Kickstart This! Safe House

Ever since the release of Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee, it feels like there has been a bit of a lull over at Kickstarter. Many had hoped that the game, crafted by Rare veterans, would harken back to the heyday of 3D platformers. Unfortunately, a wonky camera and poor level design took the wind from its sails.

Of course, crowdfunding was never the cause of this. Yooka-Laylee was born out of love by game developers, and rather than criticise it for its flaws, it should be celebrated for actually being made and released. Many crowdfunding games fall by the wayside long before they reach a beta test, but then again, many are not even as well-received as Playtonic’s project was.

Whether you consider it a success or a failure, there are other crowdfunding games that need your support. I always think Kickstarter is at its best when it becomes a platform for innovation. It often gets saturated with well-loved genres like JRPGs or retro 2D platformers, but a smaller target can force developers to get creative. Every now and again, someone comes up with a concept that is as novel as it is entertaining, and Safe House is one of those rare gems.

Let’s kick down this door and see what’s behind it!

Project: Safe House
Genre: Spy Strategy Sim
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac/Linux)
Funding Target: $5,000 CAD (approx. $3,710)

What Is It?
Safe House is an indie strategy sim that takes elements from The Sims and mixes it with the political aspects of Papers Please. The overall aesthetic is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, or old spy games on the Commodore 64 like Impossible Mission.

Players find themselves slap in the middle of the fictional African nation of Kazitaire, and charged with the running of a CIA safe house. By completing daily tasks and advancing through the story missions, players earn cash to upgrade their safe house with additional rooms including medical bases and code cracking enigma rooms.

Why Fund It?
The game oozes style, from the silhouette opening screens to the shadowy rooms of the safe house lifted straight from a John le Carre novel. Vancouver-based LABS Games has created something simply yet addictive, the spycraft version of Theme Hospital. It is all the more incredible when you realise that LABS Games is a one-man band, a mysterious industry expert operating under a pseudonym. Very hush hush.

The running of the safe house offers lots of opportunities for different and varied tasks, so players will never be bored. But the real meat is the spy stories, and LABS Games promises that how you run the missions will not just affect their chance of success, but also the political landscape of the game as a whole.

One of the most novel aspects of this campaign is a Social Unlock feature. Like LABS Games on Facebook
or Twitter, and if they reach 500 followers on both, additional content will be made available for free. I can see this being very popular, as it’s a free way to gain followers and give away in-game items. Don’t be surprised if you see this in more Kickstarter campaigns soon.

Best Rewards?

  • Digital copy of the game, regular updates, name in credits, digital signed postcard, and wallpaper – $12 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus beta access – $20 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus your name as a character in the game – $28 CAD
  • Previous rewards, design a character – $40 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus help create three secret code words and phrases – $60 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus help design a story mission – $75 CAD (limited to 10)

Until Next Time…
LABS Games hopes to have Safe House ready for November this year, and with a relatively small target of $5,000 CAD as well as the current screens, it is safe to assume the game is quite far long already. Can one man achieve success where larger teams have failed? Only with your help. And remember, the $5,000 CAD is just a minimum target. LABS Games has stretch goals in place, starting at $12,000 CAD for a brand new room type. Even if you can’t afford to donate, don’t forget to follow the project through social media and help spread the (code) word.

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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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