Kickstarter Picks: Eyes Open, Paranautical Activity and more!

There’s a lot of death in this week’s Kickstarter picks, and a lot of love.  With two roguelikes and a stealth horror game on dock, there are plenty of ways to face your own mortality over and over again.  When you need a break from sweating pixelated bullets, we have a community content-based fan book to remind you of the beautiful things in life, like Metroidvanias—we have one of those, too.   

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!

Beyond Black Space– With its strategic overhead control of a spacecraft, roguelike focus on perma-death, and real-time alien battle system, the most obvious comparison for Beyond Black Space is FTL: Faster Than Light.  Considering how much fun we’ve had with FTL, though, that’s definitely not a bad thing.  Beyond Black Space looks to put more focus on the storyline and characters of its ragtag space exodus, with a very Battlestar Galactica-esque plot: after aliens invade earth, your ship and crew are the only remaining humans left in the galaxy.  You’re traveling out and beyond in hopes of finding a new place to live, with no one to provide support or backup when needed.  Along the way, you’ll encounter alien friends and foes, some of which you’ll help in exchange for supplies, and others you’ll battle and scavenge for parts.  This last-ship-in-the-galaxy, scavenging aspect plays a significant role in Beyond Black Space‘s gameplay and challenge: mining asteroid belts and crafting items will be a critical part of survival.  As you explore, survey, and fight, your crew will gain experience in their relative disciplines, adding more value to each of your actions.  Of course, if one of them dies, you’ll have to fill their bridge chair with a low-level replacement—assuming you have any left. 

Crash PointCrash Point features a lot of drool-worthy keywords that keep gamers up at night: Metroidvania, cyberpunk, pixel art.  Its hero is a blacklisted mercenary named Val, who resembles a somewhat reptilian Samus and makes a living wall-jumping and uppercutting enemies into submission.  However, the dystopian world that she operates within is not just a hostile alien planet, but an arcology made up of abandoned homes, schools, shops, and corporations.  The economic downturn that left dangerous enemies patrolling its corridors has also produced potential allies that Val will encounter during her mission.  All of these are represented by charming pixel art that appears vague at first glance, but proves surprisingly detailed the more you look at it.  A lot of Crash Point‘s world is not as it first appears: thanks to the entire arcology being networked together, Val can enter the mainframe at critical points and hack her way to unique, puzzle-like solutions after a platforming challenge.  An enemy that is immune to her weapon, for example, can be bested by hacking a crate to drop on his head.  Val will also need to find and equip various augments from the world that alter her appearance and improve her abilities, like changing her attack combos or movement style.  Even at this early stage, Crash Point is brimming with key Metroidvania features along with unique aspects that should help it stand out as a worthy addition to the genre, and one that we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on.

Eyes OpenEyes Open is a stealth horror game streamlined to the bare essentials: your avatar, an abandoned asylum, and monsters around every corner.  There’s no fighting your way out of hairy situations; you’ll need to carefully avoid danger while managing your character’s sanity.  This is done by closing your eyes (in-game) and navigating the levels blindly.  With eyes closed, you’ll be able to see just a slit of the screen—enough to tell whether you can go straight or turn, but not enough to see where enemies are lurking.  This allows you to recover health and fend off ever-looming madness, but you’ll eventually have to open your eyes and face what you know is waiting in the dark.  With procedurally generated levels designed to provide new layouts as well monster types, and a compelling narrative driving the seemingly straightforward action, you might be surprised at what you find and learn each playthrough.

Minecraft Photo Book – Kickstarter rewards are some of the most limited edition and enviable swag available these days, and sometimes pointing out a project’s one-time-only product opportunity is just as important as supporting the idea itself.  Such is the case with the Minecraft Photo Book, the second edition of this massive collection of Minecraft community-created content.  From Egyptian landscapes to dragon fortresses, superhero statues to space shuttles, 60 pages worth of Minecraft creations are featured and immortalized in print, with QR codes of each item for easy sharing.  However, if you want to run your fingers over a physical copy of this book, you’ll need to become a backer: print versions will only be given to Kickstarter supporters and will not be sold afterwards.  There will be an ebook version available, but that doesn’t come with new book smell.  

Paranautical ActivityParanautical Activity is technically already “out,” available in a highly playable beta form at Desura.  The Kickstarter campaign aims to finalize the game and upgrade it from an already amazing game to an amazing game with lots more weapons, enemies, items, and content in general, including tantalizing stretch goals like Oculus Rift support and competitive multiplayer.  Paranautical Activity is and will remain an arcade FPS inspired by the simplicity and speed of classics like Quake and Doom, a roguelike dungeon crawler where dead means dead, and a voxel twitch-fest that is bursting with easily recognizable but charmingly retro enemies and weapons.  You’ll blow up angler fish monsters with rocket launchers, snipe towering demons with crossbows, and blast floating skulls with shotguns—and that’s only a few of the death-dealing combinations already available.  Although the extremely fast-paced FPS action is the core gameplay mechanic, Paranautical Activity‘s roguelike features provide item upgrades for stronger weapons, armor, or abilities like flipping the gravity of a room, and encourage persistent replays as you die, learn from your mistakes, and dive back in with the “just once, but really ten times more” mentality.  A game this good deserves to be made even better.

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