Although walking simulators aren’t known to be particularly popular (or successful) on Kickstarter, Niten might be one of the prettiest ones I’ve seen yet. With rustling trees, shimmering waters and a constantly melancholic outlook, its one of those interactive experiences that aren’t really there to offer anything other than a serene and calm place for you to explore. The genre itself might not be everyone’s cup of tea either, but it’s certainly one of those games that grabs you with its atmosphere immediately.
Headed by a Scotsman by the name of Donald Macdonald, Niten’s concept isn’t tough to grasp. Simply put, it aims to tell the story of a “samurai master and his orphan-child student” purely told by the use of audio fragments. Each playthrough will be somewhat unique, too, as depending on what information you’ve found you’ll be given a graphic novel containing all the bits and pieces you’ve stumbled upon. Naturally, the only mechanics to be found are picking up objects and activating audio logs, but there’s also the option to decorate your personal zen-temple with various collectibles found throughout the environment.
Personally, I’ve always found setting to be a key factor when it comes to such types of games. While Gone Home and Dear Eshter are mentioned as profound inspirations, those did not really speak to me in terms of story or location. However, knowing that Niten takes place on a remote island off the coast of Japan might be just enough to bolster my intrigue.
With a funding goal of £15,000, I’d say Niten is a pretty solid offering for fans of first-person exploration games. Although I’m more inclined to enjoy games which present their stories in a more direct fashion (like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, if we are to look at something similar), I can certainly see the pluses of getting lost in a serene Japanese island. Doing so in VR might also be a fun possibility, with one of the Kickstarter’s stretch goals being a standalone virtual reality version.
(Also, in case you’re wondering, the word “Niten” comes from a term describing an ancient school of Japanese swordsmanship.)
Track the progress of the Niten Kickstarter in our Campaign Calendar.