A lot can happen in a year and between the first attempt at getting Ira funded and the new Kickstarter they greatly expanded the demo to give potential backers a much better taste of what to expect from the full experience. While the basic story is essentially the same as what they gave us last April a lot more has been added to get a better feel for the grander scope of reaching for the stars beyond our own solar system.
Unlike the first demo, which starts off with you controlling Ira himself, you get a glimpse at the world at large in an opening sequence. Two train jumpers are discussing events surrounding the rural town of Pilgrimage. Whilst it used to be a farming town, it has developed into an important hub of space exploration and mining on Mars. Thanks in no small part to Intele Co. It seems that the launch of a mighty spaceship will be taking explorers to a star beyond our own and it coincides with the launch of a mining ship to Mars. Both are very important in the story and this scene sets up some much needed exposition.
Anyway, a good chunk of the new Ira demo is rehashed from previously but more has been added towards the end. You’re still in control of the titular character as he helps out his father fix the family car just before he sets off to Mars for the new mining season. After helping in the garage, Ira sets forth to put supper on the stove and goes to get his parents; which promptly sets forth a montage of events leading up to several years later.
Here’s where the narrative diverges from the previous demo. Instead of the surreal puppet show, which I actually rather miss, Ira still goes up to the attic but speaks with someone on his makeshift radio. Another major change to the farmhouse is that you can actually go into Ira’s room now. I don’t remember being able to do that previously, but then again that was almost a year ago. This shows off more of his dream to reach the stars as he’s got a telescope in his room in addition to posters and other stellar paraphernalia.
The scene on the Holocene II right after Ira exits cryostasis is also greatly expanded upon. Instead of just talking to the ship’s AI and then running for the escape pod the new demo also shows off several decks of the ship, making it seem much more grand in scope and wonderment. It really makes you wonder what happened to the rest of the crew and why they’re dead. Of course, you’re still left with a massive shipboard catastrophe and are forced to escape but this time we actually see our hero make it to an escape pod and down to the surface of the planet.
Whereas what we got last year was enough to get me to back the first time the updated and expanded demo for Ira completely sold me on wanting to make sure that this one gets funded. Which it is looking like what might happen as it’s already over a third funded. The “early bird” tier may be gone but $10 just for the game itself is worth it just from what little we’ve seen so far. If you’re an adventure fan you should really do yourself a favor and check it out.