A new title on Kickstarter is certainly making an impression with its showmanship and dramatic flair. The indie RPG Backdrop is taking center stage, and it looks impressive right out of the gate.
Backdrop is an RPG by a small team of German developers, which include Jan Wagner of Shadowrun Chronicles fame and Franz Stradal, the creator of Dreamworld and Sacred. Their first title as a team, the game is a diorama play set in a sort of Paper Mario styled world where a Prince must embark on a familiar hero's journey to rescue his beloved princess.
What sets Backdrop apart from other role-playing games is its use of mechanics. Backdrop is a game where words matter, according to the developers; the world is a stage in that way, so the words speak louder than actions at times. Backdrop tries to capture that feel by making conflict feel just as dramatic, as words can literally hurt enemies, heal the player, open doors and more.
Wordplay makes up the game's core mechanic, and Backdrop uses these words to their advantage for various tasks. They allow the player to avoid combat at times or give them an advantage in combat situations. Wordplay is also tied to the game's morality system, how the prince behaves is influenced by the choice of dialogue selected, and the bonuses the player receives. This, in turn, is tied to the game's progression system. There are no XP gains in Backdrop; instead, your entire journey shapes the progression of the prince and the story around you over simply gaining more power and levels.
A lot of mechanics are tied to the wordplay of Backdrop. Character masks, for example, function as a rudimentary class system, providing different emotions or characters the prince can play to overcome obstacles in his path. More than just a different skin, the character masks change the entire personality of the prince. The knight mask, for example, is stern and bossy, ordering people around when talking to them. The selection of your mask can open up new possibilities, or obstacles, in Backdrop.
Currently, the game sits at over $24,000 pledged out of its $196,585 goal. The Kickstarter has 22 days left, however, so there is plenty of time for Backdrop to take center stage still. The reward tiers for the title are also well thought out, with the standard digital-only release tier all the way to a $5,000 tier that allows a few players to create a character for the game. One thing of note is the developers are sharing assets for non-commercial use in almost all of the tiers, starting at $75, and providing digital cut-out sheets starting at $25 for backers to set their own stageplay up with the game's characters.
What do you think of Backdrop? Will you back the game on Kickstarter? Leave your comments below.