I have a slight problem, I go on to Kickstarter way too much, almost every other day in fact, to see if new games are posted. The problem is not that I visit the site, it’s more my bank balance that it is hurting cause of so many talented development teams – it makes picking the right game to back somewhat of a daunting task. This is where Switchwatch comes in… well, me! I am willing to do the wading though the rabble and rubbish on Kickstarter to find the few precious diamonds so you do not have to. I will only write about games I am willing to fund, if not it will not be featured.
So here are two more Kickstarter games to get you spending your money on. Both of these games will be available on the Switch on initial launch or after. Within the world of video game development, there is a high turn over of games that never see the light of day. Some of these games could have been really entertaining. The vast majority fail due to lack of funding. This is where Kickstarter come in – it gives a platform for developers to attempt to get the funding needed to produce the game of their dreams and in the process, hopefully please the backers. Even though Kickstarter is the platform that allows potential developers the means to raise the funds, it is not as easy as putting up the game idea and then you are done. The game has to try to stand out from the rest, be that story, art style, gaming mechanics, or preferably a mixture of all – it has to be special. For asking people to put faith and hard-earned cash into an idea, there has to be something about it, do you not think?
With that said, these two games have done just that. Not only have they set them selves apart from the rest, they have also hit that all so coveted funding goals. This does not mean that the games will be outstanding or even make it to launch. It does mean however, that enough people have been impressed by the content (me included). That they believe these games will be worth the wait. From talking to both developers, I can say without a shadow of a doubt they are very passionate, talented, and determined to make their dreams a reality and impress the backers that have put their trust in them. Lets begin:
Bushiden is set in the far future, you play as Raylee, a cybernetic enhanced Ninja and the last surviving member of the ancient Iga-Ryu Clan. An old enemy, Gaoh, has been risen from the dead and kidnapped your sister. He must be defeated along with his cybernetic army and your sister saved. Bushiden is a 2D Metriodvaina action pixel-art platformer, with eight non-linear levels to explore and make as much junk metal as possible. With “crowd control combat” allowing the player to stun an enemy during a combo, it allows a small bit of tactical game play that flows naturally and easily. There are abilities to unlock and purchase from the store (store owner named after myself and one other). These range from mobility upgrades to new impressive looking chi attacks. These abilities allow for unlocking new areas, and further exploration.
The music is reminiscent of the classic from the SEGA genesis era with an electro-pop twist while mixing in classical Japanese instruments. It seems like a lot but it mixes very well. Michael VA-11 HALLA Kelly, as done an outstanding job on the sound track.
I had the pleasure of an interview with the founder of Pixel Arc Studio. Here it is for you to enjoy.
Could you please introduce yourself, your studio, and give a summary of Bushiden?
Hi! I’m Chris, founder of Pixel Arc Studios, LLC and developer of Bushiden. Bushiden is a 2D, action platformer with optional exploration elements. It features beautiful, 16-bit style pixel art, an amazing soundtrack, and tight, responsive controls.
What were the influences for making Bushiden?
Games from the SNES, Genesis, and Neo Geo era of consoles. Arcade games from that time as well. The aim of Bushiden is to expand on the game play of the best titles from this era in an organic fashion while presenting visuals/graphics that can compete with the best pixel art of that time.
We knew it would cost a lot of money to be able to develop a game with this level of pixel art, so we set out from the very beginning intending to launch a Kickstarter campaign. We funded development of the game for about 12 months with the goal being to have enough of the game built to be confident in presenting it and getting funded.
What would you say are the hardest and easiest parts of making a game?
As the game developer and co-designer, the hardest parts have been making sure the game play systems are designed to be fun, interesting, and intuitive. Designing the enemy AI has been a challenge as well… you do not want to make the enemies too smart, but you also do not want them to be easy. It’s a balance we will continue to be tweaking as development continues.
The easiest part of making the game has been brainstorming new ideas! It’s extremely easy to dream up all kinds of things to implement into the game. However, reality later kicks in when you start exploring the feasibility of adding all of these ideas when considering the level of effort they will require from a coding and asset creation perspective.
What are your plans now that you have the funding?
Finish the game and (hopefully) meet all of our backers’ expectations!
What’s next for your studio?
We’d of course like to be able to continue making games, but Bushiden will be the focus of the studio for quite some time.
Now the fun stuff. How long is Bushiden play time?
