Kickstarter Kompliation: December 2018 edition

2018 wraps up with the biggest monthly crowdfunding collection post to date

As we inch our way deeper into the holiday season and approach the final bell of 2018, I present to you the latest list of good lookin' video game crowdfunding campaigns that merit your attention. This month's edition is super-sized, a post jam-packed with game developers who are dreaming of stretch goals rather than snowflakes this December. As always (because this is becoming a regular feature and I want to make it crystal clear), these selections were not based on any insider information nor are we being compensated for including any projects in these posts.

Shredded Secrets
Platform: Windows and Mac
Campaign ends: December 8
Estimated delivery time: February 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $5

When I assemble these lists I put them in order of campaign end date and this month that happens to put the least-retro project imaginable at the top: Shredded Secrets is a game made by literal children who are barely old enough to remember the Nintendo Wii, let alone the NES. But the game was made in just three weeks by four twelve-year-old girls and, if funded, they'll have the resources to work with professionals to turn their prototype into a polished product. And if there's anyone more deserving of crowdfunding it's the junior game developers of the world who are just beginning their journey towards making great things. I'm totally sold on their game's ethos, "Remember to be kind; Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Platform: Windows, Mac, and Linux (for now)
Campaign ends: December 15
Estimated delivery time: March 2019
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $15 USD

GIGABUSTER, if the name doesn't give it away, draws a lot of inspiration from Mega Man and Mega Man X. There's shooting, there's dashing, and there will be multiple stages that can be tackled in any order. The game doesn't look particularly retro - the graphics are 2D but not the chunky pixel type that the Mega Man/X series was known for - but it looks fast and fun with bosses that have as much personality as they do firepower. Currently the campaign is seeking funds for a PC release, but there's a Switch stretch goal on the table as well.

Lore Finder
Platform: Windows, Mac, and Linux (for now)
Campaign ends: December 15
Estimated delivery time: December 2019
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $10 USD

There are plenty of prospective Metroidvanias on Kickstarter (and on retail storefronts too) but Lore Finder is surely the first Metroidvania to be a "modern queer reimagining of the cosmic horror genre." The star of the game is a non-binary paranormal investigator searching for their girlfriend in a creepy New England mansion. "To us the choice to feature queer characters and relationships felt very natural, because we place a big emphasis on accessibility and diversity in our games," producer Emma Maassen told me via email.

As your character explores the house they find new power-ups which both aid their quest while also distorting the world around them. It gets very Lovecraftian in a hurry, with both hero and villains transforming their appearance as the game progresses. The campaign has already been funded for a Steam and release but there are a number of stretch goals laid out, including ports to four different consoles.

Koruldia Heritage
Platform: Windows, Mac, and Linux (for now)
Campaign ends: December 18
Estimated delivery time: September 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: £12 (about $15 USD)

Called "a story-driven RPG with merciful fights and non-linear progression," Koruldia Heritage send players on a quest to explore another world as well as the minds of the creatures in that world. Battles can be ended through a non-violent "hacking" of the enemies, and your choices affect the growth of your character's animal companion. The game has an interesting aesthetic of 2D art mixed with 3D technology, with the graphics taking a noticeably retro turn when exploring a creature's past.

Koruldia Heritage has already been funded as of this writing for a Steam release with a console port stretch goal still waiting to be unlocked.

Platform: Windows, Mac, and Linux
Campaign ends: December 19
Estimated delivery time: December 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $15 USD

Aethyr is an action RPG that has already been in development for five years and it shows: the campaign video shows fast combat with melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic powers. The graphics are less reminiscent of 16-bit as they are of how we wish to remember 16-bit: think modern "retro plus" titles like Enter the Gungeon. As of this writing the campaign has already been funded twice over but the developer says they are reluctant to add stretch goals in the interest of getting Aethyr finished "as soon as possible, without making sacrifices to quality." That said, there is talk of console ports which the developer says is possible with the game's current framework.

Pocket Penguin
Platform: Windows (for now)
Campaign ends: December 23
Estimated delivery time: June 2019
Minimum pledge to receive the game: 200 MXN (about $10 USD)

Pocket Penguin is a welcome break from the NES-wannabe retro games out there; it's a Game Boy-wannabe retro game! You control a shipwrecked penguin who jumps and swims and bombs (!?) their way around a mysterious island. There's an obvious Kirby inspiration at work here, though penguins can't fly like Kirby can. Instead, the penguin's bombs serve as temporary platforms to reach new heights - until they explode, of course.

Pocket Penguin is being developed for computers with a stretch goal for a Switch port (but sadly no Game Boy port).

Platform: PC
Campaign ends: December 25!
Estimated delivery time: August 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: €15 (about $17 USD)

Onirism is a third-person action game that casts you in the role of Carol, a girl exploring the fantasy world of Crearia who wears a lot of costumes and wields a surprising number of weapons (all toys, but they could put an eye out). There's even a local split-screen multiplayer mode with a stretch goal to add online play.
The games seeks to evoke memories of "the early 2000s" but Onirism looks more colorful and polished than any Dreamcast or PS2 game I ever played. The campaign says "we have been carrying this project for over two years and we do not want to let go." Onirism is PC only at present with no specific console tiers, though the developers would "obviously" like to release on Mac, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch as well.

Platform: Steam
Campaign ends: December 30
Estimated delivery time: March 2019
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $13 CAD (about $10 USD)

As a fan of 2D fighting games and video game characters based on real people, BAYANI excited me. Another reason to be excited: it's the work of an "all Filipino development team" who look to convey a glimpse of "the Philippines’ rich and colorful history, culture, and mythology." Do you know any Filipino myths? Because I don't and now it's all I want to know.

At present, BAYANI will have eight fighters who are all (loosely, I trust) based on real-life people from Filipino history, with more characters to possibly come later if stretch goals are met. With two years of work already under their belts, the developers seek to list BAYANI on Steam Early Access next spring, though they promise to deliver a playable demo to backers even sooner.

Freja and the False Prophecy
Platform: PC (for now)
Campaign ends: January 1
Estimated delivery time: January 2022
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $20 CAD (about $15 USD)

Speaking of mythology and Metroidvanias (what? I am always speaking about Metroidvanias, ask anyone), Freja and the False Prophecy is "one shield-maiden's journey" through the world of Norse gods and the Nine Realms of Yggdrasil, a setting familiar to anyone who's seen at least one Thor movie. The game looks as if it was painted onto a cave wall next to a fjord, a simple yet distinct art style that makes it "retro" in a way we don't normally consider around these parts. And as most action games of this type lean into the "adapt or die" school of difficulty, Freja will also include a story mode "for people who don't feel like they have anything to prove."

Freja and the False Prophecy is slated for a PC release although the very first stretch goal is for a Nintendo Switch port.