You’ve probably already heard of a Pokemon-esque indie game by the name of Temtem. With its 2-on-2 cooperative play-style, it’s definitely begun to innovate on the turn-based monster-battling genre of games in terms of ‘combat’; but what about ‘exploration’, ‘difficulty levels’, ‘deep lore’ and actual ‘real time battling’? Well, that’s where Kindred Fates comes in!
Between its promise of real-time battling, open-world exploration, intriguing monsters and the overwhelmingly emotional trailer ending, it’s easy to see how this Kickstarter passed its initial goal in under a week! But there’s a lot to unpack about this game, so let’s break it all down so you can decide whether or not you’d like to play/ support this stunning project.
Just Another “Pokemon-Clone” or Something More:
Whereas Kindred Fates certainly lives within the ‘monster battling’ genre and has a bunch of adorable/ fierce creatures called Kinfolk – which are categorized into different types – its similarities with Pokemon largely end there. Here types don’t play out as simply as ‘Fire deals x2 damage to Grass’. No type has a damage multiplier against another. Instead, the advantage will come in terms of play-style. Fire types have a more hit-and-run playstyle while Plant types (called Gaia) focus more on minions. So you’ll want to compose a team not just based on ‘coverage options’ but also on playstyles that match yours as battles are not turn-based, but rather play out in real time and have a 3rd-person-shooter feel to them. Though it is important to note that one of their Kickstarter’s stretch goals would add a turn-based option.
Also unlike Pokemon, Kinfolk can talk and are independent sentient creatures. This not only means that you can encounter them as shop-owners and NPCs, but also that they won’t be afraid to leave your team should you start treating them badly or make choices they don’t agree with. To counteract this, you can forge bonds with your Kinfolk through conversation, battling and even sharing meals together. The stronger your bond, the less likely they are to leave…. unless of course, the unthinkable happens.
In Kindred Fates, Kinfolk don’t simply faint; but can actually die. When one falls in battle, it will leave behind a small flame. If you can get to that flame before time runs out, you’ll retrieve its soul and can revive it. If not, that Kinfolk will be gone forever. Though grim, this is a wonderful way of making the widely popular ‘Nuzlockes Challenge’ for Pokemon an actual game mechanic. Additionally, there will actually be an in-game shrine (called The Memorial) where every one of your lost Kinfolk will be immortalized so you can pay your respects. Whether or not this will have deeper in-game significance remains to be seen.
The Open-World We’ve Been Waiting For:
I’m a sucker for creature designs. So it’s easy to understand why I’ve be following updates about this project long before its Kickstarter even launched. Though it was a video of a player riding atop a 4-winged bird that first caught my eye. Initially, I thought it was simply a mod for World of Warcraft or something, until I then saw other videos of arena-style combat and stunning open-world exploration. As someone who grew up loving games like Final Fantasy, Pokemon and Digimon World, I immediately fell in love with what I was seeing. Exploring a vast populated world, with a team of monsters that can fight back in real time… that’s the dream!
Misty morning encounter in #KindredFates. Are they a friend, or an enemy?#madewithunity #unity3d #indigames #indidev #gamedev #kindred #kinfolk #monsters #OpenWorld #rpg #RPGs pic.twitter.com/6b4C9QDRb1
— Skymill Studios (@SkyMillStudios) December 11, 2019
Nostalgia-fueled rants aside, the world Kindred Fates is setting up is absolutely incredible! Unlike most Pokemon games where house customization is purely aesthetic, upgrading your home in Kindred Fates will aid you in crafting and gaining resources. Similarly, town guilds have replaced the familiar mechanic of gym battles. There challenges can range from tactical battles with elite members to puzzles and actual tests of character. Additionally, you can potentially start your own Guilds – if another stretch goal is met.
This isn’t just another game of waking into the tall grass to have a chance-encounter. Even in this early game footage, the world looks alive! Terrifying creatures emerge from swamps. Herds of halo-deer run across the plains. You can ride atop a massive sea serpent! Kindred Fates is a game that combines everything we love about these genres!
Kindred Fates – A Game of Heart:
As I mentioned in the beginning, the final moments of the trailer are incredibly emotional. You’re sitting at your campfire, mourning the loss of your party member and you realize that you don’t know what to do next. No voices are heard, but the expressions, dialogue choice and music make this an incredibly powerful scene! If this is the kind of complexity we get from the pre-alpha trailer, I can’t wait to see what the full game will ultimately be like!
“We aim to create a game with thought-provoking storytelling, antagonists with a sympathetic cause, compelling character development, morally ambiguous decisions, and living with the consequences of your actions.” – Skymill Studios
Though it’s the love that is being put into this world and its inhabitants that shine above all else. Even the choice of Stretch Goals show that there is so much more this team still wants to do! From additional Kinfolk to more bonding activities – and much more – , there’s tons of stretch goals they hope to achieve. And with them meeting their initial Kickstarter goal of $50,000 in under a week’s time, I’m hopeful they will! Though the Stretch Goal I’m most excited for is a release for the Nintendo Switch. This game would initially be available for PC, but everything about it just screams ‘Nintendo Switch’!
It’s current Road-Map gives it a June 2023 release – with an alpha combat arena coming as soon as this summer. Though as the great Shigeru Miyamoto once said, “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is bad forever”. This is a stunning game that is being developed by a small yet passionate studio. Whether I have to wait 3 years or 5, I’m very excited to see how this game – and the genre as a whole because of it – evolves!
So if you’ve ever been a fan of PRGs, Monster Battling/ Collecting or Open-World games, please consider reading up on – and potentially supporting – Kindred Fates. It might just be the game you’ve always dreamed of!