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Released Kickstarter adventures retrospective

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As quite a few of the Kickstarter adventure projects have been released, I thought it would be nice to start a topic about the released games and how they’ve succeeded as a kind of a retrospective. These are my thoughts about several titles I’ve personally backed. They’re not meant to be reviews, just a personal take on how I liked them.

This is a topic for released games only, so let’s keep it that way.

Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded: The remake of the first Larry game was among the first “big name” adventures to be released and when it did, it was pretty much lynched by the reviewers. And there was some other issues as well, but those I won’t touch in this, as they’ve been discussed at length on other topics.

Personally I liked the game. It’s not the greatest adventure ever and some of the character design is very uneven. At places it is like one, huge Kickstarter joke thanks to way, way too many jabs towards the backers, as way too many backer cameos and such were “sold” during the KS campaign and it still has some of the annoyances of the original game, like the need to gamble in order to get money. But despite all this, I think it is the best take on the first Larry game. The voice acting is solid, jokes are mostly funny and I really love the soundtrack.

In the end, good and bad, I think it delivered what they originally promised, a remake of the first Larry game. But I still can’t help but to feel a bit disappointed, as I think they could have been way more liberal with the source material, as the first Larry game is not the greatest blueprint for making a game. Instead of a game that feels a bit dated they could have used Larry to bring out a more well rounded parody of the era called 80’s.

Moebius: This is the title I had high hopes for. Jane Jensen is a great writer and I really hoped she could deliver yet another great story. But that wasn’t in the stars, I guess. If anything it feels like a project Jensen had to force herself to write rather than something she wanted to write.

Moebius ended up as a technically clunky game with a story that loses its steam before it even manages to get some. Unlikeable protagonist waltzes in the world of cardboard cutouts, doing superficial analysis from people and of objects. The few good ideas the game has are drowned by the uninspiring plot and bad design choices. Not a particularly strong effort from anyone involved.

Tesla Effect: One of the more pleasant surprises from Kickstarter. Tesla Effect I count among the best games that have managed to come from crowdfunding. Heck, I’d count it among the better adventure games all together. It’s a strong title, with nicely told story, some pretty good puzzles, great FMV and good gameplay.

The game has some issues, like at places very poor texture quality and some FMV conversations are cut somewhat oddly, but it has way more positives than negatives. This is one of those titles which left me hungry for more, but time will tell if the financial success of the game is strong enough.

This was a passion project for the developers and I think this is also one of those few cases where it shines through. What they managed to do with their meager budget really shames games with ten times the budget.

Broken Sword 5: BS5 returns the series back to its roots as a 2D point-n-click adventure and this it does pretty well. The game looks great, playes great and sounds great. It flows with ease and is overall a nice experience.

All in all, BS5 is a good comeback for the series. It shows that Revolution hasn’t lost their touch and hopefully we’ll see more adventures from them in the future. 

Broken Age: A title, that started it all and has received both negative and positive reception. Personally I like it quite a bit. We still don’t know how the game will end, as the second part hasn’t been released yet.

This is a title that has a good change to become one of the “big” names in the adventure genre, but that depends largely on the second half of the story. The first half is one of the best adventure experiences I’ve ever had. It’s a solid game, with very nice art style, voice acting and soundtrack. If Double Fine manages to improve on what they’ve done now, the game could end up as one of the classic titles of the genre. But that is something only time will tell.

     
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I just wonder if any of the devs is gonna reveal the sales numbers (apart from Double Fine, but that was long before the Ouya and iPad versions came out). Would be really handy - not only to compare success of individual games, but to see the whole situation with adventure games on modern market. So far it doesn’t look very promising, with games being cut into pieces and sold for reduced price most of the time.

     

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For me broken age is definitely in the lead, but then we still dont have the full game yet. Moebius and tesla effect are both full length games that fulfill their kickstarter promise… and i didnt like either of them very much. I havnt played brokensword or LSL.
Worth noting for retrospective: all of these kickstarters (and more) got their time/cost estimates wrong. In some cases dreadfully wrong. I understand why its hard to come up with these numbers.. but future projects have to do a better job.. or just dont make completely wild guesses.

