This Week In Kickstarter - Week of May 17

Published: May 18, 2015 11:00 AM /


This Week in Kickstarter

We're back baby! After a hiatus, This Week In Kickstarter returns to show you the big deals and hidden gems on Kickstarter.

Umbra (PC and Linux)

An open world, free progression hack n' slasher.

Umbra features an isometric perspective and takes place in a corrupted world falling apart. Players take the role of a former officer for the Human republic, forced to flee the death penalty because of their unwillingly developing magic powers. After being hunted by humans and monsters alike you're taken in by a group of templars. The game's unique mechanic is referred to as "Apocalyptic Form" and allows the player to shape shift into their own customized form. Through a deep customization system, you are free to tailor your character as you see fit. Also in the game are complex crafting mini games and even a housing module. Exploration and experimentation are encouraged with no class limitations and rewarded with new powers attributed to your play style.

I'm excited to give Umbra a try. The world looks interesting and I'm hoping to get a suitable lore to the world to fit with the "mature story" mentioned in the features section of the Kickstarter page. The destructible environments are a feature I feel not enough games have; I remember my time with Red Faction Armageddon fondly and applying something like that to a fantasy RPG would be awesome! Its environments looks exciting, particularly the Shadow of the Colossus/God of War fight on the back of a giant. (There's a "standing on the shoulders of giants" joke in here somewhere.)

At the time of writing, Umbra has earned 41% of its intended goal. The Kickstarter has until June 14, 2015.

Phree - Make the world your paper

A high resolution, write anywhere, mobile input device.

Phree lets the user write, draw, and express on their screens but is unrestricted to your phone the way a stylus is. Phree lets  you draw on pretty much any decently flat surface and transmits what you wrote to your phone. You can even write on your jeans, or the back of your hand. Phree is compatible with apps like Office, Viber, Evernote, and Google Handwriting Keyboard. You can even use the thing as a headset and has a screen on the side for notifications. Got a new text? Read it on the pen, then write a response back without taking your phone out. Users can jot down notes without ever taking out their phones. Phree also can be used as a Bluetooth mouse.

I think Phree's greatest strength, and what sold it for me personally, was that I don't need to take out my phone to use it. A lot of devices Achilles' heel is trying to come up with a reason to not just pull out your phone if your phone works just as well or better (I'm looking at you Apple Watch). But I can see genuine utility with Phree. Given the amount of work I would do during the school year, I would constantly be writing down things in my phone's to-do list to make sure I didn't forget anything, and man would Phree be useful for something like that. Just writing something on the back of my hand (which makes me feel nostalgic for my high school days when I'd have my daily assignments tattooed up my arm like some very productive thug) and totally forget about it. No need to pull out my phone.

At the time of writing, Phree has raised 288% of its needed funding and still has until June 26, 2015.

Shadowstar Corsairs

A board game about commerce, coercion, and combat. In space!

You are a captain of your very own starship. You're tasked with outmaneuvering and outgunning other captains to prove your worth as ruler of the Shadowstar Expanse. You'll deploy crew and cargo to secure strategic positions and obtain resources. You can also invest in upgrading your starship or hire one to help you. With the game board are miniatures of 16 player ships and 60 crew figures.

Shadowstar Corsairs looks like a fun "choose your way to victory" game. I like the amount of thought that went into mixing and matching different ships to meet your goals, and that combat, though an option, isn't the end all be all of the game. I'd be interested to see if it were possible for someone to somehow win the game without any actual confrontation if they were crafty (or backstabby) enough to pit players against each other and make smart deals with other players.

At the time of writing, Shadowstar Corsairs has earned 139% of its intended goal. The Kickstarter has until May 19, 2015.


Bruno, The World's First Smartcan.

A smart-trashcan with a built in vacuum. No dustpan needed, just sweep.