The game is still early, so it’s impossible to say for sure, but we are aiming for 6-12 hours of play time depending on how much exploration the player does.
What are your favourite parts of the game?
My favourite parts of the game are the presentation (visuals and soundtrack) and how tightly the game controls. Tim and Michael are doing a fantastic job on graphics and music. It’s really a wonderful package presentation-wise. However, all of that is for noting if the game is not fun to play. Controlling Reylee feels great! He is very responsive and it all feels very fluid!
Any insider information you can tell us?
Not at this time. Sorry!
When is Bushiden due to be released?
August of 2020.
Anything else you want to say to your backers?
Thank you all so much! It’s really amazing to have so many people support you like this and enable you to continue on your journey. The entire team is so pumped up and ready to make Bushiden into an amazing final product. Our number one goal is to make sure our backers are not disappointed!
This is another pixel art, 2D Metroivania game with a twist and a good one at that, you are a monster tamer. You hatch and power up your monsters with food and equipment and send them in to a turn-based fight. After each fight you are awarded a rating from 1-5; the higher the rating will improve your chance to get an egg as well as better stats of the monster. Each monster has its own abilities as well as its own strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t take my word for it, there is a demo for you all to try for free and it will be worth your time to try.
I also had am interview with the developer, Denis, another passionate and dedicated developer who is working hard to produce his game.
Monster Sanctuary Interview
Could please introduce youreself and tell us a bit about Monster Sanctuary
Hey! I’m Denis Sinner – the developer of Monster Sanctuary. I’ve been developing games since 2001 as a hobby when I still went to school and have been working as a game programmer since 2010. Monster Sanctuary is a monster taming Metroidvania I’ve been developing for three years in my free time and am happy to be able to develop full time in the future.
Where did you come up with the idea for the game… is it an amalgamation of game types that seems to work?
It is kind of funny. I wanted to develop a monster taming game and was looking to do all the assets myself. So I thought if I make the game from the side view instead of top down like it is typically for those games, I’d much rather manage to stem the workload creating all the needed assets. Some JRPGs have done it in the past like Valkyrie profile.
How many monster are you planning on putting in game?
This depends what stretch goal we reach in the Kickstarter campaign. Currently we are promising 60+ monsters and 120+ variations. But if things go well, we will go all the way to 100 monsters and 200 variations.
How does the monster side work? Capture, breed, or both?
You get Monster Eggs as reward from battles which you can hatch the monsters from. Each combat in Monster Sanctuary receives a rating of 1-5 stars based on how well the player fought. The better the rating, the higher the chances to receive an Egg reward.
Seeing how it has RPG elements, is it just the monster that levels up or does your own character level up too?
The focus is put on the monsters. They can level up, can be equipped, and every monster has an individual skill tree. But your own Character has a little progression as well: through the game, you’ll find new items like double jump boots that provide you with new abilities to further explore the world.
How long would you like the game play to be?
We plan to have 10-15 hours game play in the full game with multiple end game content features you’ll be able to spend more time on. The current demo has 2-3 hours of game play and we plan to have 4-5 times the amount. But even now, some players managed to play more than 10 hours just in the demo version.
Why did you pick Kickstarter for funding?
Until now I’ve been developing Monster Sanctuary in my free time. But to be able to finish the game in a sane time-span, I would need to be able to work on it full time. Kickstarter appeared as an attractive way to be able to fund this endeavour.
How big is your development team?
It is mostly me myself doing all of Programming, Design, Pixel Art, and Music. My brother Anton is helping me with Story, text, and some ideas.
What has been the hardest and easiest part of the campaign so far?
I wanted to create a corporate before running the Kickstarter and the bureaucratic part took way longer than expected. It delayed the start of the Kickstarter for quite a bit and waiting for it wasn’t so pleasant. On the other hand, the start of the Kickstarter went better than I could have wished for.
Can you give me any insider information about your game?
The project name initially was “16bit Monsters”. Even when I first started showing some screenshots online, it was still going by that name.
Is there anything you like to say to backers or possible backers?
Thanks for supporting the game and making it for me possible to work on it full time!
I hope this longer then expected article has made you want to check out the Bushiden and Monster Sanctuary. I thank you for sticking with me till the end. Lastly, I would like to thank both developers for taking the time to do the interviews with me and I cant wait to play them on my Switch.