Brothers Clint and Lance Trahan have come to crowdfunding hoping to bypass the traditional publishing gatekeepers. Their vision for an SNES inspired pixel art adventure, Forsaken Castle has all the markings of an indie darling. All that stands in their way is their $10,000 Kickstarter goal.
The 16-bit style platformer borrows heavily from Metroid style gameplay and level design, but with the visual flair of Castlevania. Forsaken Castle also benefits from an update to the standard grizzled hero trope. Rather than joining the fight against dark forces as an equal, players instead take on the role of a newly appointed paladin seeking to prove herself.
It’s a subtle difference, but it gives the protagonist, Lily a motivation beyond standard protocol. She’s willingly put herself in a harrowing situation not due to destiny, but rather her own desire and ambitions. Suddenly her victories and failures are more triumphant and tragic by turn.
This matters because at any given time, Kickstarter is nearly overrun with retro-styled action platformers. Even a hint of nuance can set one project apart from another, perhaps enough to earn coveted backer dollars.
Give Me One Good Reason
Operating as Duck Block Games, the Trahan’s have developed a gorgeous handcrafted world for players to explore. Providing narrative subtext helps pull players deeper into the world and keep them exploring its every nook and cranny. Suddenly, we can’t rely on an all powerful veteran protagonist, instead we have one who may or may not be able to stand up to ultimate big bad. Fortunately, Lily will continually grow from her experience in the castle as she discovers new items and spells. Not only does this make her stronger, but it allows her to explore further into the secrets of the castles’ dungeons and catacombs.