Sidescrollers: A look at Kickstarter and crowdsourced games

The crowdsourced game "Broken Age" tk Credit: tk
The Kickstarter-funded “Broken Age” is a throwback to a goofier age of gaming.
Credit: Double Fine Games

In the last few years, a ton of games have been successfully funded via Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms. Ponying up your money isn’t the end of the story, however. There’s no guarantee the game will be good or, well, even get finished, but some have managed to pull off both these feats. Here are two.

‘Broken Age: Act 1′
PC/Mac
Double Fine Games
5 globes

This is the game that started it all. Back when it smashed pretty much every Kickstarter record, it was simply known as “Double Fine Adventure.” It’s been a long, winding and much delayed road to get here but, well, now it’s here. Was it worth the wait? Yeah.

“Broken Age” rules. For those who don’t obsessively follow gaming blogs, it’s a modern take on old school point-and-click adventure titles. Think “Maniac Mansion,” “Monkey Island” and “Sam & Max” with new school accoutrements. Essentially, you move from point A to point B, talk to people and try to solve puzzles. The voice acting, with a cast that includes Jack Black and Elijah Wood, is fantastic, and the humor is way funnier than it has any right to be. This is a must play title.

"The Banner Saga: Chapter 1" features lovingly detailed animation such as this image. Credit: tk
“The Banner Saga: Chapter 1″ features lovingly detailed animation.
Credit: Stoic Games

‘The Banner Saga: Chapter 1′
PC/Mac
Stoic Games
4 globes

“The Banner Saga” is a turn-based strategy RPG with a sprinkling of old school resource management. That means it’s one part “Final Fantasy Tactics” and one part “Oregon Trail,” minus the debilitating dysentery (boo). It’s also extremely, extremely dark. How dark is it? It makes “Game of Thrones” seem like “Sesame Street.” It makes the last episode of “Breaking Bad” seem like the first episode of, uh, “DuckTales.” I could go on.

The turn-based combat is joined by beautiful hand drawn backgrounds and fairly stunning character art. This is one pretty game. The only downside is the occasional punishing difficulty. Even on easy mode, this game could frustrate you.


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