Crowdfunding is a constantly swinging, double-edged sword, as exemplified by polar opposites, Shovel Knight and Mighty No. 9. Each game perfectly represents the extremes of greatness and not-so-greatness born of crowdfunding. I would like to call my shot and say that the upcoming trash themed 90’s JRPG, Kingdoms of the Dump will land in the same successful category as the former.
One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure
When the King of Garbagia has been kidnapped, a chunky little trash can named Dustin Binsley is accused of the crime. On a mission to clear his name, you’ll join Dustin and his group of charming misfits. Their quest will take you all over the Lands of Fill in a lovingly detailed SNES tribute.
Kingdoms of the Dump’s hook is its unique aesthetic. The garbage themed world sees the potential for the extraordinary in the mundane, with a refreshingly playful attitude. It is an idea that presents itself as Harley’s Humongous Adventure by way of Frank Oz, taking something humdrum and making it fantastical.
You’ll explore entire trash themed worlds and their curious inhabitants. In the land of Detergeos, you encounter legendary laundry wizards. You’ll also meet a secret order of librarians that are more akin to cowboys while on your travels. Kingdoms of the Dump takes a welcome bold step. Most retro tribute JRPGs tend to play things a little safer with familiar fantasy settings.
Retro Feel, Modern Sensibilities
Supporting the fantastic art direction is Kingdoms of the Dump‘s gameplay, which takes inspiration from previous entries in the genre while utilizing contemporary conveniences. Paper Mario style combat mechanics such as a critical hit mini-game system, no random encounters, and grid-based combat are front and center in Kingdoms of the Dump.
Finally, A Jump Button
While modern convinces are always welcome in an old school RPG, I’m particularly excited about the mobility in this one. The freedom of movement that players have in Kingdoms of the Dump is unprecedented for the genre. Vertical mobility is present through a dedicated jump button. Players can not only get the first hit on enemies, but scale structures that most games would leave in the background.
You can switch between six different characters and use their special abilities to further investigate the maps. You’ll actually want to try this since Kingdoms of the Dump has created environments worth exploring. The added depth makes you want to dig into every nook and cranny in the Lands of Fill as opposed to bee-lining to the next area. Not to mention giving you a reason to revisit places anytime you have new party members.
With a week left in the Kickstarter, Kingdoms of the Dump appears on track for its funding goal. With such an interesting take on the tired SNES inspired JRPG genre, I think Kingdoms of the Dump is a Kickstarter game that deserves a chance.
Also, one of the characters in the game named is named Walker. As such, I feel obligated to play it.