My attention is always caught by games doing something differently; taking a time honored mechanic and turning it on it’s head or reinventing it. This is just one of the reasons I love indie games so much, and part of the reason Machines Don’t Die caught my eye.
Currently on Kickstarter, Machines Don’t Die certainly feels like a love letter to classic metroidvania games, but is doing things a little differently in a couple key ways.
“Machines Don’t Die” is a 2.5D Action RPG Platformer, inspired by the Castlevania classics, with a unique death mechanic and design.
Machines Don’t Die isn’t breaking any molds with it’s gameplay or style: It’s got a classic metroidvania feel with some superb early hand drawn and animated assets. The world is post-apocalyptic with a dash of cyberpunk and seems like a solid concept and pitch.
But what really caught my attention with Machines Don’t Die is the proposed death mechanic.
Undoubtedly, at some point, you’ll die, just like you do in every game. However, instead of having a stock of lives, or simply loosing progress, you loose a limb in Machines Don’t Die. The concept is that losing all your HP represents grievous bodily harm to the point where the hero will have to have his limb replaced by a cybernetic prosthetic.
These cyber limbs will give your hero special powers and enhancements for many of the game’s skills , but will also add significant disadvantages to other skills, so there’s a bit of a balancing act to be performed. Moreover, once you lose your last human body parts, and thus, your humanity, it’s game over, and you’ll have to start over from the beginning.
I think this concept alone is solid enough idea to build a game on. It feels like what the tech system in Dues Ex SHOULD have been, with real consequences in lopping off an arm and replacing it with a concealed battle cannon. That weighing of the pros and cons of which cybernetic enhacements to work with is a superb bit of design philosophy.
Unfortunately, there’s now way to try this out. I do think that the Machines Don’t Die Kickstarter is hurt by the lack of a demo, and it’s rather high goal of €60,000. While the art, animation and mechanics look incredibly cool and high quality, this is the first game being developed by Maik and Przemyslaw of Shepherd’s Machine Studios, and is still very much in a prototype. The current Kickstarter environment is one that demands a playable slice for potential backers to at least get a feel for what they might be interested in backing.
Shepherd’s Machine Studios plan for a release date somewhere around November 2020 on Steam.
They are looking to raise €60,000by November 16th. If you interested in learning a bit more about the game’s features, the reward tiers, or in becoming a backer, the head over to the Kickstarter Campaign page.
*Disclaimer: The Author has not backed the game discussed in this article on Kickstarter as of 10/23/18. All opinions are the authors own, and the objectivity of the piece may be influenced by any of the authors own biases as stated in the article or in this disclaimer.*