Share this project


Share this project

Kodama project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with

Kodama, a 2D Hand Painted Puzzle Platformer, Redefining the Physics platformer! Balance sunlight & water to keep your tree alive!

Kodama, a 2D Hand Painted Puzzle Platformer, Redefining the Physics platformer! Balance sunlight & water to keep your tree alive! Read More
pledged of £26,000 goal
seconds to go

Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on April 12, 2014.

About this project

Kodama is a 2D hand painted, physics based Platformer set in Japans Genroku Period (1688-1704).

Kodama tells the story of a tree spirit who finds his mountain forest in danger. With all the other Yokai (spirits, demons & ghosts) hiding in fear, Kodama is sent on a journey by the Sun Goddess Amaterasu to discover the cause of the danger and put an end to it.

Game Mechanics and Features

Gameplay mechanics Demonstration:

Players must run, jump, climb, push, pull, and swing in order to traverse several unique and challenging environments.

The game features no GUI; instead the Kodamas status is depicted by his physical condition bought on by the amount of water or sunlight absorbs, if he's too dry his petals will flake off and his movements will be slow and difficult, whereas if he's too wet he'll step heavily and slowly, not moving far before turning into a Kodama shaped puddle.

The game takes place deep within the world of Japanese mythology, creatures of all shapes, sizes and purposes will be strewn throughout the areas. Since Kodama is unable to fight he must either use the environment against his enemies, or preferably avoid them altogether.

All characters, terms and environments will stay as true to their mythological and Shinto origins as possible without hindering gameplay or accessibility.

So what exactly makes Kodama special?

Players must balance Kodamas abilities to absorb water & sunlight as they travel through each stage. When players enter water they increase Kodamas weight, slowing them down whilst increasing their strength & allowing them to withstand heavy winds. Kodama can also use water to populate the area with flora, a technique that enables him to access new areas.

When a player enters sunlight it dries Kodama out. This increases his speed and decreases his weight, but also makes Kodama weaker and unable to push heavy objects.

Crossing a river on a log is a simple as drying Kodama out to stop the log from sinking, but what if the other side of that river contains a boulder that requires a lot of strength to move? What should you do then?

With Shinto beliefs at its core, Kodama will present you with many situations which, whilst not puzzles or platforming sections, really help to solidify the experience. An example of this would be being able to wash Kodamas hands before entering a temple. Moments like these aren't required to progress, they will be entirely optional minigame like moments, created for people who want to get the full experience from the game & leave no stone unturned.

Kodama washing his hands before entering a temple.
Kodama washing his hands before entering a temple.

Have you ever wanted to relax with a Kappa or play drums with a Tanuki? As creators we take great pride in being able to show you these little moments, these fragments of a world that come together to create a unique and exciting experience.

Does Kodama contain any enemies?

Yes, Kodama contains plenty of enemies. Some are obvious threats, they'll jump out of a swamp and drag you under. Others are trickier, they might help you through a difficult section, only to lure you into a much more dangerous situation.

Kodama also contains Boss monsters, Yokai large enough to crush Kodama in their hands, these enemies will require speed and a good use of the environment to beat.

All of the enemies in Kodama are based off existing Japanese folklore creatures, we're keeping as true to the source as we can, to keep the games atmosphere intact.

Some enemy concepts:

What Platforms will Kodama be on.

Currently Windows, Mac and Linux. The game is currently confined to platforms Unity supports natively and do not require additional licenses/hardware. We currently have no plans to release the game on mobile platforms or iPad.

I'd like release the game on PlayStation Vita PS4, PS3 and Nintendo WiiU , but its entirely up to those companies, and whether or not we hit our stretch goal.

When will you release Kodama?

We plan to release Kodama in April 2015,thats a realistic and achievable goal at our current development rate. If there are any delays the kickstarter will be updated and all backers will be notified.

The Alpha release of the game should be in October 2014, during this time you'll be able to test, give feedback.

Kodama has been in development for a long time, and up until recently I’ve been funding things myself, during this time a lots changed but the core mechanic has always been there, unfortunately we're no longer able to finish the game without your help.

We’ll use the money for:

  • Art: We want to make Kodama amazing to draw the player into the world.
  • Length: Kodama isn't intended to be a twenty-hour gaming slog, a speed run without stopping to admire or explore the world, should only take a few hours, but rest assured that the game will keep you busy for quite a while.
  • Music: Kodama requires top notch music and sound effects to bring the world to life.
  • Animation: Kodama contains some great animations right now, but the full game will need much more.
  • Programming: A successful Kickstarter will enable our programmer to really spend a great deal of time making sure the physics and movement feel perfect.
  • Software licensing: Kodama would benefit greatly from being able to release from Unity Pro and the Adobe CC collection.

