Do you like Graphic Adventure games? Do you like Shoot’em Ups? Would you be interested in a game that was a mixture of both Graphic Adventure and Shoot’em Up styles? If your answer to all of the above was yes, then Imagos Softworks’ upcoming project could quite possibly be the answer to all of your wildest — yet seemingly impossible to realize — gaming fantasies. Which is furthermore coming at you with an art style that pays massive homage to the look and feel of 16-bit graphics, with a special focus given to the manner in which cut scenes used to be delivered on the under appreciated Turbografx-16.
Although not much of the game’s plot has yet been made clear, what we do know is that Brick M. Stonewood (the M stands for Metal) has been in hyper-sleep for over a hundred years now. After recently being found by miners, followed up by a trip to Holloway-Exeter for resuscitation, Brick has — along with his new ceramic alloy steed (i.e.: spaceship) — been on a quest to recover the secrets of his past. Well, that and carve out his own destiny amongst the folks — both friendly and downright hostile — that dwell in the various regions of space surrounding the Holloway-Exeter orbital space station.
Powering Starr Mazer’s narrative is what Imagos Softworks has affectionately referred to as their “Open Middle Gameplay” engine, or — because acronyms are always at least 10% cooler than spelling things out — the O.M.G. engine. The planned plot of Starr Mazer has been likened to an episodic TV series, wherein each episode is a stand alone tale that could — by and large — be seen out of order without too many consequences. The choices that Brick makes in each of these episodes will have consequences — however — and thus how early he succeeds, or fails, at a task can certainly help shape the face of later stuff.
Perhaps very late in one play through Brick manages to find a powerful ally in Declination Jane, the most powerful Space Lord around, and she in turn helps him out with the last few steps of his journey. However, he could just as easily meet her far earlier in his adventure — promptly put his foot in his mouth — and afterwards she’ll give him the “gift” of an entire warship fleet to fight each time he crosses the Baratha Divide. Powering encounters such as these are Shoot’em Up sequences that are dynamically generated based on the plot’s current conditions, yet the developers promise that the Point & Click sections won’t exist purely to determine how hard the action parts become.
However, rather than merely having the standard morality system found in most other games — which tend to only either let you be a perfect saint, or the worst asshole ever — Starr Mazer aims to be different here as well. That high-score you may see in some screenshots is actually an indicator of just how many GUTS that Brick has; which are a bona fide indicator of not only how daring Brick is, but how infamous he is as well. Furthermore, these GUTS — although certainly making Brick more well known to all — won’t necessarily affect everyone equally (certain groups and/or factions will be specifically influenced by the manner in which these guts were received).
One example given by the developers reminded me heavily of a certain fight near the end of Sigma Star Saga, wherein the manner in which Brick stops a giant warship will directly impact his reputation. Merely taking the ship out will net him a few GUTS, but won’t impress the people piloting it very much (in fact they’ll write the whole encounter off as a mere fluke, and not think much of it again afterwards). However, should Brick directly attack the warship’s weak point — which would require him to fly inside the ship’s laser cannon — he’ll earn a ton of GUTS as well as the owner’s burning hatred!
Furthermore, plot aside, there’s even the fact that Manami Matsumae — famed developer of Mega Man’s soundtrack, and more recently Shovel Knight — will be contributing her legendary talents to Starr Mazer as well! The game even intends to additionally feature an entire slew of other guest musicians, many of whom you might already know, yet there simply isn’t enough room here to list the whole shebang! Suffice to say, Starr Mazer aims to not only look positively amazing — as can easily be proven by the many pictures and videos so far provided — but to sound incomparably phenomenal as well!
Although Imagos Softworks’ project does currently seem to be hyper-promising, awesomeness alone is not nearly enough to get a fully-fledged game project up and running (especially one that aims to seamlessly integrate two very different game styles). It is for this reason that they’ve approached Kickstarter with a humble request for $160k, all in order to ensure that the escapades of Brick M. Stonewood become the ultimate love letter to eighties style — point and click adventures — and Shoot’em Ups everywhere! Although over $100k has so far been secured towards Starr Mazer’s glorious future, there’s still much work left to be done (especially if Imagos is ever going to secure their iOS stretch goal, which has been set for $250k).
Presently — for a donation of just $15 — you can secure your very own PC edition of Starr Mazer, a whopping 25% discount over what non-backers will eventually end up paying. Furthermore — for those extra dedicated to helping Brick become totally awesome — additional tiers will include rewards like: beta-access, a production art book, a copy of the game’s amazing soundtrack, posters, a physical model of Brick’s ship, and much more! Yet for those elite few impeccably dedicated to helping save the universe, there’s even a variety of – somewhat pricy – high end tiers where backers can help Imagos Softworks design things such as ships, NPCs, massive boss fights, and even a full-length O.M.G. episode!
Those interested — however — need to be sure that their pledges have been securely chipped in before February 21st rolls around, for that’s when Brick M. Stonewood takes off to explore what lies beyond the Helix Nebula (amongst many other strange places).