Kickstarter Watch: Tumbleweed Express by The Dirigballers

Kickstarter Watch: Tumbleweed Express by The Dirigballers

If there is one thing that is destined to attract my curiosity, it’s the word “Steampunk”. Now, combine that with “Wild West” and “Rail Shooter”, and then you’ve got my attention. When looking through the myriad different games being shown at the Boston Festival of Indie Games, Tumbleweed Express by Dirigiballers jumped out at me as an idea with some incredible potential.

The game is a mesh of rail shooter and tower defense, all taking place on a locomotive screaming it’s way through the west, trying to avoid bandits who have managed to up their game quite considerably from Colts and Carriages.

The Wild West has been monopolized by an aggressive airship empire that controls the skies. Those left on the ground have fallen victim to poverty and organized bandit armies. However, the venerable Tumbleweed Express steam engine is set to saddle up and ride again, spearheading a campaign to bring support to those who have been downtrodden and forgotten. Her opponents don’t take kindly to competition though, so the Tumbleweed Express has armed herself for war… 

The first thing to note is that there is a demo of the game available, so there is no reason not to give it a go. Having a demo available is a phenomenal move on the part of this development team, giving potential Kickstarters a chance to give the game a go and see what they think.


I met Jacob Clayman, lead designer, at the 2014 BFIG, and he talked a little bit about the design  and artistic inspiration behind the game:

Our inspiration for the game comes from a lot of places. In terms of art style, we really admire the Borderlands series. Obviously Borderlands is far more violent then our game, but we really enjoy the light atmosphere that the cell shading combines. We are kind of going for that in our own game.

– Jacob Clayman, Lead Designer and Gameplay Programmer. The Dirigiballers

Currently, the game has raised $4,922, 20% of its $24,000 goal. With 16 days to go, there is still plenty of time to become a backer if this game interests you. For more information, or to contribute to the Kickstarter, head on over to the game’s page.


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Editor-in-Chief of With a soft spot for epics, sagas and tales of all types, Jacob approaches games as ways to tell stories. He's particularly interested in indie games because of the freedom they have to tell different stories, often in more interesting and innovative ways than Triple A titles.