There are so many space simulators, galactic adventures and science-fiction projects out in the gaming market at the moment, which means developers have to find a way to make their product stand out from the rest. The same goes for pixel-art games; I’ve covered so many of those in the last month or so those chunky blocks are starting to square my vision. And Deep Flare: Explorer, being a pixel-art space exploration game, doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the crowd. With two weeks to go in its Kickstarter campaign, it hasn’t done much in the way of taking off. So far, Deep Flare has only managed to raise a dismal €1,197 of the €45,000 it’s asking for.
First off, developer BTSeven bills Deep Flare as an exploration game. They’ve omitted combat—no incinerating UFOs with your plasma rays or dodging enemy spacecraft—which is totally fine. But the gameplay they’ve listed in their overview comes across as—how should I put it—lacklustre. You’ve got to navigate meteor showers with the tools at the usual generic spacecraft tools at your disposal; a magnetic shield, and you guessed it, a laser cannon. Honestly, I’d blast aliens over meteors with my laser cannon any day of the week, but that’s just me.
BTSeven has also chosen to omit levels. I get that the game is meant to be grounded in realism; “each celestial body has its own orbit”, without “invisible walls or borders” so that you can freely explore the solar system, without being restricted to the storyline. But gamers love progression, and a game like Deep Flare would greatly benefit from any sort of leveling/upgrading system. BTSeven discusses the “extraordinary technology” of the EX-07A that will be there to assist you, as you can use various equipment to assist you in your space journey. However, I don’t see anything about what exactly these pieces of equipment are, and how exactly they can be employed. Adding descriptions of spaceship customization and modding might get people more interested in Deep Flare.
Another problem is that with the abundance of space games competing for your gamer bucks, Deep Flare’s pixel-art style just isn’t going to cut it against, say, the stunning graphics of Into the Stars. As middling as that game may be, at first glance I would spend my cash on Into the Stars, nine times out of ten. And I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one. And then there’s the issue of money. Looking at what’s been shown on Deep Flare’s Kickstarter overview, €45,000, which converts to roughly $51,200 USD, is too much to ask for a game of this size and scope. If the campaign does end up failing and they come back for a second go-around, their goal will have to be reduced drastically in order to find any sort of success; especially since BTSeven doesn’t seem to have any past games to showcase, and they are basically building their fan-base from scratch. Deep Flare’s campaign needs a drastic overhaul as soon as possible, or they’ll be back to square one before they can say LIFTOFF!