By Josh Speer / May 15th, 2018
It’s no secret I’m drawn to games with a unique visual style. They don’t have to be the most flashy and realistic to get my attention, they just have to be memorable. So when I saw Steamboat Billy hit Kickstarter, a game that features a similar aesthetic to Cuphead but is actually an RPG, I was intrigued. The project officially launched earlier today, and you can quickly tell that there is no lack of inspiration from other popular series. The project mentions being inspired by such games as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and even Pokémon. Mixed with the 1930’s art style, that’s a heady brew. If funded, it is also slated to release on Steam, PS4, XBox One and even the Nintendo Switch.
Steamboat Billy is being developed by ManaVoid Entertainment, and they seem to be a capable team. While I’m not personally familiar with their first game, they did already successfully crowdfund Epic Manager, as well as assisting with Mages of Mystralia. That’s a good track record for a team that only came together 4 short years ago! Collectively they have a lot of industry experience, and their art director has even listed himself as “Disney-obsessed”, so I feel Steamboat Billy is in good hands. With that out of the way, let’s see what the game is all about, shall we? The following is a quick rundown in the developers own words –
The terrible Leviathan and his cronies have cursed the realm, leaving its inhabitants in colorless chaos and fear! The game strongly emphasizes sea exploration akin to: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and also contains creature collection, training and strategic turn-based battling systems similar to the classic Pokémon games.
Steamboat Billy’s unique and dynamic art style grew out of our love of classic 1930s American cartoon aesthetics and the recent indie hit Cuphead. We have re-mixed these vintage cartoon graphics, adding hints of Japanese anime to our characters and implemented modern animation techniques to enhance the game’s visual effects.
To me, the premise sounds like a mixture between Paper Mario and other more traditional RPGs. As for gameplay itself, it sounds like an ambitious mixture of many styles, including crafting, fishing, monster collection and more. Additionally, if you liked sailing about in Wind Waker, this game will feature a similar mechanic (guess that’s what the Steamboat is for). There appears to be a lot of exploration of a vast world. That’s great, but what has me more excited is that the combat is a mixture of turn based and quick time mechanics. Oh and regarding the creature raising, not only can you add critters to your team, you can also let them help build things for you at Star Harbor!
There’s a lot that I like about Steamboat Billy so far, but it can only be realized if enough people help fund it. As it just launched, it’s not that far yet, but it still has 29 days to go in order to reach the funding goal of $50, 791. That may sound like a large amount, but in my experience it’s better for devs to be realistic about how much money they’ll need than to ask for too little and then delay production as a result.
As far as funding the project, there are a lot of choice tiers you can fund at.
CA$20 – The Sailor Pack – Backer Exclusive HD Wallpaper and a digital copy of the game
CA$30 – The Officer Pack – The previous rewards in addition to closed Beta access
CA$40 – The First Mate Pack – All previous rewards, listed as First Mate in credits, digital artbook and soundtrack and in-game exclusive pet “Felicity the cat”
CA$60 – The Captain Pack – All previous rewards, listed as Captain in credits, Alpha access, house guard Mr. Molson the dog
CA$150 – The Merfolk Pack – All previous rewards, listed as Merfolk in credits, limited edition signed print, exclusive T-shirt, immortalize an epitaph in Davy Jones’ Locker and in-game pet Pinato the Llama
CA$5000 – The Leviathan Pack – Everything, including some crazy rewards like naming an in-game NPC, a digital portrait of yourself in the game and attending a launch party in Montreal, Canada
There’s plenty of other tiers as well, but those are some of the most compelling. I really hope to see Steamboat Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan get funded. There’s a lot of heart and charm in the style, and I always enjoy more traditional based RPGs. If you’re interested in helping it out, you can find out more details on the official Kickstarter page.
Crowdfunding SpotlightKickstarterManaVoid EntertainmentRPGSteamboat Billy: The Curse of the Leviathantraditional