Kickstarter Spotlight for May – Dark Souls, Death, and Physics


Kicking off our new Kickstarter spotlight are a handful of projects large and small that deal with everything from table tops to ye olden times.

Dark Souls board game (Backed, six days left)

The biggest name on this list may also be the coolest with Steam Forged Games’ take on Dark Souls in a board game. Players will be able to go through tiled rooms, fight enemies, crush barrels, battle bosses, and even find loot as in the lovable video game version. Bosses from all three games have been netted together to create quite the roster including the Dancer of the Boreal Valley, Gaping Dragon, Sir Alonne, and a handful of others for any backer to tackle. Plus, look at these boss figures:

Look at that hammer….

This campaign has felt thorough and open throughout with multiple AMA question sessions, on-the-spot updates with stretch goals, and a simple structure for donating. You only have one option, then some add-ons to consider should you want. This one is well past its funding goal, but that means more free junk for those that jump on before the ticker tape parade.

Midair (25 days left)

Back in the realm of video games, Midair can probably lay claim to being the fastest first-person shooter on Kickstarter. Players will be zooming through hills in multiplayer matches designed to deliver physics-based action at speeds most players just aren’t used to. That can be a good thing as you’ll all be moving at the same speed, allowing you to practice leading your shots with the various weapons or vehicular attacks that the game will boast. Alpha gameplay footage on the project’s page shows a lot of movement focused on attacking the enemy tower that can be defended by other players or turrets in matches of up to 16 v 16, which sounds pretty chaotic and entertaining.

This will aim to be a free-to-play, PC-exclusive title should it reach its funding goal, but a lot of features seem to be ready for post-launch implementation down the road. That may change based on funding amounts with future features, such as Communal Map Creation, currently up as launch window stretch goals.

Chronicles of Elyria (24 days left)

Elyria aims to be an MMORPG that helps you actually experience your character’s life and death. Permanent, unavoidable death will be a feature of this project where you can either die from battle or old age, the in-game equivalent of that “aging” taking anywhere from 10-14 months in real time. Each action you take may shorten that lifespan due to stress, the project page citing that being a stress-driven king will have you dying in four to five months of real time. When you die, your soul will remain and travel into another body, whether that be a new one or your younger self again, transferring some currencies along with it.

However, this is where Soulbound Studios’ new business model comes into play. In order to keep playing vis-a-vie soul transfer, you need a Spark of Life to reset the clock, so to speak, and give you another 10-14 months of playtime. One of these comes free with each game, but subsequent ones must either be earned by Story Points – advancing the story in your life – or bought for $30. The team claims that this decision “helps reduce griefing,” pointing out the financial consequences of murdering players indiscriminately as a natural stopper.

There are a bunch of other features promised in Chronicles of Elysia – destructibility, non-repeatable quests etc. – but that entire death mechanic seems to be the major selling point. Extra Sparks of Life are even offered as backer rewards for tiers of $150 and up while anyone who buys the game will have one freebies in their package.

Insomnia (17 days left)

This one comes with a demo which, given the options of all possible worlds, is one of the ideal ways to come to Kickstarter. Isometric RPG fans of old should immediately feel at home within this familiarly futuristic city where your character wanders with a puzzle-based inventory, stats, and all kinds of time capsule conventions. Combat is interestingly similar to Knights of the Old Republic with the blocking/attacking cycle being well in place. There’s a certain level of immersion achieved with status inclusions any time you talk to someone (i.e. confused, whispering, excited) while the graphical fidelity doesn’t seem quite there yet.

Still, Insomnia looks to promise a huge area to explore, lots of space jargon to absorb, and randomly generated events for the player to find along the way. A big caveat with this project is that it’s actually the third time this game has been on Kickstarter with the first ending in failure and the second succeeding but not being enough funding ultimately. Studio Mono claims that this is due to roughly doubling the game’s size and scope, saying that this third round is just to keep the lights on for debugging and preparing the game for launch this November.

Lynn and the Spirits of Inao (22 days left)

Ever seen a Studio Ghibli movie? Played Ni-No-Kuni? Have a heart? Then you might be hard-pressed to find a more appealed visual style on Kickstarter than Lynn and the Spirits of Inao. The game itself is pegged as a 2D action-platformer with Lynn being able to attacked, jump, and traverse colorful enemies and environments that have the same, well-defined art style. There’s a vibrancy to the backgrounds that make them feel alive with even the most common character type – bats in one of the scenes – seeming natural inside the Eastern influenced landscapes. Besides the platforming, there are boss battles that remind of Dust: An Elysian Tail, a day/night cycle, various hub villages, and a relatively large map to explore.


The campaign itself lays out all of this and more in a readily transparent, open way that gives potential donors plenty of tiers to consider. Among the stretch goals are releases across the current generation of consoles should the game break those unnamed goals, but it currently stands as a PC exclusive until that time. Lynn and the Spirits of Inao is only about halfway to its goal, so if you fall in love with the art, you can still help to bring this title to life.

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