Although Kickstarter produces lots of great (and often massive) projects, smaller games on the platform with teams of one or two people often have it hard when it comes to gaining early publicity and coverage. Aik is such an example – digging itself into quite the impressive niche by pitching atmospheric gameplay in a dark, surrealist and abstract world.
Aik is almost like an old, cryptic-looking new wave music video shaped into video game form. It’s the type of game which decides that showing a rock-topped dirigible encountering a flying whale surrounded by floating islands doesn’t need any explanation. Its Kickstarter pitch also shows melancholic, twisted-looking worlds rendered exclusively in black and white, where creatures look odd and outright alien at first.
Hell, I couldn’t describe to you most of the things you’d see in screenshots and footage from the game even if I tried to. What I can confirm is that gameplay will mostly consist of quests, those being driven by “visual communication” and queues between characters and the environment. There’s no dialogue or text, only stop-motion animation, lots of visual static and weird sounds coming out of even weirder creatures. It kind of sounds similar to Samorost, actually.
Although specific features such as boss fights and evolving player abilities don’t seem to click with the concept, seemingly acting as an attempt to add some sort of gameplay draw to an otherwise unique-looking experience, the notion of Aik telling its story through visuals and sound alone is something I’m quite fond of. That’s a particularly tempting aspect, considering the game’s aesthetics are influenced by over 3000 natural reference photos taken by its creator Christian Arnold.
With that being said, I can’t skip over the fact that Aik is niche in pretty much every way. And while I sincerely hope its Kickstarter goal of €10,000 gets close to being covered, I can also see that as a rather tough task.