I’ll admit this up front: augmented reality (AR) has always seemed a bit silly to me. The basic concept of AR is that by using a camera (on your smartphone, tablet, or even 3DS) you can view things on the screen that aren’t actually there – but they interact with the real world environment. Only recently have crowdfunding campaigns like Icebound opened up my eyes to a much cooler potential for AR. Outsiders: Countdown to Extinction is another AR-based Kickstarter campaign but with a very different style.
This is a tactical, turn-based game where the “game board” exists in real life as a specially printed piece of paper. However, unlike traditional board games you don’t need figures or anything else tangible to play. Instead, all the actual playing goes on via a smartphone’s screen thanks to AR. Via the phone you’ll be able to move fictional characters through the board and fight off enemy aliens.
Although the tactical four player gameplay isn’t something particularly new, the way in which it’s presented certainly is. The most intriguing aspect to me is that you can look around the entire virtual field by moving your smartphone around it. This honestly seems like a more “natural” way of manipulating a game camera because you can tilt it in any angle and move with tremendous ease. With all that said, it’s hard to tell just yet if Outsiders: Countdown to Extinction is thoroughly engaging as a game or more as a technical showpiece. Distance Studio hopes to raise $50,000 for their smartphone game.