We all know Kickstarter. A corner of the internet where people and organisations go to get financial backing for their projects. The massive success of Star Citizen is probably the best known to gamers along with the Veronica Mars film for you silver screen buffs.It’s made a name for itself by helping great projects that might struggle to get capital from publishers or investors pull themselves from the brains of their creators and out to the world to stand on their own two feet. One such game that has leapt its way down this route is simply called Rain World, and has Slugcats.
Rain World, or Project Rain World as it’s also known. Is the brain child of Joar Jakobsson and James Primate. Joar takes care of the Concept, Programming, Art, Design while James takes care of the Music, Sound and assorted business activities.
The world they have created is an abandoned industrial environment scorched by a shattered eco-system. What makes it more deadly though is the titular rain which falls upon this wasteland. It’s not a light sprinkling or the kind you run into the nearest store from. It’s crushing to the core and regularly hits the surface making normal life impossible.
As a result most of the worlds creatures hibernate the rain-filled weeks away until the rain stops. During the few dry days upon this world, they hunt.
You take the role of a Slugcat. The Slugcat is a surprisingly cute mixture of Slug and Cat – unsurprisingly – who can manipulate objects in the world to throw at predators. You are not only hunted though, you must also hunt down smaller prey to survive.
Gameplay takes the form of sneaking and climbing through the landscape using quick controls and physics based animations which bring a fluidity to every movement. Add to this, primal encounters against both predator and prey who use highly developed AI to hinder your need to survive.
Aesthetically Project Rain World displays a nostalgia-inducing 16 bit theme, which in the past year has grown from being the hidden delight of 20+-year-old gamers everywhere harking back to their SNES days into the mainstay of innovative indie games the world over. The start contrast between grey/black environments and your very own Slugcat mean you’ll always be able to get a bearing on exactly where you are. Strap on to this flashes of bright colour around important areas like the heads of enemies which straddle the line between attention-sucking and unobtrusive to the gameplay.
Through some masterful creative wizardry the animation properties of the game will be handled with an aforementioned physics-and-code system which from early footage looks like witchcraft at its best. On a personal note the death Animations that put me in mind of the old Heart of Darkness which still to this day shock me at their brutal devastation of a small cute creature (although in Heart of Darkness it was an irritating blonde twerp).
Taking a closer look at the musical accompaniment (a preview of which you can find on the Kickstarter page), it manages to seamlessly combine the techno-style zeitgeist in current musical trends, 16-bit era melodies and a backing which has the power even without gameplay to fill your body with a creeping terror hidden behind sparks of joyous wonder. You can tangibly feel the pressure changes of a looming storm paired with the need to explore.
At the time of writing Project Rain World is sat at 910 backers with $20,274 of the $25,000 goal already being raised with 29 days to go its a safe bet that Project Rain World is going to come blinking out of the darkness and into the light of monitors around the world. It’s still not too late for you to get in on the action though. Pledging $10 gets you a digital copy at release (currently penned in December 2014) and a concept art PDF as well as wallpapers and sketches. Taking it up a level to $25 you’ll get Early Access around August as well as a digital copy of the incredible soundtrack.
For all you shirt lovers pledging $80 gets you all that’s gone before, a physical signed copy of the soundtrack and a printed glow in the dark Rain World shirt. Last but by no means least though if you pledge over $200 you’ll be getting your very own custom Slugcat plushie as well as concept art poster of your buddy and almost everything from the previous tiers. However at time of writing there’s only 3 of those left! So you big money Kickstarter lovers, get cracking now before they’re all gone!