One day, we’ll all die. This is a fact. Unless they somehow invent the pill to immortality tomorrow, one day we will all be as dust. And what then? Heart & Slash is a procedurally-generated Kickstarter brawler looking to tell the tale of a malfunctioning robot looking for love in a world devoid of it. Love!
And to show its seriousness, it’s offering a free alpha you can download now to try out and provide feedback. The alpha showcases combat and the beginning of the procedural generation of levels. It features 15 different weapons and 20 pieces of equipment, which is a limited sample of the over 140 different items that are planned for the full release.
Like the movie Wall-E, humans have long since departed the world. All that is left behind are instructions and robots that continue to mindlessly carry out their orders. Their sole priority now is to ensure all conform to the standardization protocol. Stick out like our little guy Heart and you’ll be set for destruction. The art style is deliberate, chosen to be not-quite retro pixels but not-quite next-gen. The intent, say its developers, is to evoke the times of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s N64 or Dreamcast systems.
The quest for love as a robot, though, is an interesting one. Reading into the Kickstarter you’ll notice the developers have spent a bit of time thinking about this in a more real-world context. When you love, you have to sacrifice, they say, and what then is “being yourself”? How do you become a unique, individual robot and obtain love when love is about limiting your uniqueness via positive sacrifice? It’s pretty heady for something that on the surface looks like a beat-em-up.
Heart & Slash has noted it wants to give a sense of fast-paced brawlers with its third-person action style. Some of its influences include Bayonetta, Mega Man and even ADOM—one of the old text-based Multi-User Dungeon games for your ancient PCs.
The game has been in development since last year, and already boasts some impressive promises including the ability to tool around with various powerups for the robotic body of Heart—some 60 choices—including gaining the ability to fly, turn invisible or even stop time.
While the dev team is currently made up of three people, they’ve taken to Kickstarter to ask for more cash to fulfil important objectives such as tightening game code with another programmer. For all of those who’ve ever had to play games with bad programming or sloppy codes that lag games, this is actually fairly important.
The roguelike, randomly-generated worlds won’t take “too long,” promise the game’s developers, and it’s not like the robotic factories and lanes are devoid of life either. You’ll eventually meet Slash, the other half of the title game who really is a rebel robot, hoping to rise up and eliminate the tyranny of conformity. Is that the eventual love interest?
Whether you pitch in now or not, the game is intended to be finished and seen through to the end. However, helping out will allow them to pour more time and effort into the game and even make it bigger and better if they hit stretch goals. Since the game’s already nearly funded last I looked, that’s very likely, especially with about 16 more days to go.
Heart & Slash is intended to be out on PC and Mac by end 2014. You can check its Kickstarter page and download the alpha build here.