As much as we may whine and complain about Kickstarter’s utter lack of quality control, there’s no denying that Indiegogo tends to be worse. This is why it’s always a special delight to stumble upon an Indiegogo project that shows real potential. Even, when that potential is hidden behind a wholly uninformative campaign. In this instance, Dead End Studio’s 2D platformer, Heartbeat.
With the campaign ending in roughly two weeks, potential backers have largely overlooked this project. It still has quite a way to go in order to reach its €25,000 flexible funding goal. While some blame may fall on Indiegogo’s sloppy category presentation, the project’s lack of details has allowed it to remain unnoticed for much of its campaign.
Heartbeat has players exploring a dark and painful world through the eyes of its tortured protagonist. While the campaign is intentionally vague about the cause of his suffering it does hint at an unrequited love affair gone horribly wrong. It’s reminiscent of Braid in many ways, with the player seemingly solving puzzles in pursuit of a ‘prize’ that doesn’t wish to be won. Of course, this is entirely speculation since the enigmatic overview refuses to divulge more information.
Teasing And Telling
The ambiguous nature of the narrative puts the onus of the game’s success on its gameplay. Heartbeat seems prepared to deliver with some clever mechanics, but again detailed information is hard to come by. It’s a delicate balance between preserving the mystery of the game and giving potential backers enough information. One which Heartbeat doesn’t quite hit.
Players literally take the protagonist’s heart in their hands as they traverse the complex, often dark world. Throwing the heart will activate devices, transport the player, and unlock areas. The campaign page boasts 30 original mechanics which the player will learn and combine to solve the increasingly difficult puzzles.
Of course, throwing your heart away isn’t as easy as it sounds. You still need it to live, so you’re constantly recovering it as you progress. There’s probably a country music song written about this.
Combined with a quirky art style, Heartbeat looks like a solid premise that suffered from an overly ambiguous campaign on an increasingly obsolete platform. Hopefully, Dead End Studio will follow their hearts and continue working on this project regardless of the campaign’s outcome.