Kickstarter: InSomnia

I have to admit, that as a genre dieselpunk is wholly unfamiliar to me. In fact, I can in all honesty say, that before InSomnia I hadn't even heard the term before, but considering there's cyberpunk and steampunk, existence of diesel based aesthetics shouldn't really come as a surprise.

So InSomnia. It's a Kickstarter game. And it's a project on its second round. Now, that's not a warning sing despite Studio Mono has returned to the well after one round of successful funding (and no, I didn't back them the first time around). With the money, a shy over $100k,  from the first campaign Mono has managed to build up a pretty solid looking and feeling game, with an interesting, nicely designed world. You don't have to take only my word on it, as they've released a pretty solid demo to go with the current Kickstarter, so go and give it a spin if you like. It's for Windows, Mac and Linux, so there's options abound.

All in all, the demo is very promising and it does look like InSomnia is heading towards of being one of more unique feeling RPG's of recent years. I don't know how representative it's towards dieselpunk as a genre, but what I see, I like.

InSomnia is set in a huge space ship. Or better yet, it's a city flying through space. The background story for it is, that ages back there was the final war upon Earth, which left things all post apocalyptic and what not. So the only sensible thing that was left to do, was to build a huge ship, that was to be used to ferry the people to somewhere else, where it would be easier to start again.  You are one of the people living in the aging monstrosity of a ship. Though in this demo you can't yet create a character of your own.

The demo, or a prologue as they call it, begins with Typer, a possible companion in the final game, sitting in his chair, drinking booze and being all bored like, when he gets a call. There's some work for him, delivering a package, if he wants it, and as this is a RPG, why wouldn't he. It always beats just drinking there for the rest of the game, so off he goes.

The prologue works as a tutorial for the game as well. It's shows the ropes in the basic commands and interactions with the game world as well as teaches how to do melee combat with a sword and then how to blast things apart with a rifle. The combat itself is real time and consists of blocking and shooting/stabbing/slashing/beating the enemy combatant in pieces. It's very much an action RPG, but for an example with melee weapons you hit harder if you keep the attack button pressed down and not just click as much as you can. And with firearms you need to aim before shooting, so it's not just spamming the attack button with either weapons group.

In an ARPG fashion, the combat mechanic expects you to actually move around while battling, doing dodging and what not, and generally try to avoid getting caught in the middle of enemy swarm. Besides just moving around, you can do dodge jumps by using the direction keys and space bar and that is, I found out, a pretty damned handy thing, combined with taking sprints away from the the enemies and hiding behind obstacles, which prevents armed combatants hitting you.

The characters builds are what you'd expect from a modern ARPG to be. There's the basic stats, like strength and intelligence, skill trees covering stuff like weapons or mechanical skills and traits, which add to the base build of character things like enthusiasm or deep pockets. You gain experience from doing stuff, which help you to develop the character and the skills get better by using them, so all in all, pretty basic stuff and seems to work just fine.

Besides combat you can also chat up with people you'll meet upon your adventures. Not everyone has something to say, but there's people all around, who have things to say and some dialog trees to burn. Some are just fleshing out the background lore, some have important things to add and possible quests to give. Then there's merchants, whom with you can speak, but also, surprise surprise, barter with and exchange your loot into more usable stuff, like bullets and medicines.

Overall InSomnia is one of the more promising RPG's I've seen in Kickstarter. It plays pretty well and the game play feels well thought of. It isn't trying to break any new grounds, but what it does, it does well. The game runs over Unreal Engine 4, so it also looks pretty nice and the world design falls under the always nice retro futuristic aesthetics.

InSomnia is looking for extra 55 000 pounds in order to add more spit and polish on diesel stained surfaces. For me backing it felt like a no brainer, so if the demo and the pitch tickles your fancy, consider  giving them a go.

InSomnia in Kickstarer now.