The dictionary is mightier than the sword
“Apex + Lexicon = Apexicon. Simple as that,” Jonathan Meyer, designer, programmer, and founder of Actos Games explained. “It’s the ‘height of all word banks,’ basically, an artifact from which all man got the idea about how to use words. It’s something of an origin story for a world, which is always a neat concept to start with. This coveted book has been lost to time, and who knows who actually has it? That’s one of your goals during the story – to find out.”
Apexicon is also the title of a new game being developed by Meyer’s indie studio that’s now wending its way through Kickstarter. A “puzzle RPG with a focus on story, combat, and world-building,” Apexicon challenges you to battle enemies by creating words from a Boggle-style board of jumbled letters. But it’s meant to be more than just a word-search game, as the plan for the full release includes town management, NPCs, customizable characters, leveled equipment, cross-platform saves, and more.
Meyer cites Puzzle Quest, Scrabble and Bookworm Adventures as inspirations for Apexicon, but said he was after something a little bit different when he began work on the game. “I knew that there were a lot of match-3 games out there, and while I enjoyed them, I hadn’t seen a real take on making words out of a large board for quite some time,” he said. “I knew it was perfect for mobiles, as touching the screen would be child’s play. Making it on PC seemed the right thing to do as well, and the idea to swap saves between the two became a big feature focus.”
For such an ambitious project, the Kickstarter goal is a relatively paltry $15,000. Meyer said the budget is based on 2D assets – the game is being built with the Construct 2 HTML5 game creator – and the participation of “fantastic people” who are working on the serious cheap. “We just need the capital to really start off with getting what we want nailed down, then really shooting for the top,” he added.
The good news is that if the Kickstarter doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world: Meyer said it would “slow us down” but won’t mean the end of the project. “We’ll re-evaluate why it failed, look for a smaller goal to reach that our core fanbase can help us attain, and then work from there,” he said. “It’s pretty simple really, and not something disheartening at all.”
I played a very early tech demo of Apexicon, and while it was almost completely feature-free, it was enough to provide a very rough idea of what the team is shooting for. A more complete picture of what’s in store should be coming “quite soon,” as Meyer said the team is prepping an updated demo with some features implemented, while a “real” version of the game, which will mark the start of beta testing, will follow later.
I’m something of a sucker for word games so maybe I’m biased (okay, there’s no question that I’m biased), but even though Apexicon is a bit on the amorphous side for such an ambitious project right now, I really hope it finds success. The Apexicon Kickstarter is live now and runs until December 1, and is also up for voting on Steam Greenlight. To find out more about the game and the studio behind it, turn your attention to actosgames.com.