Bruno is a first-of-its-kind device, featuring a built-in vacuum that allows you to sweep dust and junk right into the trashcan. Bruno can store trash bags for itself as well. When bags get low, it can send you a freaking notification on your phone to remind you! Oh and it can also remind you when trash day is so you'll get everything out on time, something I as a member of the dominate species on the planet can't remember to do. Its motion sensing lid allows for hands (and feet) free lid opening; just wave your hand or elbow over the top to get it to open. It also has a built-in filtration system that's powered on an 18-volt battery that can last 30 days on a single charge.

Kickstarter really is making it possible for me to be a floating head these days. Why need hands when the trashcan runs itself? All kidding aside, while this definitely sits in the "really cool, but really don't need" category, if you have the cash to drop, this could be a great way to get rid of a little headache in your life. Having color option for my trashcan is neat, I guess; at least it will match the feng shui of my kitchen. And reminding me to take the trash out is great, although I can do that with any device's reminder features. Hell I could do that with pen and paper. If the Bruno team could introduce a software update where the can would take turns reminding individual house members it's their turn to take the trash out, I would buy it immediately! (My roommates are poisoning my house with garbage, send help!)

At the time of writing, the little can that could has earned 196% it's original goal and still has until June 4, 2015.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

A new game by living legend Koji Igarashi in the style of of gothic action-platforming only he can bring.

Bloodstained is an exploration focused, side-scrolling platformer with RPG and crafting elements. The game is designed by Koji "Iga" Igarashi, the man famous for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as well as several other well received Castlevania games. "Iga" turned to Kickstarter for the same reason many developers have. After being told that "this style of game just doesn't sell anymore," he turned to crowd funding to prove them wrong.  After being successfully funded within 3 and a half hours, I'd say he's found proof enough.

The game shares many elements with past Castlevania games, right down to the title sounding like one. Players take the role of Miriam, a cursed orphan girl, whose curse will slowly crystalize her skin. She must battle through a demon infested castle. The game will be available for PC, Mac, Linux, Ps4, and Xbox One. Already unlocked are 2 playable characters, Nightmare difficulty, voice acting by David Hayter, cheat codes, local co-op, a new boss, a speed running mode, a boss rush mode, and a retro level.

I think it really speaks to Igarashi's talent that his name alone is really selling this project. I mean, there's no real gameplay, mostly just art style and promises, but I'd be damned if I said I didn't think he could deliver on those promises. He's built a solid reputation, and I cant wait to see what he can do. It's a shame his success story was a little shadowed by the Rare-revival story of Yuku&Lele, as I feel he should be getting just as much attention. Alas, the game will speak for itself.

At the time of writing, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has smashed its funding goal, soaring into 455% funded! The game has until June 12, 2015.


An express charging cable and flash drive all in one!

The BRICWAVE integrates a USB flash drive with a high speed charging cable. BRICWAVE features data backup and management. If needed, you can always hookup the little device to your laptop or your iPhone/Android phone to store important files. It also features reliable high-speed charging to cut down on charging time. It's collapsable cable keeps tangling form being a problem. And, of course, it's packing a USB 3.0. The protective cap for the USB side features a secure lock to keep it safe, and a ring holder at the end can be used to attach the device to your keys or backpack.

If you have limited data like myself, the usefulness of BRICWAVE can be more apparent than someone with unlimited data who can backup anything at anytime to wherever on the web. Even still, having a reliable quick charger is always a good thing to have, which you don't realize you need until you don't have it. Having a version for both iPhones and Android is a smart move.

At the time of writing, BRICWAVE has raised 119% of its goal and still has until May 31, 2015.


Disclaimer: The author (Bryan Heraghty) does not back any Kickstarter projects he writes about, nor are any of these inclusions sponsoring TechRaptor. These projects are included solely because the author thinks they are interesting.

What are your thoughts on some of the Kickstarters we saw this week? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! If you have a game or technology Kickstarter you think deserves attention, you can either comment below, email TechRaptor, or tweet @techraptr or @greyhoodedbryan your suggestion!


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