Five Kickstarter Games Worth Investing In Now

Mar 16, 2013 07:32 PM EDT | By Michael Epstein (m.epstein@gamenguide.com)

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  • Shovel Knight
  • (Photo : Shovel Knight by Kickstarter)

Last year's Kickstarter gaming boom may have come and gone, but the power of the crowdsourcing seems to have endured. There are always new developers looking to fund their games: Why should they get any less attention just because the word "Kickstarter" has switched from an intregueing buzzword to code for a certain brand of indie. Here are five games on Kickstarter that look like they're worth funding, but haven't reached their goal.

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1. "Shovel Knight"

Current Funding: $20,746   Goal: $75,000   Kickstarter End-Date: April 13    Platforms: PC (Wii U and 3DS "hopefully")

A knight wielding a shovel doesn't sound especially intimidating, but that doesn't mean "Shovel Knight" won't be one of the toughest 8-bit revivals you've ever played. Developer Yacht Club Games, made of former designers from sprite-based gamemakers WayForward, says the game draws from games like "Mega Man," "Castlevania," and "Dark Souls."

Of those three, the "Mega Man" influence is by far the most apparent. To save his beloved, the Shovel Knight must face the knights from the Order of no Quarter, each of whom has a special power and themed stage. (The first announced enemy is the ice-themed "Polar Knight.") The Shovel Knight himself only has one ability, digging. He can dig through the level, and jump to "dig" and attack enemies from above.

2. "Pulse"

Current Funding: $19,572    Goal: $75,000    Kickstarter End-Date: April 11     Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Echo-location is the name of the game in "Pulse." A first-person thriller, the player character is blind and can "see" only after using sound to determine their surroundings. To do this, they rely on helpful creatures called Mokos who make sounds that help them see. While visualizing the world will be possible, combat will not, and players will have to avoid the "terrifying creatures" hunting them.

Originally a student project by a group from the Vancouver FIlm School, Team Pixel Pi wants to make a full game.  In its infancy, the project recieved high praise as a finalist at the Independant Games Festival.

3. "CiViTAS"

Current Funding: $111,139     Goal: $250,000     Kickstarter End-Date: April 1     Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

The pitch for "CiViTAS" is simple: a DRM-Free "SimCity" successor. Touted as "highly modable," the alternative sim embodies everything that critics and fans have complained about in the now-legendarily broken game. This isn't nearly as pretty as "SimCity," but what it lacks in flash, it makes up for with substance. If you feel even a little burned by what EA and Maxis have done to "SimCity," you owe it to yourself to invest in this game.

4. "Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues"

Current Funding: $930,305     Goal: $1,000,000     Kickstarter End-Date: April 7     Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Richard Garriott, creator of the "Ultima" series, and father of the MMORPG, thinks that RPGs have lost their way. With "Shroud of the Avatar," he's going to the 21st century to show gamers how it's done. Fans of "Ultima" will likely feel a twinge of nostalgia looking at Gariott's new online fantasy world, which he claims will focus on "more on player choices and exploration than level grinding." The game won't stay completely stuck in the 80s, though: Every character will live in a persistant world and exist whether players are online or not, missions will feature "scenes," (instances) and a "meaningful" PvP system designed to reduce griefing.

5. "Another Castle"

Current Funding: $9,812      Goal: $12,000     Kickstarter End-Date: March 29     Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Ouya, Wii U

Living in a post-Mario world, platformers can start to all feel the same, can't they? There's a hero, navigating some kind of world, to save something or someone from an evil villain. "Another Castle" embraces the interchangable nature of the most played-out genre with a procedurally generated experience. Every time players start a game, they'll tackle randomized levels to save a randomized, and probably funny, object.

The best part: when you beat the game, the thing you're looking for is always in another castle, but it will be available the next time you play. In other words, "Another Castle" not only provides seemingly infinite replayability, it also keeps giving you reasons to come back.

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