With Celestian Tales: Old North, Ekuator Games is attempting to recapture the beauty and rich storytelling of old school JRPGs. Rather than throwing all of their resources into the graphics, this Kickstarter game instead focuses on an intriguing storyline and six captivating characters. It spans three decades, allowing your choices to affect the story for “years” to come. As the Kickstarter video asks, “Will you come to regret decisions you’ve made years ago?”
The game takes place in a vicious land, the cold and unforgiving Old North. But the land alone is not what makes the world so cruel; those with power make it a terrifying place to live for anyone who dares to think differently than they do. The game offers you six playable characters, all with fascinating backstories and all of whom must join up together as knights under a liege lord. The story has little to do with magic or fantasy (though both aspects are present). The website explains that, “It is a story of mundane struggles, of hardships and grief, as well as happiness and joy.” In other words, you’re not the Chosen One, not some brilliant hero who’s been marked by the gods to partake on an epic journey to save the world. You’re just a young knight who must navigate through a brutal world and make difficult, life changing decisions.
Here is a breakdown of some of the key features:
- Multiple conclusions for each character allowing for tons of replays. If you’re a completionist like me and just have to know how each story ends you’ll be in for countless hours of enjoyment.
- Turn based combat
- Dynamic encounters
- Gorgeous, hand-drawn backgrounds
- Optional side quests which are completely…well…optional!
So why should you back this game or look to play it in the future? Quite simply because the story and characters look fantastic. Three decades of gameplay gives you plenty of time to screw things up for you later in life. The characters come from varying backgrounds, and these backgrounds have been well thought out. Such detail is there that you can feel as though you are making informed decisions based on what you know about the character, but your also have the freedom to do as you please. As part of the Kickstarter campaign they are gradually releasing more in-depth information concerning each character. I can already say that I will probably play as Ylianne. Her elfin background gives her the outsider view, allowing her to question the norms taking place around her, and that is right up my alley!
Besides, I always play an archer. Alllwaaaays. And an archer with logical armor to boot? Um, yes please!
Speaking of armor one of the other female characters caught my eye, the impressive Lucienne. You will notice, ladies and gents, that here is a plate wearing knight whose soft squishy bits are actually…covered.
I know. It’s a mindblowing concept. And what’s more, I think it looks wonderful. While we won’t get to see as much detail in the game, the concept art shows us that these guys are good. They’ve shown us that women can look nice in full plate armor without their boobs or asses hanging out. Go figure.
While the focus on story and character are what got Old North its spot on this week’s featured Kickstarter, the combat system is worth noting as well. I am not particularly fond of dynamic encounters nor do I care much for turn based combat. I often find that it takes me out of the story and becomes a mini-game of its own of which I have no interest in taking part in. However, when discussing the combat system on the Kickstarter site they explain “combat puts emphasis on strategy and team customization, enough to keep you up but not too much that it turns boring and distracts the focus on the narrative.”
Favorite line ever. The fact that these guys have acknowledged that turn based combat systems can at times get dull and repetitive shows that they’re thinking critically about how to best implement the system, rather than copy and pasting what other games have done. They may convert me yet!
There are only eleven days left so hurry on over to their Kickstarter and watch the awesome video they’ve posted (and by the way, is his voice not amazing??).
*Also, huge shout out to last week’s Kickstarter Project Maiden. This morning we received word that they have reached their goal and we want to congratulate them on their successful Kickstarter, as well as wish them luck on the next step of their adventure. (We also cannot wait to get our hands on the game once it goes live!)