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Shrug Island drawing interest on Kickstarter

Danish animator-turned-indie-developer Alina Constantin has a world she wants gamers to explore, but needs a Kickstart(er) to make the first chapter come alive.

Currently in development at her studio, Amazu Media, Shrug Island is an upcoming 2D point-and-click adventure game set in the same universe as Alina’s award-winning 2009 short film, “Shrug.” Like the film, the game revolves around a group of shape-shifting tribal creatures called shrugs, who survive their island’s seasonal flooding by turning into birds during the inundation, before returning to their home when the tides recede.

The first chapter in the planned four-part story will focus on a pair of shrug children named Li and Shri, who have become separated upon returning home from one such migration. It will be the player’s responsibility to help these two find each other again by switching between them as the game progresses in order to solve puzzles…

But there’s a catch. Because of the shrugs’ close bond with the environment, the island itself plays a “third character” in the story. Music is the island’s “language,” and players will have to learn to “speak” to the island along the way if they hope to reunite Li and Shri. In addition, each character has special abilities of their own, such as Shri’s ability to “transform and move his surroundings,” that allow them to interact with the island in various ways, promising plenty of challenges for players to overcome throughout the game.

The game’s graphics are likely the first thing potential backers will notice. Owing to Alina’s background as an animator, everything in Shrug Island is hand-drawn in a vibrant water-color style. The theme of harmonious living with nature has carried over into the sound effects and musical score for the game: the character “voices” consist of bird-like chirps and squawks, and the soundtrack clips revealed so far include Aboriginal-sounding instruments and effects.

Interested gamers have until March 23rd to back the game, and if the $25,000 Kickstarter is successful, outside publishers are reportedly interested in picking up the tab for the remaining chapters in the Shrug Island saga. Various rewards, both digital and physical, are available for higher pledges, but a digital copy of Chapter 1 is available for a minimum $10 pledge, and all chapters can be had for $30, with delivery provided as each is released.

The game is tentatively scheduled to arrive in October 2014, on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms, as well as iOS and Android devices. More information can be found at Shrug Island’s Kickstarter page, as well as the developer’s official website.

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