     
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zane - 30 June 2014 12:08 PM

Worth noting for retrospective: all of these kickstarters (and more) got their time/cost estimates wrong. In some cases dreadfully wrong. I understand why its hard to come up with these numbers.. but future projects have to do a better job.. or just dont make completely wild guesses.

This is very true. If something can be learned from Kickstarter it is, that even the more seasoned developers can, and most likely will, estimate time and budget wrong, some more badly than others. The projects that have “gotten it right” the closest are often those with more level headed business lead in them, those that have gone the furthest in woods are more artist or pure visionary oriented projects, types which often are poor with money management in general.

     
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Mixed results for sure. I pretty much share your assessments. Larry was a solid, but comparatively unambitious project that failed to gain any positive momentum for its series, and Moebius was just flat-out disappointing.

Broken Age is wonderful, but I think much of the commercial impact and excitement surrounding it was dampened by the split release. Critical acclaim is nice, but I think we were hoping to see it be a real hit and it’s not.

Telsa Effect was a dream come true for me, because it was something I’d wanted for so long but totally given up hope on, and it was done right. It didn’t manage to create something that would excite people new to the genre, but I never had high hopes it would. Instead, it felt like “one last hurrah” for a great series that deserved to go out on a high note and never did. So that was worth every penny, as far as I’m concerned.

Broken Sword 5 was likewise a pretty solid return to form, but the series doesn’t mean as much to me. Again, middling reviews (and probably sales) don’t do much to move the needle.

So I’ve kind of given up on the fantasy that Kickstarter was going to really have ripple effects that help to revive the genre, but it has given us one of the best years for adventure games in quite some time, and we still have Armikrog and Dreamfall in the fall.

     
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A nice breeze in a very hot summer that will not last or add ,only a cool nostalgia fulfilling gesture.

     
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There are a couple others maybe worth mentioning too. Lilly Looking Through, Resonance, Kentucky Route Zero. Of those I’ve only played Resonance, though.

     
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Frogacuda - 30 June 2014 01:27 PM

So I’ve kind of given up on the fantasy that Kickstarter was going to really have ripple effects that help to revive the genre, but it has given us one of the best years for adventure games in quite some time, and we still have Armikrog and Dreamfall in the fall.

There definetly was very high hopes for the financial impact of KS adventures so the big wigs in other companies would notice the genre again. That was something really hasn’t manifested, as despite all the drumming Broken Age managed to get it still sold just okay, but not as well as the biggest indie titles have managed to sell.

     

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Everybody should play Kentucky Route Zero. It’s one of the few really great games, IMO. Heart

I’ll add to the list Among the Sleep, Detective Grimoire, Cognition, and Blindside.

     
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Of the 67 successful projects (considering all genres) I backed since the first one (that wss Double Fine Adventure for me) 15 have been completely released. That’s a pretty bad track record considering it was more than 2 years ago, one of the reasons I’m laying off kickstarter for now.

My favourites success story, in the adventure genre, were definitely Tesla Effects and Broken Sword because I kind of consider that they deliver despite some shortcomings and unlike other quality projects (Resonance; Kentucky Route Zero) they would have not existed without kickstarter.

There seems to be kind of a slump in kickstarter with some failing promising stuff like Kaptain Brawe, Waldemar, The Breakout but I do hope it eventually finds its spot.

     
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Frogacuda - 30 June 2014 02:27 PM

There are a couple others maybe worth mentioning too. Lilly Looking Through, Resonance, Kentucky Route Zero. Of those I’ve only played Resonance, though.

