Indie Game Kickstarter Highlights August 2018

By Tim Youngblood

August had some interesting Kickstarter campaigns that have a few weeks left to meet their funding goals. Let’s check out some games!

Titan Arena: A Virtual Reality Shooter

Titan Arena is a VR battle arena where players have to jump and fly around using futuristic weapons to fight giant robots. The game was developed by Lightbound Studios, whose members have worked on AAA series like God of War, Medal of Honor, and Lord of the Rings: Conquest.

Titan Arena is set to release in late 2019 for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality if it can get funding. This game stood out to me because the gameplay looked more fast-paced than most VR games being developed currently. In future updates, this is a game I would love to see with some kind of multiplayer or high score ladder system. I think this would be an awesome game to see at an arcade.



Learn More About Titan Arena


Squarewave Maker: A Rhythm Game With a Sandbox Level Creation System

Rhythm games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but Squarewave Maker might change some minds about the genre. Besides having pretty graphics and smooth gameplay, it has a sandbox style level creation system that allows players to make their own levels and share them with others.

Squarewave Maker was developed by Moshing Cat Studio with a goal of releasing on Steam in October 2019. Moshing Cat Studio had to make their own game engine in order to create their sandbox system, which they say was “inspired by Mario Maker and Ableton Live.” The editor looks actually does look a lot like Ableton and I’m especially interested to see if Squarewave Maker can help people learn about audio production.



Learn More About Squarewave Maker


Meeple Station: A Cooperative Space Station Simulator

In Meeple Station, players (up to 12 of them!) build and maintain a space station for their meeple, which are little cartoony people. While the game features some low pixel count retro graphics, the game itself is quite complex. Players have to mine resources in space, trade with other stations, manage crew morale and much more!

Meeple Station was developed by Vox Games, who also developed Regions of Ruin. Meeple Station is set to release in December 2018 on Steam if it can get funding! Also, Meeple Station has a demo!



Learn More About Meeple Station

What Were Your Favorite Kickstarter Campaigns This Summer?

There were a lot of awesome-looking campaigns this summer that I didn’t get to write about so I tried to focus on games that could use some help to meet their funding goals. Were there any Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns that caught your eye? Please share them in the comments!

Indie Game Kickstarter Highlights: May 2018

By Tim Youngblood


Editor’s Note: This month’s Kickstarter highlights are technically last month’s highlights, so,  unfortunately, some of their campaigns have already finished.

May’s indie game Kickstarter campaigns gave us some new genres and revamped some classics.

Hide Or Die – Large Scale Asymmetrical Horror


Hide or Die was developed in Unreal Engine 4 by VecFour Digital, a 3 person dev team based out of Singapore. The game’s genre was coined as a “horror royale,” a combination of an asymmetrical horror and a battle royale. The game has a minimal interface and an immersive feel. Even player’s chat windows are contained on the screen of an in-game smartphone.

In Hide Or Die, 16 players (designated as survivors in the game) start in an underground bunker and have to solve an array of puzzles in procedurally generated levels while avoiding “the darkness”. Once a survivor is consumed by the darkness, that player will transform into a crazed “hunter”, who tries to stop the other players from completing their objectives. If the “hunter” fails to stop a “survivor” from completing their objective, the “hunter” is eliminated. There are some more steps in between, but the game ends with a duel between the last “survivor” and the last “hunter”.

VecFour Digital raised $153,000 for Hide Or Die, and the game is set to release in October. Despite being a super immersive game, virtual reality was not one of their stretch goals… which I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing…



Learn More About Hide Or Die


Chiaro and the Elixir of Life: A Virtual Reality Adventure

Chiaro and the Elixir of Life is a story-driven, VR, puzzle adventure developed in Unreal Engine 4 by Martov Co, a dev team based out of Montreal, Canada. In the game, players are immersed into the magical VR realm of Neverrain, where they unlock the secrets of alchemists, by doing lots of puzzles, and they get a steampunk penguin for a companion. I’m probably biased here, but all of those things in list form sound awesome.

The developers have been working on the game for over two years, and it shows in the production value. The game is fully voiced and features an original soundtrack. Chiaro and the Elixir of Life has only 12 days left on their campaign and are about halfway to their $7,500 goal.


Learn More About Chiaro and the Elixir of Life


Stoneshard: Open-world Roguelike RPG with Tactical Freedom


Stoneshard is a procedurally generated, open-world, roguelike RPG developed by Ink Stains Games. Back in 2015, Ink Stains Games successfully funded 12 is Better Than 6, a top-down shooter.

