[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]n mid 2014 I wrote an article titled ‘Fixing The Kickstarter Video Game Bubble.” In it I contend that we as backers should be spreading out our Kickstarter funds across more projects. For example, instead of dropping a hundred bucks on a single project we could better serve developers, ourselves, and crowdfunding as a whole by backing five projects for twenty dollars each. It would help prevent rampant overfunding, hedge backers against significant losses, and give more developers a shot. Multiple examples were listed in the article, but one game in particular epitomized the point I was trying to make. Two Steps Back is a visual novel by Kristen Cheely that was looking to raise $1,500 on Kickstarter at the time, and it really stuck with me.
The Two Steps Back Kickstarter is not one that I would point to as a prime example of how to be successful on the platform. Sure, there were a number of screenshots, the funding goal was low, and there was even a version of the game to check out. However, the artwork wasn’t world-class, the campaign wasn’t structured very professionally, and the funding video was just Kristen talking to the camera. It’s all of those elements that made Two Steps Back a campaign worth checking out though. Could Two Steps Back have been a scam or a pipe-dream from a developer in over her head? Definitely. However, when Kristen closes her video by saying “I’ve put my all into this, and this is something that means a lot to me” I knew I had to back it. In the end the Two Steps Back Kickstarter raised $2,300; over the $1,500 goal, but definitely not overfunded.
Since then Kristen has done right by her backers. She posted updates once a month until the game was finished, delivered backer rewards, and created a solid game. When Marcus reviewed it last September he had a lot of good things to say, including:
“Even after being very familiar with a variety of visual novels I found Two Steps Back to have a very intriguing style of exposition. Repetition, confusion, and all that you would expect in the situation are played out perfectly. It was also hard not to become attached to both protagonists as they seem so immediately likable. You root for them and hope for the best, even if the best seems a slim chance…
… All in all, Two Steps Back is an exciting visual novel debut. The quality is quite high for something designed by a single person. Honestly, you rarely even see games in the genre that take the time to provide animated sprites! The unique, frightening storyline stands out against its colleagues as well.”
Not bad for a potentially forgettable Kickstarter from a rookie developer.
If you’ve got $3.00 to spend consider taking a look at Two Steps Back now that it’s available on Steam. And next time you’re looking for projects to back think about taking a risk on someone’s dream, just don’t go overboard.