Kickstarter Picks: Chroma Squad, Candle, and more!

We love seeing projects successfully meet their Kickstarter goals, even if it means we didn’t get a chance to write about them.  This week, League of Legends-inspired Project Ward was on our radar, but met its funding goal only 12 hours after launch.  (It’s still worth supporting if you need to reveal the fog of war in your home.)  Luckily, there’s no shortage of worthwhile and in-need projects to talk about: this week includes a Power Rangers-style sim, a top-notch documentary, and a CRPG that could be the second coming of Ultima Online.

Rather than profiling a single Kickstarter project, future Kickstarter Picks articles will be rounding up a bunch of great games that we feel are worthy of your backer dollars. Like the new format? Have a project you think we should be aware of? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Chroma Squad – After last year’s surprise meta-hit, Knights of Pen & Paper, we couldn’t wait to see what Behold Studios would do next.  The small, seven-developer team has resurfaced on Kickstarter with another retro pixel-styled, once-removed meta-game: Chroma Squad.  At first glance, Chroma Squad looks like an action-packed, battle-driven spoof of Power Rangers—which it is, to some degree.  On a much larger scale, it’s all of that packaged within a management simulation where your primary goal is to create a successful sentai TV studio that produces those giant monster-slaying shows.  You’ll need to hire actors, select special effects, build marketing campaigns, and actually record the super sentai episodes in action.  They way you direct your studio will change its course and even the monsters you’ll do semi-fake battle with, including a duck with disturbingly muscular arms.  With a multiplayer mode that lets you compete with friends for viewership, Chromas Squad looks to have everything we ever wanted in a ’90s throwback super sentai management sim, and more!

GameLoading: Rise of the Indies – Considering that video games are a 50 year-old mega-market, the number of movies and books about them are surprisingly slim.  (Note: not movies based on video games, of which there are painfully plenty.)  Indie Game: The Movie set a precedence for quality in entertaining video game documenting last year, and GameLoading: Rise of the Indies looks poised to surpass that standard.  Indie Game made its point by focusing on three specific developers and their distinct paths to launching a game on Xbox LIVE Arcade—or, in Jonathan Blow’s case, the aftermath from doing so.  GameLoading is surveying a much wider collective of indie developers from around the globe, focusing on the community that has grown from a shared desire to create smaller, artistic, passion projects not burdened by publisher pushback.  At the same time, GameLoading will also provide viewpoints from some of those creators born of the larger AAA space, like Trip Hawkins.  All of this is wrapped in an extremely enthusiastic, high quality film presentation that should do the indie scene justice.

BalrumBalrum is classic CRPG fan fuel wrapped in a modern package.  The gameplay screams Ultima, but Balrum has a crisp, detailed style that should attract even players who didn’t grow up with Lord British and Spiderweb Software.  The world and NPCs of Balrum are active in realtime, going about their lives during the day and visiting the bar or sleeping at night.  Characters don’t just stand in place, waiting for the hero to interact with them—they’ll eat breakfast, go hunting, chop down trees, and lead generally realistic lives.  This carries over to your own character, who can build a house and plant a farm to live off of.  Your home will be a place to recharge, store equipment, interact with visitors, and craft new items.  Of course, as an RPG, quests still play a major role in the plot and progression of Balrum, and you’ll be able to explore five chapters’ worth of dungeons filled with turn-based battles and boatloads of loot.  Balrum looks like it will scratch the CRPG itch and then some, keeping the classic style very much alive today and beyond.

Candle – It’s impossible to not be charmed by Candle.  The platformer adventure is a gorgeous explosion of layered, hand-painted watercolor backgrounds that are simultaneously cartoonish and otherworldly.  Our hero, Teku, is reminiscent of a pudgy voodoo doll that just happens to have a candle for a hand.  Teku must keep his hand lit throughout the game while also using it to solve environmental puzzles, like lighting dark rooms or scaring away nocturnal enemies.  These puzzles are inspired by a combination of classic adventures like Out of this World and modern offerings like Oddworld, promising plenty of steady action bookmarked by clever, smoothly integrated challenges.  Teku is not aggressive and cannot attack enemies, so the dangers of his world must be avoided in more creative ways, like charming a giant-toothed rabbit to chomp through a tree.  Since Candle has already been in production for a year, there’s plenty of amazing eye-candy to enjoy on its Kickstarter page, and plenty more to come for backers and fans alike.

Will to SurviveWill to Survive is a survival RPG, but its unique focus on real-time resource management and 24/7 depletion means it’s also something of a virtual pet simulator.  The main game revolves around Will, a post-apocalyptic survivor in an alien-controlled earth.  Will’s time is divided between scavenging for supplies while fighting off aliens in turn-based RPG encounters—or trying to avoid them entirely.  Enemies and supplies react to your actions, so resources that have been scavenged will not respawn, forcing Will to move farther away from his comfort zone into more hostile territory.  Like most survival games, death is permanent in Will to Survive, whether that’s from an alien surprise attack or starvation—while you’re playing or away from the game.  Since Will to Survive operates in constant, real time, Will is not safe just because you’ve turned off the power.  Before exiting, you’ll need to prepare his safe house with stores of food, water, and defenses set up along the perimeter to prevent aliens from bursting in while you’re out.  The game will approximate how long Will can make it while you’re away, allowing you to step out for hours or days as necessary—so long as you have the resources to do so.  Assuming Will makes it, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off from any of the supported devices thanks to multiplatform cloud saves.  Will to Survive is definitely an ambitious first project from one-man developer Alex Dawson, but assuming it meets its promises (and Kickstarter goal), we can’t wait to play it.

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