FeaturedKickstarter of the Week

Kickstarter of the Week – Ira

Kickstarter Page: Ira
Project By: Ore Creative
Goal: $68,200
End Date: May 2nd, 2015
In a nutshell: “Past and present bleed into one in this surreal point-and-click adventure through a mysterious solar system.”

[In case you didn’t hear, Kickstarter of the Week is back from the dead! I’ve returned to this mortal plain to highlight the best of the best in crowdfunded games, and this time I’m not alone. KSotW is now a two-pronged force, (the other prong being JC) which allows us to cover tabletop/board/card games in addition to my usual videogame features. Why not check out JC’s feature on The Titans of Gaming?]

It’s been a while since I waded the depths of Kickstarter to find anything worth funding, and I was saddened to see the platform has, for the most part, turned into a murky cesspool of zombie survival games not unlike Steam Greenlight/Early Access. You can’t move an inch on either service without finding some dreadful bandwagon jumping game full of tree-hitting and stock Unity assets, but there are still games out there worth keeping an eye on/throwing your money at, they’re just needles in a rather large haystack.

Enter Ira, a minimalistic point-and-click adventure about abandonment, loneliness and space travel. Though it appears at first that Ira belongs to an ordinary post-war American family, Ira‘s demo soon teases titbits of information about its alternate Earth setting, one wherein mankind has pumped all of its money into space travel and the colonization of Mars, creating an even greater class gap between the space-faring rich and the land-working poor. Though Ira always dreamt of exploring space, his lot in life remains firmly rooted on his father’s farm. Once he comes of age and his parents leave, Ira finally follows his calling and jets off into the vast unknown of space.

Ira is a pleasant oddity, a game that manages to take the quiet, slow place of a point-and-click adventure and instil it with an awful lot of tension and atmosphere, all within a short, twenty minute demo. In one rather affecting sequence, Ira exits his kitchen to find his mother and father gone from the house and garage, and the TV crackling ominous white noise. The wall hangings then disappear, and the furniture is covered with white sheets. It’s a curt but sombre way of throwing Ira from his childhood and into manhood, and it makes for some quietly tense gameplay.

In fact, Ira‘s atmosphere only falters when it begins to explain feelings, motivations and scenery. The game creates tension admirably through sound and level design, so there is really no need for text pop-up describing the coldness of a room – we can already feel that coldness.

In terms of nuts and bolts, Ira is your standard point-and-click fare; taking objects and storing/using/combining them to greater ends. There’s little in the way of perplexing puzzles in Ira‘s demo, but that’s actually somewhat refreshing. If the full game put puzzles and convoluted adventure game logic on the back-burner in favour of good storytelling, it’d probably play in Ira‘s favour.

Visually, Ira‘s 3-D environments feel a little basic, but this too works in favour of its minimalistic tone (though Ira himself looks a little creepy). The game’s 2-D locations really stand out though – they pop with dark/light contrast in a manner similar to LIMBO or Kentucky Route Zero.

Ira is being funded on Kickstarter until May 2nd, and has already been Greenlit on Steam. Ore Creative needs $68,200 in order to finish production. Ira is definitely worth a look if you’re after a more subdued, understated adventure game experience, one which oozes cold, creeping tension.

Liam Lambert

Liam is a writer from the UK. He is currently pursuing his childhood dream of become a professional wrestler, by constantly wrestling with his deteriorating mental health.

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