Modern Cuba is changing. Internet access is spreading across the island and U.S. relations have begun to improve. The people of Cuba are cautiously optimistic for what the future may hold. That optimism has birthed new opportunities for the artistic community. Empty-Head Games is hoping to harness that opportunity to bring their game, Savior, to a global audience.
Josuhe Pagliery and Johann Armenteros have taken to Indiegogo, hoping to raise $10,000 to launch a playable demo in February of 2017. Their studio, Empty-Head Games claims to be one of the first Cuban teams to attempt to crowdfund a game’s development. This is because development in Cuba is still very challenging, with limited access to internet, equipment, and community events. Despite these obstacles, Savior looks to be an intriguing platformer with a supportive backer base.
The game utilizes fully animated hand-drawn graphics. What begins with familiar 2D platformer mechanics morphs and changes as the game progresses, becoming increasingly erratic and surreal.
Situations Both New And Strange
The story follows the disappearance of the Great God, who had for eons kept order in the universe. Players take on the role of Little God. As a “savior,” Little God is able to communicate with the Great God and possibly restore order. As the world begins to collapse around you, the game’s inhabitants become increasingly self-aware. Realizing they are all just part of a failing videogame they become increasingly desperate to save themselves from annihilation.
Combat in Savior relies on a “reaction-based gameplay.” By using the correct sequence of commands and responses, players are able to trigger increasingly complex and devastating combinations.
Further details of the actual game mechanics are sparse, but there are plenty of gifs and images to demonstrate the basic ideas. Still, since the campaign is being used to fund a playable demo rather than a finished product I have some reservations about the project. Empty-Head Games says that the demo will encompass the full first opening chapter of Savior, “The Boy Who Was Born to Die.” From here they hope to continue gradually developing the game, chapter-by-chapter, until it is complete, presumably by March of 2018. A solid enough plan, except they don’t mention how the remaining 7 chapters will be funded.
This is not a minor oversight. Backers are promised a digital copy of Savior as part of their perks. Without a plan to pay for the remaining chapters it seems a bit overzealous to promise backers more than the demo they paid to complete. Still, if you are willing to look beyond this troubling issue, Savior shows a great deal of promise. It will be interesting to see if it manages to live up to it.