Running a Kickstarter Campaign is fantastic, it enables us to have a direct relationship with you - the backer, instead of having a publishing company water down the product to fit their marketing strategy and pipeline. It also means you get your say in the game's development, if we add something and you hate it, let us know and we’ll incorporate your opinions into the design.

Kickstarter gives you the power to help us make the product you want. Whilst money is important, we also want your support, but most of all we want your opinions, we want to know what you want from the game. We want to tailor the experience to you, the players.

What are the Unreleased Tracks?

The Unreleased Tracks will contain the following:

  • The trailer track
  • Unused music
  • Sound Effects Reel
  • Early Test tracks

What is the 'World of Kodama' digital Guidebook?

The world of Kodama digital guidebook is an accompaniment to the game but also a post-mortem, complete with original artwork, screenshots, character and enemy designs, the history surrounding the games world, characters and mythology.

The book also contains developer notes and comments on various design choices used throughout the design process.This book is the ultimate guide to Kodama, the only thing you won't find in the book is a walkthrough.

What is an Ema & why would I want one?

Ema are small wooden plaques found within Shinto Shrines.

Worshipers write their prayers or wishes and then hang the Ema at the shrine where the Kami (spirits or gods) read and grant them.

In Kodama there are a variety of Shinto shrines, complete with many Ema, any backers at the Ema level will have their name or username written on Ema to be hung in one of the many Kodama shrines.

The below image should help you to get a good visual on this.

So whats a Yokai exactly & why do I want one?

Yokai (spirits, demons,ghosts) are a type of supernatural creatures in Japanese folklore & also serve as the enemies in the game. Kodama himself is a type of Yokai. Yokai, in both Japanese folklore & Kodama, range from Demons such as the Oni, to more abstract and unusual creatures such as the Kasa-obake (umbrella monster). If you've ever watched a few anime or played a few Japanese games, you'll have likely come across various Yokai or Yokai-inspired creatures.

What do you mean my head as a fruit?

In Japanese folklore there is an interesting Yokai called the Jinmenju (human face tree), a tree that bears fruit shaped like human heads/faces. We absolutely love this Yokai and have a fantastic boss battle lined up for him. Since the tree is covered in fruit, 10 of you awesome backers will be able to submit a photo to be used as one of the tree's fruits.
When you play the game you'll be able to see your hand painted fruity face and hear it whisper & moan. This is one of the most unique tiers and can only be snapped up by 10 backers.

How do I become a Jizo statue and what does that mean?

A Jizo statue is a small roadside statue you can find all over modern Japan, they're often dressed in little red bibs, they protect travelers on the roadside. In Kodama you'll be able to have your likeness painted as a Jizo statue that Kodama will be able to interact with in the game, you'll be able to watch over and protect him from harm.

The following Image should help to show what a Jizo statue would look like in Kodama.

How can I get a Plush Kodama?

Plush Kodamas are available to any backers at the £120 tier. Hand making plushies takes a lot of time, and its also going to take a lot of strength to let go of the adorable little things so we can send them to you. Anyone getting a Plush Kodama will still receive all previous non-limited rewards, so the Plush Kodama is only the beginning of the fun.

At this moment we're only planning to create a Plush of the Perfect Kodama state, not the dried out or soaked states, however this may change in the future, if so we will give you the opportunity to select your preference.

When can I get my 3D Printed Kodama?

Currently we're in the process of creating a highly detailed 3D model of the figures.
We will give backers the opportunity to pick from a few different poses and materials. Currently we're only planning to create 3D Prints of the Perfect Kodama state, not the dried out or soaked states.

We'll be posting updates with all information related to the physical goals when we've finished creating the prototypes and are able to show them to you all.

£26,000 - Game is Funded!

Thank you Kickstarter!

£50,000 - Kodama on PS Vita!

This is something we'd absolutely love to do, we think the Vita is a fantastic piece of hardware and already have a few ideas for some nice Vita exclusive puzzles, and the game would look stunning on that screen, plus its the only source of Yokai filled joy the Vita has (Excluding Muramasa Rebirth).

Note: The Vita release is, at the end of the day, dependent on Sony's approval.

Note: These images are mockup only, the game is not currently running on Vita, these screenshots are provided only to give an idea of how it could look.

Just think how great this would look!
Just think how great this would look!

£80,000 - Oh Kami-sama!

If we manage to reach this tier we'll add some new enemies, a brand new boss battle and a beautiful new area, the added area will be the Kodama Forest itself.

We will add this as an optional area where the player can view all the Kodama that live in the forest, the forest contains at least 30 Kodama, a shrine and a graveyard, for... the not so lucky ones

All Backers from every tier will be able to name one of these Kodama or have their name on a headstone in the graveyard, or engraved on charm on a tree. You can suggest real names or screen names, however a requirement is that they be safe for work.

£100,000 Ultimate release!

