I don’t know if it’s old age or years of gaming catching up to me but lately I find myself more and more let down by big main stream games and drawn towards the smaller indie titles. While AAA games get bigger, louder and shinier they don’t seem to get better anymore; like big industry games have fallen into a rut of pandering to the easiest and largest audience. The small games, made by the people for the people in sense, are carrying on the real gaming tradition.
Periodically I go digging through Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight for things to tantalize my taste buds and every now and then hit gold. To be fair, you have to dig through a lot of bad and cheap games if not just crap rip-offs of popular games (Minecraft could practically wallpaper the Whitehouse with all the rip-offs it has spawned). Lately there has been a number of interesting things popping up, including the new Jason game I did an article on some time ago which has stalled 100 grand short with 10 days left unfortunately.
What has caught my attention this time is a Kickstarter 2D roguelike platforming game named Doko Roko; what does the name mean? No idea. A beautifully pixelated game it looks better and far more unique than most major games today. The scenery and the environment are all masterfully decorated with little blank space. In a more ambitious turn it also includes wind effects, natural change in the environment (and the character I believe) and even dust and other fight effects. I especially love the look of the massive tower against the empty sky. The background music provided is also very interesting as well and had a real vibe to it that really fit the setting.
Much like in Teslagrad you must climb a tower, instead of puzzles though you fight your way to the top. The protagonist reminds me a lot of the main character from the Witch and The Thousand Knight, little guy swinging a giant sword. While gameplay looks interesting and the different function of each sword intrigues me the combat system looks bizarre to me. A fast pace slasher you appear to click in the general direction you want to attack, like some odd point and click adventure. I am also leery of the magic system. To be fair there was very little example of magic in the game but I had a bad feeling of what was shown.
There isn’t much mention of the plot of the game, what is usually the most important part to me. As other indie games have proven though; you don’t need to have a huge elaborate story to be good. A small story well placed can have just as much effect. I do enjoy the background story of a society building upwards into a giant tower though. Much like Portal 2 it feels like clawing your way through the ancient ruins of the past into the present; the question I have though is how advanced is the top layers of the society now? If the story really sticks to that idea I think you could really be something to behold. Of course you also run into the monsters and citizens who were left behind as society moved upwards so did the people evolve over time as well? Maybe I’m over thinking things now but it is exciting.
So far the game seems to be doing fairly well and the game itself seems to have a good foundation to build off. The entire game is being created by a single person though. While I can respect the ambitions of a single person designing an entire game on their own it seems like a bit much to expect a single person to do everything; music, graphics, gameplay and so on. That suggest that the game will either be very short or not what it appears to be in the example video. Judging from the examples though I think it is fair to say the game is as good as it looks. There is also the two year development period noted though. I understand good work takes a long time and with only one person working on the project who still has a job and life (I don’t but I assume others do) it takes that much longer but still; two years is long time to take after you already have the non-refundable money.