can only assume they thought "pokévania" would get them sued. That's right: you explore an open world, meet cute little critters, and have them fight for your own amusement. In truth I suppose there's not much "vania" here as the monster combat sequences look to be more of a traditional RPG-style strategic battle rather than dynamic action. Actually, since the monsters all fight at the same time, leading to combos of their abilities, I suppose there's not much "poké" here either. Clever portmanteau withdrawn!

This project has already been funded three times over as of this writing and a Nintendo Switch port is going to follow the initial Steam release. As each new stretch goal is passed, the developers promise to add even more monsters to the game, so if you want more monsters than you could possibly fit in all the pockets in your house, there's still time to pledge.

Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus
Platform: PC, Macintosh, and Linux
Campaign ends: November 27
Estimated delivery time: January 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: £8 (about $10 US)

Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus doesn't resemble a retro game per se, but it is an adventure game which is a genre that tends to exhibit more throwback qualities than most others. Also, the entire game is made using stop-motion animation and that's both awesome and retro at the same time. I want to say "they don't make 'em like this anymore" but aside from the Clayfighter series, did anyone make games like this, really? The campaign describes the aesthetic of this "dark sci-fi adventure" as "fleshy, tactile, a bit goofy and at the same time a bit uncanny and grotesque" which sums it up perfectly. Even the name makes me uncomfortable: what's a "morss?"

I will cut to the chase and just say this whole idea looks weird and fantastic and I am here for games that look like nothing else.

Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness
Platform: Steam
Campaign ends: November 29
Estimated delivery time: November 2019
Minimum pledge to receive the game: €16 (about $18 US)

If the title doesn't make it clear, Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness is based on H.P. Lovecraft's work, a well video games keep dipping into because: A, it's consistently disturbing, and B, it's in the public domain so no rights need to be obtained. In this case, the development team (who call themselves PsychoDev) already made one Lovecraftian adventure game called Chronicle of Innsmouth and have decided to make a second game whose story is "distinct, yet entwined" with the first game. All backers for Mountains of Madness will receive a Steam key for the previous game as well, though I must say based solely on the trailer, their sophmore effort in this dark universe they're making is must more visually striking than their first. Lots of closeups on big, frightened faces makes for a spookier time.

Hazelnut Bastille
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Campaign ends: November 29
Estimated delivery time: October 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $15 US

Easily the most charming looking game of the bunch this month, Hazelnut Bastille looks like a 16-bit Zelda game which is, personally speaking, more than enough to convince me the project has merit. And when I say "looks" like, I don't just mean the pixel art and the not-quite-top-down gameplay perspective. I mean it seems poised to deliver that Zelda sensation of fighting monsters while also existing in a faraway world somewhere, as opposed to a series of levels a game designer put together. The Kickstarter campaign links to a demo that contains villagers in it as well as monsters and, oh yeah, a giant hippo that talks to you.

As of this writing the campaign has almost been fully funded but that's only halfway to the "put it on Switch" stretch goal so my fingers are crossed that Hazelnut Bastille appears on a Nintendo platform someday alongside the games it was inspired by.