If, by a gift from the Kami themselves, we're able to reach this amount, we'd like to release on the consoles, the release is pending approval by the companies themselves.
This stretchgoal includes.

  • PS3 Release
  • PS4 Release
  • WiiU Release

Mockup Screenshot of WiiU release.

Screenshots & Concepts

Enemy Concept
Enemy Concept

Who Are You?

The Kodama team consists of the following:

Dan Tsukasa as Game Designer, Level Designer, Producer, Researcher
Twitter: @Dan_Tsukasa
Chris Genova as Lead Programmer.

Christopher Wilson on Environment Art.

Emma-Louise Wakley on Character Animation.

Zoe Coleman on Composition and SFX.
Twitter: @ZoeColemanMusic

Follow the project on Facebook to keep up to date with the progress of Kodama.


Why should we trust you?

As a team Kodama is our first joint project, however individually we've worked on a variety of games, movies and animations, including, but not limited to A Hat in Time, Sir You're Being Hunted, Crystal Panic, Primal Carnage, Simons Cat, Influent, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Parts 1+2 (Film only). Additionally some of us have done work for studios such as Passion Pictures, Cinesite, Disney Junior, Camp Bestival Animation Festival, Strange Beast, Double Negative & The Moving Picture company.

We're all well experienced in the film, television & games industries and are comfortable with large amounts of work, tight schedules and client demands.

Animated Gifs

There's really no better way to show off this game than with some animated gifs. A few of these are quite large so I've provided links instead of embedding them here.

Dried Out Kodama Walk

Soaked Kodama Walk

Soaked Kodama Push

Perfect Kodama Float

Perfect Kodama Push

Perfect Kodama Pull


Bell ringing animation

Perfect Kodama Bow

Sunlight Transformation

Risks and challenges

Like any project we expect a few mishaps here and there and no doubt we’ll have to vault over a few obstacles before release. The strongest issue I imagine we will face is time, everyone on the team works as hard as they can in the time they have spare but sometimes things crop up.
Nevertheless the team will work hard to complete the project, not just for the backers but because we love this project and we want to share our hard work with everyone else.

If funding permits then we’d like to put someone onto the project fulltime, creating everything quickly and efficiently in order to meet our deadlines. I will be making sure the process is transparent and updating the campaign with news regarding progress or problems until release.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.66 USD

    A Yokai will watch over you in secret from this day forward.
    No discernible effect.

    Estimated delivery
    12 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £2 or more About $3.33 USD

    You just earned yourself a place in the games credits, an exclusive Desktop wallpaper & a special place in my heart. (Wallpaper will be sent before the games completion).

    Estimated delivery
    15 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $17 USD

    You just preordered yourself a digital copy of the game for PC/Mac or Linux (your choice), along with a name in the credits and a Desktop wallpaper.

    Estimated delivery
    138 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $25 USD

    Now you have the game preordered but you'll also get access to a Digital Soundtrack by Zoe Coleman, the Soundtrack will be released shortly before the game itself, but its recommend you wait for the best experience.

    Estimated delivery
    26 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $33 USD

    Great! Now you've got the game, the soundtrack + bonus (unreleased)tracks and access to the games BETA.

    Estimated delivery
    26 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $67 USD

    You will receive a special ‘World of Kodama’ digital guidebook, containing unseen artwork for the game & explanations to the games history, lore & mythology + All previous Rewards.

    Estimated delivery
    21 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $83 USD

    In addition to all previous rewards you will be immortalised on an Ema plaque in one of the games Shinto Temples. Your real name or a chosen Japanese name (subject to developer approval).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 11 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $100 USD

    In addition to the all previous non-limited, rewards, you will have the opportunity to pick a Yokai yourself for the game and decide an attack animation, provided this yokai fits the theme of the game. (Subject to developer approval)

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $125 USD

    Send us a photo of your likeness and we'll create the fruit of the Jinmenju boss creature to match it. (1 fruit per backer) Your particular fruit will be animated using your likeness.
    In addition to this you will receive all the previous non-limited rewards.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $166 USD

    Ever wanted to be a Kami yourself? Well, now you can, in addition to all previous non-limited rewards you will be able to have a likeness of your face engraved onto one of the countless Jizo statues.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $200 USD

    A pledge it can only result in the opportunity to own an adorable plush Kodama + all previous non-limited rewards.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $249 USD

    For anyone willing to support us to this extent, you get all previous non-limited rewards + your very own 3D Printed Kodama statue, plus your name on a very special Ema plaque within the game itself.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £350 or more About $582 USD

    Limited edition signed 3D Print, + all previous non-limited rewards + you'll be billed as producer in the games credits, and on our upcoming website.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £750 or more About $1,247 USD

    Help us design a stage. You get a say in the way the stage plays out + your name in the credits however you want it, so long as its not offensive + a 3D Print + a Plush Kodama + all previous non-limited rewards.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (30 days)