And here I thought I was done with finding cool Kickstarter projects for a while, after the whirlwind back to back campaigns of Bloodstained, Dimension Drive and Yooka-Laylee. But then fellow oprainfall writer Steve Baltimore went and found a winner in Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs. What is Regalia, you ask? Well, for starters it’s a turn based tactical RPG that the team calls “A Disgaea meets Persona formula with a western twist on the classic strategy JRPG genre.” That instantly got my attention, as did the fantastic and vibrant art style by Runshin. Other standouts are the fact that Regalia is supposed to have huge replayability, with procedurally generated content, a large cast of characters and social interaction elements. As for who is making the game, they are called Pixelated Milk and based in Polad, and I will let them introduce themselves – “We are a small, fresh studio, united by the shared dream of creating games. We lack long resumes and work experiences of other projects, but we try to compensate for it with hard work and transparency. For us, your trust is the key to making this possible.”
The story of Regalia is not the standard hero saves the world from apocalyptic evil fare. Instead, it is the story of a reluctant king, Kay, who inherits the duties of ruler. While that might sound like a sweet deal, it really isn’t. The kingdom is in ruins, his ancestors left him an enormous financial debt and nobody exists to acknowledge the legitimacy of his claim. So, not your standard RPG. The story is more of a slice of life drama, which I normally wouldn’t much like, but it seems compelling here.
Besides the core party members, there is a total cast of 12 characters whom can join your ranks. Interestingly, the game eschews he typical 3 or 4 party model, and allows groups of up to 5 to take the field at once. But by far one of the best aspects of the game is the following – “When it comes to skills, we are focusing on quality over quantity, and therefore, every character and/or enemy feels different; every skill is unique to its owner, without boring duplicates. You can push and pull characters around, buff and debuff, summon new units or gadgets… and more!” So not only a large cast of characters, but completely unique ones. But perhaps the strangest and most unique combat mechanic is this – you cannot heal in Regalia. While some might balk at the lack of such a common system, the team promises that this is balanced out by many ways to shield yourself from damage. As they put it, “pointless rushing and incorrect positioning usually translate into swift defeat.”
Aesthetically, combat is a mixture of hand drawn 2D art and 3D character models. This allows you to become immersed in the different characters, while still having such niceties as reflections, dynamic shadows and Havok physics calculations.
Luckily, battle is not the only way to win in Regalia. The game also features an extensive social link system. Every NPC or playable character you meet has a social link, and by improving them you can unlock new content, be it side quests, armor recipes, store discounts and more. These links can be raised up to 5 levels total. But if making friends with individuals wasn’t enough for you, you can also befriend various Factions.
The diplomacy aspect of the game allows you to ally yourself with various Factions through the course of the game. The catch is that you can only befriend 3 of the 6 Factions in a give playthrough, because as you befriend one Faction, their rival will turn against you. While your ally factions grant you such boons as economic benefits, faction-specific buildings or even unique playable characters, those Factions you turn your back on will provide nothing but trouble. As an example of the diversity of the Factions, they include Nordic elves, Samurai dwarves and even Arabian Nights-esque gnomes! Such a feature is sure to ramp up the already prodigious replay value.
One last aspect that bears mention is the time management system. Yes, you can’t just run around wasting your time in Regalia, since every campaign takes place over the course of 2 game years. The Pixelated Milk team put it best themselves – “Time is a scarce resource, and so you will have to manage carefully, dividing it between combat, exploration, diplomacy and social links. You and your progress will be evaluated every three months. Fail, and it’s game over!” Luckily, they allow and encourage all types of playthroughs, whether you focus on monster hunting for 3 months or exploring or even just socializing. Besides the main story paths, you are free to spend your time in Regalia as you please. But now let’s get down to what you want to know most – the pledge goals and rewards.
The good news is, Regalia is already funded. However, they still have 13 days left to reach some really nice stretch goals. Currently the game will be released for Windows and Linux, but if they reach the $60,000 stretch goal (not too far, considering they are already at $48,000) then Regalia will also be available for PS4 and Vita! I know I personally lit up when I saw that goal, as I love playing these type of RPGs on the go. With that in mind, let’s see how the rewards stack up. For a mere dollar, you get an email thanking you for helping back the game; $15 gets you the digital copy of Regalia; $25 gets you the digital copy, as well as digital artbook, soundtrack, comic book AND poster; $45 gets you all the previous rewards plus 3 skins and Early Access; $100 gets you the physical game, artbook, poster and soundtrack; $555 lets you work with the team to create your own ancestor, taking your portrait and making it last; and the ultimate $999 reward lets you design your very own monster in the game!
All in all, Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs looks like a fantastic project, and one I will likely back to try and get it on my Vita. If it looks good to you, please spread the word, and check out their Kickstarter page for all the pertinent details. In closing, take a look at the sweet trailer for the game.