Stoneshard doesn’t have the high contrast art style of 12 is Better Than 6. Instead, Ink Stains Games went old school for this game. What the game may lack in modern graphics, it more than makes up for in complexity and brutality. I don’t mean brutality in the context of the game being ultra-violent (Although it’s still plenty violent), this game is really, really, hard. Death is permanent and just about everything can kill your character… like even infection and disease. I did not make it far into the demo before dying. It’s like if Hardcore mode in Diablo 2 had a baby with Oregon Trail.

Ink Stains Games raised over $100,000 to fund Stoneshard, which is set to release in October for PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch.



Learn More About Stoneshard

Indie Game Kickstarter Highlights: April 2018

By Tim Youngblood


It’s time for the monthly Kickstarter roundup! Here are the games with campaigns that started back in April that caught my eye!

Solar Warden

Solar Warden is a six-degrees-of-freedom space fighter developed by Polar Zenith in Unreal Engine. Solar Warden isn’t just any space shooter, it’s also a fleet-based RTS with a campaign that forces the players to manage the expectations and egos of countries all around the world to secure funding for their fleet. The campaign is also full co-op!

What drew me to this game was how it combines so many different genres using a feature they call “telepresence”. Players have an entire world to protect and deploy on missions accordingly (Like XCOM), they then have control of a fleet (Kind of like EVE), and then they can take control of individual ships in combat (Like Colony Wars).

With 6 days left on their campaign and $15,000 to go, it’s going to be a photo finish for Polar Zenith and Solar Warden!


Learn More About Solar Warden

Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness

Some of my favorite games growing up were Balder’s Gate and Icewind Dale. Isometric graphics were a staple of PC games in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and I think that look always ages well. So of course, I got excited when Grape Ocean Technologies announced Black Geyser, which was developed in Unity and continues in that vein.

Although the graphics in Black Geyser don’t look much more modern than the classics, it’s what’s under the hood that counts. Black Geyser was developed to have NPCs whose alignment is constantly shifting due to a curse in the game world that causes characters to be seduced by greed — even within your own party!). This will hopefully make for a lot of unique playthrough experiences. As much as I loved making new party combos in Icewind Dale, the story and experience didn’t change much, so I’m excited to see what dynamic and shifting allegiances can bring to one of my favorite game genres!

Black Geyser has already met its funding goal and is set to release in August 2019! A small donation can still unlock some stretch goals and guarantees access to the Beta.


Learn More About Black Geyser


Forest of Liars was developed by Umesha Lovers, a dev team in France. Forest of Liars is a narrative driven game where players must traverse the treacherous forest of liars, where many have entered and few have returned. Players will encounter NPCs and new party members whose motivations are not always clear and have a good chance of betraying you. If you can traverse the politics and dangers of the forest, you’ll get a chance to solve its mysteries.

Narrative-adventure games are becoming quite common, but I was really drawn to the artwork in this game. Every frame looks like a painting. I’m a bit biased on this, but I love that CloZee, one of my favorite music producers, is doing the in-game soundtrack. Since there isn’t a demo, I can’t be sure of the gameplay itself, but the artistry alone should generate a lot of interest.

Forest of Liars has 15 days left on its campaign and is about one-third of the way to reaching its funding goal.


Learn More About Forest of Liars


As always, there are too many crowdfunding projects for me to include them all. Is there a game on Kickstarter that you want to see on the list? Let us know in the comments!

The Onus Helm: A Rogue-Like Meets Zelda With Procedurally Generated Levels

By Tim Youngblood


In the Onus Helm, you play as a guy who wakes up with a magical helmet on his head that he can’t remove. He goes into a labyrinth to solve the Onus Helm’s mysteries and hopefully remove the helmet.



As for the gameplay, we can confront the elephant in the room… this game is very similar to the old Legend of Zelda games. Your health is displayed in hearts, rooms don’t open until you defeat all the enemies or solve a puzzle, and there is an assortment of not so original items such as the sword, bow and arrow, bombs, a boomerang… you get the picture. That being said, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I love the old-school Zelda games and would love to see more games with that classic style come out. Especially with Breath of the Wild being rumored to be the last Legend of Zelda game.

What The Onus Helm has that Legend of Zelda doesn’t, is procedurally generated levels for replayability. Often, when replaying classic games for SNES or Sega Genesis, there isn’t much to gain in terms of skills or entertainment because the fights are always scripted the same with no variation. This makes the games more of a test of memory than skills. Having procedurally generated levels allows players to have new experiences playing still playing in the same engine.


