Adventure games are a curious phenomenon on Kickstarter. For every successful campaign there seems to be one that didn’t make it. I previously looked at the success to failure ratio, but in this article I want to specifically take a look at ten Kickstarter horror adventure games that didn’t hit the mark that should have been easily funded. Horror is a popular genre, especially during this time of year as All Hallow’s Eve approaches. What better way than to scare you with some unfortunate tales of loss? Read on, if you dare.
Let’s start off with the failed attempt that I’m most saddened about. Senscape is a company known for atmospheric horror. Both Scratches and Serena are regarded as great games by any fan of horror that doesn’t rely on jump scares. The upcoming Asylum also looks like a great game to add to their resume. However, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward didn’t even manage to get half of its funding goal.
The reasons for this are numerous, not the least of which is the still in development Asylum. So while it pains me to say this, it makes sense that this one failed. I do hope eventually it pans out as I love games based off Lovecraft. Few manage to bring the charm of his tales to the interactive medium, and this adaptation of one of his most famous stories deserves to be told.
Another Lovecraft inspired horror adventure was The Eldritch Cases: Dagon. Similar to Senscape’s attempt above, this game featured people and places taken straight out of the atmospheric horror master’s tales. You’re in Innsmouth, home of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, investigating strange occurrences in town. One thing I loved was the inclusion of two heroes (one male, one female) as they take on the cult and Herbert West.
I really would have loved to have seen this one make it, and it came pretty close. It’s been quite a while since we heard about this one, so if there’s plans to retry or seek funding elsewhere I’m unaware of it. Still, if it does return to Kickstarter I’ll be one of the first there.
As if the above two titles weren’t enough to give away that I’m a huge fan of supernatural horror, let’s take a look at Shadow of the Eternals. This is technically an action adventure, but it deserves to be on this list for one thing. The majority of the game centers around the story of Elizabeth Bathory. For those that don’t know, she was a mass murderer in the middle ages obsessed with staying young and using the blood of young women to further her goals.
In addition to the major occult leanings, this game also had some interesting lesbian undertones between Bathory and her handmaiden. There were two attempts at funding, and neither came close to reaching the funding goal. I backed both, and was really hoping to see this one become a reality.
I’m as much a fan of psychological horror as I am of supernatural horror. I really enjoyed Neverending Nightmares by Matt Gilgenbach, so it was a no-brainer to back his second attempt at a horror adventure. Unfortunately, it didn’t even come close to getting the funding goal. The demo was as fun to play as the previous outing, so it saddened me to see it not make it.
The tale of a young pregnant Filipino woman as she deals with the Aswang was a story really worth exploring. I became aware of this interesting group of supernatural creatures very recently, and I wanted to see how it all played out for our heroine. The Aswang are a group of mythical beings similar to vampires that prey on expecting mothers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Matt will be re-exploring this game anytime soon.
As much of an adventure game fan as I am, I’ll admit I haven’t played the first A Vampyre Story game, but I did end up backing the Kickstarter for the prequel game. I really liked the idea of a comedy horror game featuring vampires, particularly one featuring a wise cracking bat. It was certainly enough for me to pick up the first game, even if I have yet to play it.
There is a following for developer Bill Tiller, as evidenced by the recently released Duke Grabowski and his work at LucasArts. This game did get a good number of backers, but it wasn’t enough to breach even 50% of the funding goal. I do hope that we’ll eventually see this prequel game released. In the meantime, I really should install and play the first game.
Not all horror adventure games need to be serious takes on the strange and macabre. Waldemar the Warlock was a comedy horror adventure that easily invoked images of Lovecraft and Poe stories. That the protagonist looked a bit like Vincent Price was just an added bonus. The main character, Alistair Ainsworth, is an occultist and comes into possession of a castle owned by the titular nasty warlock.
What I loved about this one was the combination of supernatural horror and comedic elements. Like the successful Gibbous and unsuccessful A Vampyre Story: Year One, this one takes a more lighthearted approach to its storytelling. I played the demo during the Kickstarter and enjoyed every moment of clicking on things and getting weird messages. I just wish they made more than half of the funding.
I’m a huge fan of alien abduction games. Unfortunately, there aren’t many that are worth playing. Hell, there aren’t many to begin with. That was one thing I loved about The Hum. It was a dark tale about a planet invaded by extra terrestrials and an attempt to take them down. This first person horror experience was less about fighting the alien menace and more about keeping your butt away from their probes.
The demo at the time was a great experience, even if it was rather short. I really enjoyed it and hoped to see the campaign make it. Unfortunately, with the lofty goal it barely made any money. We haven’t heard anything on the development front for a while, but there are still plans on releasing something in The Hum‘s universe. We just don’t know what or when as it’s been nearly two years since the last update.
Who says horror and noir don’t mix? Nosebound was an adventure game that I was really excited about and hoped make funding. The tale of a hardboiled detective finding himself in the middle of a Lovecraftian nightmare of cults and rituals was something I couldn’t pass up. The saddest part about the Kickstarter was that it almost made funding. It came very close by the end.
That didn’t stop development of the game, though. Diego Martinez contacted me a while back telling me they were still working on the game, even without the money from the Kickstarter. He gave me an early build to try out and I’ve loved every minute of it. I haven’t yet finished it, but I do have to say that it’ll be worth picking up once it releases. If you’re a fan of supernatural horror and hardboiled noir stories you’ll find something to love here.
I’m sure by now you’re starting to see a pattern here. Supernatural games are a popular genre in any style of gameplay, but they’re even more popular in adventures. Song of Horror is a game about a haunted house that basically wants to be left alone. It will try to kill anyone entering its personal space. What I loved most about this one was the use of not just a main protagonist, but also the inclusion of several secondary characters. The only one that can’t die is Daniel Noyer.
I found the demo to be a bit cumbersome with the tank controls, but I remember hearing they’ve worked on that. Despite two failed attempts at crowdfunding the developers still got outside funding. It’s been a few months since we last heard from the developers, but I’m sure they’re working hard on getting content pushed out for release. If you’re a fan of haunted houses you should keep an eye on this one.
I’m a fan of old school cartoons like Scooby Doo, so when I saw Poltergus launch on Kickstarter I had to take a look at it. In fact, it kinda plays out like an episode of the show. The dead have somehow managed to enter our world thanks to Scoo…um, I mean Gus’ group of ghost hunters and he ends up partnering with Nancy, the ghost of the greatest child detective.
What I loved most about this one was the charm that made it look like a fit for all ages, not just adults. The ties to ghost hunting and cartoons from decades ago helped a lot. Unfortunately, it didn’t make anywhere near the modest funding goal. I do hope that development has managed to continue behind the scenes because I really do want to play this one.
These are just ten of the many horror adventure games that didn’t make funding over the past several years. I could easily double this list just on games I’ve backed myself. The real horrors aren’t the stories themselves, but the fact every one of these deserving titles should have been funded.