I need to clear my previous statement by clarifying that those kind of AGs Frog mentioned are the most beneficial projects (as it shouldn’t had exceeded a certain amount of goal) of this kickstarter(s) phenomena ,and just for the record ,time will tell the this phenomena had taken the wrong turn since the day Tim Schafer goal had exceeded all expectations .

we all went jumping of happiness at the time not thinking that this not really what this all about, it wasn’t about bringing the all the long forgetting legendary designers into life ,it was just about bringing a shot into existence with the genre fans and freaks support, it wasn’t about competing with established developers of this era or about ‘kickstaring’ a new company/developer into bring more projects into existence,  it was all about bring a project ,one project into happening ,one shot for each of those who are willing to take their chances with.

we were carried away by the idea ,carried away until we had reached into talking about LSL3-5 and Grim Fanadngo2 ... etc .

there were a time when I made two threads about those kickstater(ed) projects and phenomena asking directly and indirectly others thinking of pushing themselves into it, to layback or stop, for a while until things were mostly clear . Cool

     
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Of the other games mentioned here, I’ve personally played only the first episode of Cogntion, which managed to convince me that it’s unintentionally funny cliche fest and Resonance, which I thought was okay. Both are, I believe, projects which would have manifested themselves in some form without Kickstarter.

There’s no doubt though that Double Fine did not have a huge impact, at lest for a while, on Kickstarter funding, as there’s some huge non-advenutre game projects that got through as well because of it. DF generated a lot of good will, but as Broken Age wasn’t the huge smash hit people, me included, were hoping it would be, I think that good will has diminished conciderably and people have shifted their eyes on other bigger projects, like Wasteland 2, in order to see how viable the funding method really is.

So while DF started the KS trend, it might be on other peoples hands to offer additional proof of the concepts reliability to provide good products, especially now when most of the game projects have shown, that it’s difficult to give accurate estimations of time needed to finish a such projects, which in turn has made some people somewhat angry. Though this again is something only time will tell.

     
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Tesla Effect: Sitting on my hard drive unplayed. I’ve been distracted by Fallout: New Vegas lately.

Moebius: To be fair I haven’t given Moebius a fair shake yet. I played the first 45 minutes and was put off by the profiling mechanic and wooden characters, but I plan to blast through it using a guide. Get to the end as quick as possible and see what it’s all about.

Broken Sword: A great game and worthy sequel with a huge variety of gorgeous environments. George is back and as entertaining as ever, his relationship with Nico probably the highlight. The story and pacing is uneven, with too much focus on faffing about/returning characters, and not enough on the main villain and his motives. However, the game gives me much hope for the future of Revolution, if they choose to continue.

Broken Age: The most cohesive and well-developed project I’ve backed—from the story concept to the fantastic artwork and attention to detail. It’s just a shame Episode 2 is so far away (or seems to be), but the documentary makes the waiting worth it.

Doom - 30 June 2014 08:23 AM

I just wonder if any of the devs is gonna reveal the sales numbers (apart from Double Fine, but that was long before the Ouya and iPad versions came out).

Ouya sales will be so minimal they wouldn’t even be worth mentioning, but I agree that an update on total LTD sales would be interesting. Hopefully they give an update in the next documentary episode.

     
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wilco - 30 June 2014 03:25 PM

Of the 67 successful projects (considering all genres) I backed since the first one (that wss Double Fine Adventure for me) 15 have been completely released. That’s a pretty bad track record considering it was more than 2 years ago, one of the reasons I’m laying off kickstarter for now.

My favourites success story, in the adventure genre, were definitely Tesla Effects and Broken Sword because I kind of consider that they deliver despite some shortcomings and unlike other quality projects (Resonance; Kentucky Route Zero) they would have not existed without kickstarter.

There seems to be kind of a slump in kickstarter with some failing promising stuff like Kaptain Brawe, Waldemar, The Breakout but I do hope it eventually finds its spot.

There is reason why KS are not including Project completion on time as metric, only
successful funding. 

KZ0 > Tex > BS5 .


KZ0 because they were inexperienced , noobs, indie type who didn’t promise the shape and distribution from the start. And what they delivered is not nostalgia overdose but more than that.

 

     

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