That’s so Zelda!


The Onus Helm’s Kickstarter Campaign

Unfortunately, the team at B-Cubed Labs is unlikely to meet their funding goal on Kickstarter. As far as their campaign and promotion they did a lot of things right. They set a modest goal of $5,500, had a playable demo, and made lots of cool gifs. The game was covered by a lot of big websites too. There are a few things that might have helped them reach their goal, although, running a Kickstarter campaign and failing is still good for promoting a game.

I think that a press kit would have helped them out a lot. I scoured the internet to find a decent featured image (Around 600x 400 pixels) and ended up having to resize an image anyway. This could have turned off a lot of media outlets from covering the game. I also would have liked to learn more about the story. Normally, I would advise not going too deep into lore on a Kickstarter campaign, but I wanted to learn more about. All you can really glean from the campaign is “Guy gets helmet stuck on his head and has to do Zelda stuff to remove it”. Lastly, I would have liked to see a longer demo. It didn’t take me long to beat the level, and although I enjoyed the gameplay, I had seen all there was to do in less than 10 minutes. Comparatively, I spent hours playing the demo for Broken Reality.

Fortunately, with crowdfunding, you can always run a new campaign later! I love the concept of the game and I think their stretch goal of making the game multiplayer will make it a unique gaming experience and distance The Onus Helm from stereotypes of being a lazy Zelda clone. If you check out B-Cubed Labs on Twitter and, you’ll see that there are actually a lot of cool fight mechanics a very fast gameplay style. Unfortunately, I don’t think the demo does what B-Cubed Labs is trying to build justice.


Learn More About B-Cubed Labs and The Onus Helm





Broken Reality: A Trippy Internet Odyssey Developed in Unity

By Tim Youngblood

Broken Reality is kind of like that episode of Futurama where the gang goes to the internet… but with more rainbows, GIFs, and dank memes. I’ll go more into that later, but I recommend watching the trailer to get an idea of what I’m talking about.



The game was developed in Unity by Dynamic Media Triad, a small development team based out of Mexico City. Broken Reality’s Kickstarter campaign was a photo finish, reaching their funding goal with one day left. The Dynamic Media Triad team ran an unsuccessful campaign back in 2016, so they applied some of the lessons learned from that one to be successful the second time around. The most noticeable of which was lowering their funding goal and including a playable demo.


Gameplay and Impressions

This game won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can promise that it will be a truly unique gaming experience. The basic premise of the game is that the player is an internet user in the future, where the internet is a 3D simulation. Despite taking place in the future, most of the textures in NATEM (The internet simulation players enter) are from the late 90’s and early 2000’s.


Welcome to NATEM! The receptionist is the cutest…


The gameplay is relaxed and not very button or skill intensive. Instead, the game focuses on puzzles and quests that involve zany characters and advertisements. The experience is unique and incredibly immersive, somewhere between a first-person puzzler and an acid trip. Even in the demo, players can spend hours just observing the little details and easter eggs, which usually involve dark comedic views of consumerism, marketing, and online culture. If you like memes, puns, flashing lights, and an original soundtrack made by several different producers, you’ll probably enjoy this game.


Use your camera to get more likes. Also, be sure to snap a picture of Chronic the Hedgehog


What’s Next For Broken Reality?

Dynamic Media Triad has several stretch goals for the game. Most of them involve porting the game to more systems, but the most intriguing to me is making the game compatible with virtual reality. I think that Broken Reality’s strength as a game is the immersive experience it creates and VR would take that experience to a new level.

The game is tentatively set to release in September 2018 barring any major setbacks. If you’d like to learn more about Broken Reality, check out the links below!

I took some footage of the game when I played through the demo, but I haven’t had time to upload the footage. I’ll give an update when I get around to that. Have you had a chance to play the Broken Reality demo yet? If so, let us know what you thought in the comments!

Benefits of Using Unity for 3D Game Development

By Sunny Chawla

As a game developer, you have a ton of options in regards to picking a game engine. The determination runs the range from straightforward 2D engines to completely highlighted 3D powerhouses. With such huge numbers of choices, it can be hard to pick the engine that is appropriate for your venture. Mike Geig clarifies why he thinks the Unity game engine is the best decision.

The video game industry is a behemoth chugging along at full throttle and shows no signs backing off. I will disclose to you something that you most likely know already: Making video games takes a ton of work, aptitude, and commitment. It isn’t all fun circumstances and gatherings like in the films (I’m looking at you, Grandma’s Boy). As a game developer, you have a considerable measure of choices with regards to picking a game engine. Game engines’ expenses can quickly add up to a great many dollars. With many alternatives, it can be hard to pick the engine that is ideal for your undertaking. Here is why I think you should utilize the Unity game engine.

