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Ama’s Lullaby and my Kickstarter confession

At the end of January, I wrote about how I hadn’t backed anything on Kickstarter for a while despite being a fan of the platform in previous years. Over time I noticed a decline in quality and grew tired of searching through campaigns for sub-par mobile games and ‘gangster shooters’ produced by 11-year olds (true story) to get to the good stuff. There was so much rough that the diamonds were well and truly hidden so I gradually stopped visiting.

Well, I have a confession: I’m now a backer of not one, but two recent projects. Yes, two. In just as many months. Damn you, Kickstarter

Beautiful Desolution intially drew me back to crowdfunding because I’d enjoyed The Brotherhood’s previous release so much. The level of quality in terms of design is astonishing when you consider that STASIS is the work of such a small team (I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re into science-fiction or point-and-clicks). Developer Chris Bischoff revealed he’s a fan of The Dig, Gabriel Knight and Broken Sword when we interviewed him, saying that adventure games are ‘the perfect form of expression’.

You tend to listen when someone with taste like that makes a recommendation, so when Chris sent a tweet about Ama’s Lullaby one day I headed over to Kickstarter to take a look. The campaign page mentioned the three magic words: ‘point-and-click’, ‘cyberpunk’ and ‘command-line-based hacking system’. Based on that, I’m sure you can’t blame me for parting with my money.

Mercy Ground Creations’ project takes place after the announcement of a potential impact between Earth and an asteroid. A space mission led by an artificial intelligence (AI) brings a young computer-science prodigy called Ama to the 1st colony on a planet built by machines for humans, so she can be protected. But when she finds out the real reason for her presence in the colony – and notices the strange behaviour of its inhabitants – her whole world suddenly falls apart.

Players take on the role of Ama and have the opportunity to explore their surroundings, meet its human and non-human citizens, negotiate with the AI and make decisions that will affect the course of events. Here’s the bit that caught my eye: thanks to the character’s programming talent, you’ll be able to hack any network of the city to steal confidential data to use, disclose or blackmail. Be warned though, for every action has a consequence and Ama will become an easy target once her identity is unveiled.

The protagonist’s main weapon is her laptop and by logging into the colony’s networks, she’ll have access to almost every resource. Players will have to enter simplified command lines with the help of visual monitoring, launching programs, forcing firewalls and deleting files (sounds like a normal day at work). But you’ll have to act on strategy: when they realise they’re being hacked, opponent networks will attempt to track Ama’s position or corrupt her own system.

The Kickstarter campaign for Ama’s Lullaby is due to finish on 25 March 2017. With 28 days left to go and still over €14,000 left to raise at the time of writing, it could possibly be looking a little tight for Mercy Ground Creations; but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one because I think it shows a huge amount of promise.

So Kickstarter, what will you have for me next time? Will it be three projects backed in three months? We’ll have to wait until March to find out.

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