It’s 1987. Penfurzy has just suffered through its worst ever tourist season, when an accident unleashes ghastly spirits upon the island’s inhabitants. It’s up to Nessa and Demelza, two heroic children to discover the truth and rescue the island folk…on bikes.
That’s the premise behind Knights and Bikes, a crowdfunding project developed by new studio Foam Sword who hope to make their dream project a reality. What separates Knights and Bikes from other crowdfunding projects, however, is its talented team and its focus on nostalgic game design.
The studio itself consists of developers Rex Crowle (Tearaway, LittleBigPlanet) and Moo Yu (Ratchet & Clank, LBP), having also enlisted the help of film composer Daniel Pemberton (Steve Jobs, Man from U.N.C.L.E.) to compose the game’s score. Penfurzy itself is inspired by Crowle’s childhood memories of growing up in Cornwall, while both developers draw inspiration from SNES era games such as Earthbound and The Secret of Mana. Plus there are also some nods to The Goonies thrown in for good measure.
Graphically the game world is completely hand painted, with a sombre colour scheme that emphasises the dreary state of Penfurzy. The gameplay features an overhead view and movement reminiscent of indie roguelike Don’t Starve. Knights and Bikes is a co-op action RPG where players explore an island, search for treasure, battle through dungeons, rescue islanders, upgrade their skills and trick–out their bikes in the town hub. You can play the entire game alone with an AI companion or have a friend join in through local co-op. You will recruit a party of creatures from all walks of life, team up with Demelza’s pet goose and tackle demons with Nessa’s Frisbee.
Foam Sword are seeking £100,000 to fund their game. Whilst that seems like a lot, consider the talent behind the project and the success the likes of Double Fine have had of late. The project is now live on Kickstarter, with just over three weeks of the campaign remaining. There are 13 different reward tiers available to backers. They range from £12 netting you a digital copy of the game, while a £400 contribution will land you the game, a pair of plushes, a piece of original art and a Skype call with the development team. If you have a spare £2500 to chip in you can hang out with the team in their office for a day and receive an immersive piano performance from Pemberton. Unfortunately travel and accommodation are not included (but if you can afford it in the first place, that’s probably not going to be a problem).
Knights and Bikes is currently confirmed for PC, Mac and Linux, with console versions rumoured as stretch goals. If you would prefer to wait, Foam Sword are pushing for their game to be featured on Steam Greenlight, which you can vote for right now. Knights and Bikes is scheduled for release in April 2017. If you’d like, you can back the project here.
Michael Vane is a freelance writer who is also eagerly anticipating the crowdfunded game Shenmue III.