What is the Unity Game Engine?

It was made by Unity Technologies in 2004 as an improvement tool for their game, GooBall. It was later propelled in 2005 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Today, the Unity game engine flies under the flag of “democratizing game advancement and empowering everybody to make rich intelligent 3D content,” as indicated on Unity’s  website. It is evaluated that there are more than 1.3 million enrolled Unity developers (do names like Cartoon Network, Coca-Cola, Disney, LEGO, or NASA ring a bell?) and that there is more than 300,000 dynamic developers month to month. A 2012 review led by video game magazine Game Developer expresses that 53.1% of portable developers detailed utilizing Unity to make games. Whether you’re an indie developer or looking for a development job, development Unity is a valuable skill to learn.


Unity’s Ease of Use

The principal thing you will see when you make an undertaking in Unity is how visual everything is. This is an engine that concentrates a great deal on improving the game advancement work process, and no place is that more clear than with the Unity Editor.


Screenshot of the Unity interface. Courtesy of Unity.


If you’ve never worked with a game engine with a visual editorial manager, you’ll be astounded at how quickly it enables you to fabricate and alter your tasks. Need to move a thing a little to one side? You can click in the scene and drag your question. Done! Need to perceive how this question acts with new properties? Simply look to the investigator window. Shazam! The Unity editorial manager even goes so far as to run the game itself in the game window for quick testing.

Believe me when I say that the capacity to run your game while seeing the properties and areas of all articles in the scene is an intense and efficient element. You may ponder internally: “No canned arrangement can be utilized for my work process. It is exceptional and one of a kind simply like me!” Well, Negative Nancy, let me disclose to you that the Unity supervisor can be effectively stretched out to incorporate exclusively specific tools and modules. These tools and modules can be incorporated into the Unity interface.


The Power of Scripting

There are a considerable number game engines that have a visual manager. However, many of these engines do not have the power required to manufacture huge or complex games because of their canned way to deal with practices. With Unity, question practices aren’t constrained to work in modules that come bundled with the engine. Rather, Unity takes into consideration effective practices written in any of three powerful dialects: JavaScript, C#, and Boo. Each of the three languages can be utilized inside of an undertaking to permit individuals of various innovation foundations to add to a venture. The way that the languages are utilized as contents takes into account quick assembly times, snappy cycles, and adaptability of the plan.



One Source to Rule Them All!

Perhaps the greatest component of the Unity engine is the capacity to construct your ventures throughout various stages on multiple systems with minimal difficulty. With simple and straightforward determination of a drop-down menu, Unity can work for Windows PC, Linux (new with form 4), iOS (with module), Mac, Android (with module), Web Browser, Flash (with module), PS3, Xbox, and Wii U. This allows developers to invest more energy into enhancing the nature of their tasks and take less time on porting it to various gadgets.


Unity 5 works on 21 different platforms. Courtesy of Hexus.

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

No matter how easy an interface is to use, inevitably, developers will get stuck somewhere. Fortunately, Unity has a dynamic and bolstered community. Unity’s forums are an incredible place to make inquiries, get direction, examine best practices, help other people, and even hotshot a bit. Searching for a more organized way to deal with taking an interest in the community? Unity Answers is an administration that honors “karma” and identifications for good inquiries asked and replied. It is a more social approach than your common Q&A site.

There is also the Unity resource store, which is completely coordinated into the proofreader and gives a way to individuals to share or even offer their uniquely designed substance. This enables you to procure visual assets without having to make them yourself.



Evaluating and Licenses

Numerous engines today accompany extraordinary sticker prices or muddled installment designs. Numerous engines don’t have any costs recorded and long quote exchanges must occur to decide real figures. Unity doesn’t do any of that and rather just comes in two fundamental flavors: Unity Free and Unity Pro. Unity Free is obviously free (my favorite number) and isn’t some diluted, gimped form of the engine. It accompanies the greater part of the highlights you would need to make games that can sell commercially.

In the event that you might want a portion of the more expert highlights like LOD Support, Path-finding, or IK Rigs. You can buy the Unity Pro permit for $1,500. This may appear like a great deal to an individual simply getting into the field, but the upfront cost pays off in the long run by avoiding paying a percentage of profits like with the Unreal Engine.


