Kickstart This! Columnae: A Past Under Construction

As I was discussing last time around on Kickstart This! with regards to Mighty No.9, nostalgia can be a powerful thing, but also something that potentially cripples any chance of success should it not rekindle that warm fuzzy glow from your childhood memories.

So when Nightdive Studios launched a Kickstarter campaign for a remake of classic horror FPS System Shock, I was of two minds whether to recommend it or not. It has enough fans to have passed its hefty $900,000 target, but will it be as good as promised? I’m more than hopeful. For one, Nightdive released a demo to persuade people to back the game, but the pitch video takes a very satirical approach, and the dark humour makes me believe it may just live up to expectations. Go check it out, especially if you are thinking of launching a campaign, as it is well crafted.

But System Shock has its money in the bag, so I wanted to recommend something that needs your cash to succeed. I originally thought about Prey for the Gods, which looks like a close sibling to Shadow of the Colossus with the added benefit of a grappling hook to help you climb the giant gods that you must destroy. It looks amazing, and worthy of the comparisons to Shadow of the Colossus as well as your donations. However, it is getting a lot of global press, and is well on its way to reaching its $300,000 goal, so I wanted to highlight a little gem from the Belgrade-based Moonburnt Studio that may need more help to hit its target.

Project: Columnae: A Past Under Construction
Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac/Linux)
Funding Target: €40,000

What Is It?
Columnae is a non-linear point-and-click adventure set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world, reminiscent of Dishonored. Its 2D platformer nature and restricted colour palette place it firmly in this recent sub-genre of silhouette-style games such as Limbo, Toby, and Monochroma.

The story finds the player navigating a world that has suffered an environmental cataclysmic event, causing mankind to retreat into a domed city, Deus. It is held up by a series of columns, or Columnae, which lead into the ground. This is where the machinery that powers Deus, known as the Machina, is found. The denizens living within Deus have not been seen since its doors closed before the disaster. Those not privileged enough to live in Deus now survive in a city that sprung up between the columns

Why Fund It?
If you love point-and-click adventures, you are well catered for with Columnae, while the non-linear approach to the genre introduces the concept of retrocausality, meaning players can influence both past and future. There are eight chapters in total, and whichever one you start with will determine the next chapter you play, meaning the game has eight possible endings, which should be reason enough to replay. In addition, those endings and outcomes will, by some degree, be shaped by a player’s moral decisions, and the consequences of their actions. Not only that, but NPCs also change with each playthrough, so while you may initially find one character to be helpful and truthful in one sequence, a replay may find them to be deceitful.

The game is elevated by its beautiful use of art style, with clouds of steam and smog conjuring images of Victorian London. The silhouettes and lighting also add to the steampunk setting, with characters using explosive powder lights and camera flashes to illuminate rooms or reveal secrets.

Best Rewards?

  • Digital copy of the game – €13
  • Digital copy of the game, plus digital artbook and soundtrack – €23
  • Previous rewards, plus a digital encyclopaedia of the game world, and your name in the credits – €33
  • Previous rewards, plus beta access – €43
  • Previous rewards, plus backer-exclusive t-shirt, full colour poster, and stickers – €53
  • Previous rewards, plus name a character in the game – €87
  • Previous rewards, plus a signed physical artbook – €99

Until Next Time…
Should you not wish to part with your money, or not be able to afford it, you can also help the team at Moonburnt Studio by voting for Columnae on Steam Greenlight. Two minutes of your time might mean the difference between success or failure for these intrepid designers.

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In addition to being Warp Zoned's UK Correspondent, Andrew Rainnie is a screenwriter and filmmaker. You can email him at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com or you can, if you're inclined, visit his personal website.

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