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Posts tagged ‘double fine productions’

Kickstarter is the New Black

Kickstarter

Internet phenomena tend to happen at the quickest moments and without much warning. One minute, you are sure you have caught up on the latest and greatest, and seemingly (sometimes literally) overnight, a new trend develops and becomes viral. I am not sure if I missed the train when it comes to Kickstarter, or if this is something brand new, but it looks as if this is the outlet any creative mind can use to, well, ‘kickstart’ their project. Straight from their website, Kickstarter explains:

We help people (like you!)fund creative projects.

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art,technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.

I first heart about a Kickstarter funded project when Stacking and Costume Quest creators Double Fine decided to back their latest project through this site. Creatively named Double Fine Adventure, the project was a challenge that was accepted by Double Fine, who heard mixed ideas on whether or not adventure games in the industry were dead. This project started with a humble goal of $400,000, and skyrocketed to a whopping $2.3 million. The fan support (as noted by the website and comments on Kickstarter) has been absolutely tremendous, and I feel this game is both well deserved to the fans as well as the developers.

But how does one reach such a lofty goal, let alone exceed it by over five times the original intended amount? Part of that could probably be blamed on the incredibly creative and interestingly crafty rewards for the different tiers. $10,000 will land you various content from the game; hard back art book, the original sound track, autographed posters, even a mini portrait of you! But wait, there’s more! A backing of this amount also gets you dinner with Tim Schafer (founder of Double Fine), members of the development team, and a tour of the office. Talk about an impressive deal. The rewards do not stop there as each tier progressively gets sweeter and sweeter the more you are able to back.

Seeing projects like this aid in the hope for those who are looking for creative ways to bring their own ideas out onto the table, but may not have the appropriate funding for their team. The industry as it stands right now is difficult to get into, with big name companies out-funding most of the little guys. However, there has been a shift with the introduction of WiiWare, the PSN, and the X-Box Live Arcade, as well as other digital distribution methods, where we are seeing more indie game developers gaining exposure through these outlets. Originally, to have any media sold, you had to sell your idea to the publisher. Now, these walls are being lowered thanks to digital content, which eliminates the publishing aspect and solely relies on your creativity as a developer. This is also lowering costs, since developers now do not have to concern themselves about the cost of printing and manufacturing.

Needless to say, there has been an overwhelming number of fans who are excited for the game. As of today, there are over 67,000 backers who have helped fund this project, and I am certain that the folks over at Double Fine couldn’t be happier. If you wish to follow more, or back their project yourself, please head on over to Double Fine’s Official Website or to their Kickstarter. You can also browse Kickstarter by the ‘Games’ category to find plenty of other innovative projects waiting to be backed by enthusiastic individuals such as yourselves.

Costume Quest – Double Fine Productions/THQ – 360

This was the review I wrote to get my job at UnknownGamer, hence the difference in style. This is probably how most of them are going to look from now on.

Game: Costume Quest
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: THQ
Genre: RPG
Release Date (NA and EU):
NA: October 19, 2010 (PS3)
EU: October 20, 2010 (PS3)
NA: October 20, 2010 (360)
Rating: ESRB E10+
MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points
Console Played On: Microsoft Xbox 360

Costume Quest begins with the role of young Reynold (male) or Wren (female), who just moved into a new town around Halloween. On Halloween night, their parents insist that they should go out with each other to make new friends, but their actual goal is to ditch the sibling and come home with as much candy as possible. Either sibling (depending on your choice) is then abducted by creatures called Grubbins, who are there to take all of the candy from the unsuspecting town. Costume Quest is one of the most innovative twists on an RPG that I have seen in quite some time.

From the moment the game is turned on; the player will immediately notice that this game is unlike any normal RPG tale: the sense of humor is subtle, but it is hilarious within the story. The relationship between the main character and the sibling is easy to relate to (assuming one has a sibling to relate to) and makes for some interesting dialog and snarky remarks. The objective of Costume Quest is simple: find the sibling, while raiding the neighborhood of as much candy as possible in a door-to-door trick or treat fashion.

Throughout the course of the game, there are many side quests to obtain that have many rewards, including various objects from battle stamps to Creepy Treat Cards. The battle stamps can be equipped to each of the party members to give them different abilities in battle. These range from added HP and attack power to paralyzing an enemy for a few turns with toilet paper. Creepy Treat Cards are simply a collection that must be filled in order to complete an achievement during the game’s progression. There are also various costume parts hidden throughout the town, which are one of the games main premises and carry with them many abilities both inside and out of battle.

Battles take place by either smacking a Grubbin with your candy pail, or by fighting random Grubbins who have invaded the houses around town. It is a typical turn-based RPG in the sense that each side takes turns fighing, with the heroes generally taking the first turns. When attacking, the game prompts the player to enter a certain button or perform some action (such as rotating the joystick) to allow for more damage. Likewise, when being attacked the player can press a button accordingly and reduce the damage to the characters. This usually is the difference between life or death, so a player cannot mindlessly jam the A button like some other RPG’s allow. One of the most unique aspects of the game is that the abilities that each costume offers are incredibly well thought out for each. The player is offered the option to use the ability after three turns have passed, and every one does something different from normal damage with fire damage over time, to healing and resurrecting party members. This is usually accompanied by an amusing animation that works to highlight the characters ‘superpower-like’ ways.

The music and visuals are very fitting for the game. Musically, the game’s eerie soundtrack is soft, but powerful enough to set the tone for what’s going on within the game’s story. There are haunting soundtracks that add just a touch of suspense (but not much, compared to the cutesy graphics). The art is very clean and well manipulated, and while I noticed a little slow down during the graphically intense parts, there was nothing so overbearing that absolutely could not be overlooked. The shadows and atmosphere are key to providing this game with the Halloween-ish feel through and through.

Overall, the game was a very solid game to play, giving a new take on the traditional RPG, with elements fun enough to keep the player engaged. There is a very low level cap, so there is never a feeling of grinding out levels to beat bosses. As long as the player keeps in mind the elements of pressing a button during battle, chances are the game will not be challenging to the point where it cannot be completed. My only peeve with the game was that it felt incredibly short, with only a few areas the player was able to explore). They have recently added DLC, however, which I have not had a chance to experience yet. With over 20 quests, nine costumes, and enough dialog to keep the player from ever getting bored, this game is a must have for any gamers who love RPG’s and are looking for something that brings a new element of game play to the table. After all, how many times can anyone say they saved their sister/brother AND brought home more candy than their pillow case can hold in a single Halloween night?

Liked:
+Originality and story.
+Creative costumes/abilities.
+Refreshing RPG elements.

Disliked:
-Too short.
-Repetitive.
-Difficulty wasn’t consistent.

Innovative:
~A holiday meets an RPG.
~Amusing dialog.
~Costume utilization.

Unknown Gamer gives Costume Quest an 8/10.