Shooting wild creatures is a common staple in videogames, but a much more peaceful kind of shooting is required in indie developer Banana Bird Studios's upcoming "magic wildlife photography game" called Beasts of Maravilla Island, which is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.
The titular setting is an "uncharted magical land hidden far beyond the coasts of South America," but sadly the "magic that sustains life on the island is slowly fading." Now the only way to replenish it is to reveal this secret place to the world in all its glory. Players control Marina Montez, a young photographer following in her grandfather's footsteps. It is Marina's job to "photograph the wildlife of Maravilla and share the island’s beauty," but to catch them on film she'll first need to learn all about the "extraordinary creatures" that live there.
Beasts of Maravilla Island is centered primarily around exploration of three distinct ecosystems, each presented in colourful third-person 3D and containing their own unique species. As you "run, jump, and climb through the vibrant landscape of Maravilla Island," you are free (and will need) to venture off the main paths to traverse "every corner to discover secrets and catch one of kind photo opportunities." Only by doing so will you be able to "discover these critters’ habitats and hiding places, and document all of the fauna of Maravilla Island – big and small."
Success isn't merely a matter of finding the island's 40 unique creatures, however. In order to take the best pictures of them, you must "study and learn their behaviors, and use their unique capabilities" to aid you. With help from your grandfather's journal, you can adapt light and sound to your advantage, using your "camera, your whistle, and the environment around you to influence their actions." Perhaps you might "sing along with a choir of bird-monkeys to attract their friends [or] play hide and seek with an otter-crocodile to gain its trust." When you've correctly managed the necessary conditions and "the timing's just right, snag the perfect photo" and add them to your photobook. But beware, as "certain beasts are dedicated to preserving the safety and well-being of Maravilla Island. These creatures must be treated with extra caution, as some of them don’t take kindly to newcomers."
Begun as a student project at the University of Southern California, Beasts of Maravilla Island is now nearing completion but is seeking additional crowdfunding to help finish the game and release it on PC and Switch by the end of 2020. To that end, the team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 USD by August 15th. The goal is to release the game free of charge, though the group cites "forces outside of [their] control that may prevent that." What is definitely free is the playable demo available now to check the game out for yourself right away.