Kickstarter is old enough now that it’s gone through all the major phases of the internet. From bushy-tailed newcomer, to up-and-coming golden boy, to savior of the games industry, demoted to disaster machine, and now largely forgotten, it’s all there. There have been a lot of gaming projects on the crowdfunding site in that span, most of which didn’t hit their funding goal. Of those, plenty looked promising but didn’t get a shot.
Well, add another game to that pitiful pile. Sikanda, a 3D action adventure RPG inspired by the likes of [insert popular retro RPG here], still has hope. But not much. $30,000 short of its already low goal, the campaign has 10 days left to close the gap. What is it about this bland sounding game that’s worth more attention?
What Sets Sikanda Apart?
Sikanda is beautiful. Eschewing the current trend of bland pixel art for 3D, colorful graphics was a wise move, allowing the art style to pop. You won’t confuse it for any other retro-inspired RPG on Kickstarter or Steam. Sikanda looks like a professional project by developers who know their trade. That’s not something you can say about many schemes on Kickstarter these days. There’s a bevy of information detailing the gameplay and story, plenty of screenshots and video, and a budget breakdown. It’s clear a lot of work has already gone into not only the game and its campaign.
The central premise of Sikanda is your weapon, the Sikanda. It’s a shape-shifting weapon that can take the form of a variety of weapons and tools you’ll use both in combat and for solving puzzles. It’s powered by your characters imagination, which drains with continued use. This means you have a finite time with it, so managing that time is key.
Experience points differ from most RPGs as well. Rather than accruing experience points for complete quests or fighting enemies, you instead level up by eating seeds. There are three types of seeds that boost your health, mana, and willpower (how long you can use the Sikanda). In theory, this forces you to adapt your play style to accommodate to what seeds you find in the field, forcing you to keep changing your tactics. In practice, this could get annoying if you find countless mana seeds and have almost no health.
The last big change-up is the friendship system, a la Stardew Valley. You become friends with NPC’s like you would in real life: paying them listening to their complaints, empathizing with them, and helping them out. Dyadic promises many optional side-quests in Sikanda, and you can only stop some of them once you’ve made friends with certain NPC’s. This should ease the age-old cliché of random strangers begging you (also a random stranger) for help. Instead, you’ll be helping your friends.
Developer Dyadic Games even has the backing of Square Enix through their Collective program. Yes, you remember that, don’t you? It’s the Japanese company’s initiative to help incubate indie games? Square Enix’s forgotten about it, doing no real advertising for any of their games.
That’s one reason the Kickstarter is struggling, the main reason most of these do – a lack of support. On the internet, quality isn’t necessarily ensure popularity. Without enough eyes, and without enough people spreading the word, nobody will ever hear about whatever it is you’re doing. Trust us on that.
Sunshine & Rainbows!
Developers have been struggling to make much headway on Kickstarter for several months now, so even an auspicious looking game like Sikanda struggling isn’t much of a shock. The crowdfunding website these days is a crap shoot. If you’re not selling a visual novel or a literal NES game (of which there are 2 campaigns for right now) then your chances of success are slim.
Where Sikanda goes from here is unknown. With all the work that’s already gone into the game, Dyadic could continue working on it on their own, or release the game on a much smaller scale. There doesn’t seem to be much value in trying Kickstarter again. This attempt was as a good a shot as any on the site, it’s hard to imagine it getting even better.
With any luck, the second wind crowdfunding campaigns get near the end of their run will deliver a sudden, massive boost that will put Sikanda over the edge. With so little time life, one can only hope.