At first glance Savage: The Shard of Gosen just seems to be another attempt to cash in on the retro platformer nostalgia stirred up by Shovel Knight. Plenty of other Kickstarters went for the same route and it’s not hard to see why – making a 2D platformer with deliberately basic graphics would seem a much easier bet than many other genres. However the care and attention to detail shown by indie developer Planet Tobor looks set to raise it above the other contenders, with the latest update even teasing a trailer in the style of an old TV commercial.
Much like Shovel Knight, Savage: The Shard of Gosen has pixel graphics that take inspiration from the NES era of platformers but manages to look better than almost all actual releases from that period. The gameplay also looks set to be far more varied than you’d expect with an actual combat system, RPG elements, world map and a branching narrative. The plot itself also looks more promising than most taking inspiration from (rather than blatantly ripping off) numerous 80s barbarian movies.
Credit for all these positive features goes to Matt Fitzgerald, the one man development team behind Planet Tobor. Matt had previously given an enthusiastic and frank interview to Cliqist about the Kickstarter campaign for Savage: The Shard of Gosen and it’s his dedication and love of the source material that could be the key to helping it stand out from the crowd. With a relatively tiny budget of $8,100 (Shovel Knight by contrast raised $311,500) what Matt has accomplished so far is pretty astonishing and puts many other Kickstarter projects to shame.
Savage: The Shard of Gosen has admittedly already well overshot its original release date of December 2014 but with a steady stream of updates, plenty of gameplay footage, a playable Alpha and now a Steam page I imagine none of the backers would be particularly worried. In fact many of them have already added positive comments following the most recent update with Matt continuing to enthusiastically converse with the backers – always a promising sign.