A Kick for Kickstarters: Trüberbrook and Super Mighty Power Man

I’ve mentioned how tough of a time this is for crowdfunding campaigns in recent “A Kick for Kickstarters” posts, but you wouldn’t think so with the number I’ve made in the last few months. Not all of these projects have succeeded, but I have to give it to those who at least try to get their ideas realized, and aren’t trying to scam backers. It’s tough for anyone who isn’t an established developer with a worthwhile reputation these days, but not impossible for those lucky enough to get promoted and can keep their goal to a minimum. I have two more to feature that could use more attention, though one is doing very well.

First is Trüberbrook, a mystery sci-fi adventure game set in rural Germany during one part of the Cold War in the 1960s. The main character here is an American physics student named Hans Tannhouser, who won the trip to the titular Trüberbrook in a lottery he doesn’t recall entering. But he goes through with the trip out of curiosity. Shortly after arriving, he’s thrust into a dramatic turn of events after a stranger breaks into his room at the Guesthouse Waldeslust and steals his physics paper. In discovering the reason why and getting a general feel for the town, he’ll stumble upon several colorful characters, though paleoanthropology-studier Gretchen Lemke is the only one that seems normal.

Adventure games are more common now than during the lull where PC gaming temporarily lost relevance around a decade ago, but they’re still infrequent enough that a new one is worth celebrating. It also helps that Trüberbrook has a unique presentation style, with its background and character models being created by hand and subsequently digitized. It’s a lot of work, but the development team at btf in Berlin says they’re enjoying it, and it’s made for pretty results. To accompany the atmosphere, the game will also have a fittingly haunting soundtrack, samples of which have been posted on the main page.

The developers asked for $94,341 to fund Trüberbrook, an odd amount thanks to it being converted from euros. The presentation of the game and overall page is good enough here that backers were already convinced, leading to it being funded within a day of launching. There are also stretch goals for Lore Items, a Handmade Soundscape (these guys really do love this), and a prologue. It’s already hit the first two, and should reach the third in due time with a whole 27 days left in the campaign. The page implies that more goals are planned after the third one, which they should reveal soon. The game is due for a release in late 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC/Mac/Linux. Don’t be surprised if it gets delayed, but let’s hope it has a smooth development.

Second is Super Mighty Power Man, a sprite-based 2D game reminiscent of an NES title. Anyone familiar with the NES era merely needs to observe it to see how it’s mostly inspired by the old Mega Man games, though it also includes inspiration from other older titles like Castlevania and Contra, and newer retro-style titles like VVVVVV and Shovel Knight. Main character Corey discovers that he’s the chosen one who will have to save Earth against the invading forces of the nefarious General Mok, though he’ll have help from an alien robot named “Robby” and a mysterious device known as “The Power Grasp.” He’ll also eventually obtain the ability to switch between eight different suits, though that includes his human form. Does this remind you of anything?

The pitch video shows many of the powers in action, and how incredibly similar to Mega Man this looks. Corey even walks, shoots, and slides like him, though his jump isn’t quite as good thanks to an improved leap being attached to one of the suits. It also captures the NES-style visuals as most players remember them, like Shovel Knight, meaning they’re bereft of the glitches and clipping some NES games contained. The amount of people who complained about those on the Mega Man Legacy Collection were immense, thanks to several either not remembering them or playing them through ports that fixed the issues.

It was a strange decision for the developers at Box Hedge Games not to use a chiptune track in the pitch video, because it could give those who visit the page the immediate impression that it’s not the NES recreation it wants to be. Fortunately, the game will use chiptunes for its soundtrack, and samples are further down the page, but first impressions are important.

The developers are asking for $58,885 to fund the project, another amount converted by the euro. It’s raised $10,604 after being active for nearly a few days, which isn’t bad, but also not good given how the earliest days of a crowdfunding campaign tend to be some of the best. I’ve seen several comments from people saying they’re tired of NES throwbacks, especially for linear platformers, and would prefer either SNES or PSX-era titles. Though making those would be more expensive, they may not be in the minority. Making a Mega Man-inspired title through crowdfunding also dredged up bad memories of a certain other title funded through Kickstarter that turned out underwhelming.

There’s still a good chance for this project to meet its goal despite those tired of NES throwbacks, which could happen if it’s covered on more sites. If it’s funded, the developers hope to release the game on Steam, Switch, and 3DS in late 2018. It could also arrive on PS4 and XB1 if it reaches the stretch goals at $105,000 and $151,600, respectively. The developers and backers should worry about it being funded first, though.

Given how often these posts are happening, I might return with another crowdfunding post in around a month. Let’s just home the majority of the legitimate projects are successful.

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