Due to increased workload at college and to allow for more posting flexibility on my part, I have decided to forgo the only-on-Thursdays schedule for Live on Kickstarter. Any posts under the feature can now appear on any day of the week.
Currently with 43 days to go on its Kickstarter campaign and already at 10% of its goal of USD$10,000, The Land of Eyas (pronounced as ‘eye-uhs’) is Happy Square Productions’ attempt at creating a genuinely unique platformer that stands out from the crowd, with gravity control as its main puzzle-solving mechanic. The game has been in the works since 2012 and contains a unique game engine written from scratch by lead developer Stephen Hoskins, plus hand-crafted drawings from pen-and-ink artist Matthew Kiehl, whose works take inspiration from a number of ancient tribal societies (more info on that here).
The game is centered around a cat-costumed protagonist named Eyas, who has somehow become lost and is trying to find his way back home. With the guidance of tree wisps and armed the power to switch his world’s gravitational pull from down to up and up to down, our costume-clad friend must navigate his way through various terrains and puzzles in order to find his way to the one called M.O.T.H.E.R., who we can probably assume will help our hero on his quest.
While gravity control is a concept that isn’t completely new to video games, there certainly aren’t many that make use of this type of physics manipulation as a game mechanic. There are only three games that come to mind when it comes to gravity control: Defy Gravity Extended, Rochard, and Quantum Condundrum — all of which are also of the puzzle-platformer genre. What makes The Land of Eyas distinct from these seemingly similar games, however, is its overall game design. Based on the gameplay videos provided on Hoskins’ YouTube channel, the puzzles seem to require creative problem-solving skills to get through. Sometimes it can be as straightforward as needing you to make structures from interactive blocks scattered across the level, but other times you may find yourself in a situation where you have to figure out how to get these blocks from one place to another. And it isn’t always as simple as changing your gravitational pull only once.
What’s even more interesting is that the game’s storyline, according to an email with Matthew Kiehl, is influenced by a number of fantasy classics like The Wizard of Oz, Princess Mononoke, Where The Wild Things Are, and Tron. With so many influences in mind for the game’s narrative, I’ll definitely be expecting some good story-driven gameplay and I’m hoping Happy Square Productions will be able to deliver.
The game is currently in a playable state, but requires funding to create more game mechanics and populate more than 40 levels with as much art and music as possible. Part of the money will also be used for marketing activities to ensure the success of the game. No exact date has been set yet, but Happy Square Productions is aiming for a 2015 release.
If you’d like to help them bring this gravitational adventure to life, do consider contributing to their Kickstarter campaign. The first 250 backers to pledge USD$8 or more in The Land of Eyas’ special tier are eligible to get the game one week before release date. USD$20 or more will get you the game, its soundtrack and Hoskin’s fist game Cirbie. If you’d like to participate in the beta, then a pledge of USD$35 or more is required.
Big thanks to Matthew Kiehl, by the way, for bringing my attention to this promising Kickstarter campaign. I am definitely looking forward to the success of The Land of Eyas!