Let’s just get this out of the way right up front, Nin is a 3D adventure-platformer and it looks really cute. We’re talking stupidly adorable levels of cute. Add to that Vagabond Games’ clear and present love of parodying 90’s pop culture and it’s hard not to grin like an idiot at some part of this Kickstarter campaign.
Gushing over graphics aside, Vagabond is seeking $75,000 to fund Nin and the project is definitely worth a look. The story follows the adventures of a pint-sized keychain ninja. Discarded for many years, Nin plans to escape the secluded shoe-box he’s been imprisoned in and make a break for freedom.
Along the way, our plush protagonist can pick-up some makeshift tools to aid him on his journey. Lacking a HUD or inventory menu, deciding which tool to carry and use becomes a gameplay mechanic of its own. Players will need to explore and survive the massive world by utilizing survival skills, parkour, and puzzle solving.
Be Small, Think Big
The game began as a group project for a university class back in 2010. Since that time, Nin has undergone extensive redesigns and a full graphics overhaul. VR support is available for Oculus Rift. This version has the curious feature of first-person perspective through the Oculus, but fixed camera views on the default screen. This makes it possible (necessary?) for players to remove their headset and get a better overview of the area.
Nin will be divided into 3 episodic adventures. Data from each episode carries over to subsequent games to create a continuous story. The downside? Special items may only be obtainable in one game, but have seemingly no purpose until the next. This is a nod to LucasArts adventure games, which also liked to torture their players. The developers have promised that missing these items will not hinder progression, but I can imagine someone, somewhere will be losing sleep over this sneaky design.
Still, the real joy in Nin comes from discovering and interacting with the larger-than-life set pieces. I spent a fair amount of time just checking out all the satire logos and 90’s references in the screenshots. There is no demo as of yet, but the Kickstarter page promises it is “coming soon” so we have another reason to keep an eye on this project.