Let’s Talk Games

At this point, you may ponder who is utilizing Unity and what precisely they are utilizing it for. As specified above, Unity has a fairly extensive enrolled client base. Numerous expansive organizations and non-mainstream players alike have found the power and flexibility of the Unity engine. What you may not know is that there are non-gaming organizations that utilize the engine too. Unity is being utilized for research, recreation, and exhibition by organizations everywhere throughout the world. In the event that you go to Unity’s game exhibition, you can see a portion of the astonishing games effectively made with the Unity game engine. 

About the Author

Sunny Chawla is a Marketing Manager at Alliance International IT – a Web design and Development Company. Helping global businesses with unique and engaging tools for their business. He would love to share thoughts on Unity 3d Game Development, Digital Marketing Services, Web Designing, and mobile app development.


*Editor’s Note: The opinions of guest posters are their own and not the official opinion of Game Borough. In fact, we don’t have an official opinion, we’re more interested in yours!

Are Popular Mobile Games Just Clones Of Flash Games From Decades Past?

By Tim Frank Anderson

Mobile games are quickly becoming some of the most popular games available today. Millions of people use their smartphones and tablets to play games more so than they do to send text messages and make phone calls! Mobile games are hugely popular due to their accessibility, and the fact that you can play them “on the go”. You might be sitting on the train, for example, traveling to work – in years past, you would have to sit in silence, but now you can whip out your mobile and play on Candy Crush for half an hour instead!


Screenshot from Candy Crush

In the early days of mobile and browser gaming, the majority of titles were created using Adobe Flash (or Macromedia Flash for those who can remember!). For its time Flash was a fantastic leap in technology and it helped create some memorable titles. Today, however, the popularity of Flash has waned and HTML5 technology has instead become the preferred choice. HTML5 is dynamic and can be used on a wide range of devices – many games that you play today on your smartphone or desktop browser will use HTML5.


Look familiar? This is Bejeweled. It’s like Candy Crush but with gems…

So are these HTML5 games you play today original and unique? Unfortunately not! You may think that titles such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds were created from scratch, but in reality, these games emulate the gameplay and mechanics of titles that were released decades ago. If you analyze the mobile browser game industry and look at game releases over the years, you can see that ideas and genres have been used time and time again and that most modern titles will have an older Flash counterpart.

If we look at the games mentioned above – Candy Crush and Angry Birds, we can actually see that these two titles simply take concepts from two old but hugely popular flash games – Bejeweled and Crush the Castle. Bejeweled was the original “match three” game in which players had to successfully match three colored gems to remove them from the playing field – this game was released in 2001! Furthermore, Crush the Castle was a medieval themed destroyer game that was released in 2009. This process of using old flash titles for inspiration has been used time and time again – developers can simply use an existing game idea, create new graphics, characters, and storyline and create a brand new title with minimal effort.


Look Familiar? This is Crush the Castle


It is easy to see why developers choose to do this – it is much easier to simply re-imagine an existing idea as opposed to devoting time to creating something from scratch. Drafting an original concept and a unique idea is extremely time-consuming and costly – by borrowing ideas from an older game, developers can create new and exciting titles for much less expense. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a new concept will be a success – by re-imagining an existing title, you know there is an audience and that your game will be well-received.

Despite this fact, new mobile games released today continue to excite and enthrall us – developers continue to create fantastic end-products that keep us glued to our screens for hours on end. The future of mobile gaming certainly looks promising, and if developers continue to re-imagine old titles, we are guaranteed a heap of fun with a dash of nostalgia thrown in for good measure!

The First Tree – Two Stories, One Game


Developing a game is a huge undertaking, which makes The First Tree incredible considering it was developed by 1 person, David Wehle.

The First Tree is a third-person exploration game centered around two different storylines. On one hand, you have a fox trying to find her missing cubs, and on the other, you have the story of a young couple dealing with a tragedy in their family. If you’ve played Fire Watch, then you should feel right at home playing this game.

You play as the fox, discovering artifacts from the young couples life on its philosophical adventure to the mysterious “First Tree”. Eventually, the fox’s story and the couples start to align. We don’t want to give too much of this a way, but the game did a very good job of making me question the meaning of life and death.

David did very well developing a game with a straight forward and simple design, focusing on the story aspect, but also keeping the game visually appealing. Everything within the environment fits, from the trees and rocks (the texturing and its simplicity is actually brilliant), to the changing weather and foliage.

Wehle expects players will complete the game in just and hour or two, and because of this, the price was set fairly low as a result. The game initially came out with only English language options, but has an “open fan translation system” that’s included to allow people to work on additional languages themselves.

The First Tree can be found on Steam.